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I'm not even going to mark this as spoilers. If you haven't played through Box 4 yet, I would recommend doing so and forming your own opinions of everything before reading through my thoughts. I've played a few games of the new expansion now (and tons of the base game), and wanted to talk a bit about which characters and proficiencies/petronuses everyone is finding useful.

To start with, the 9 character cards to choose from:

Harry Y7 - I've never particularly liked Harry's skill as it doesn't really help define who Harry is. It's a nice bonus for whomever removed the skull, but you were going to remove the skull regardless. That said, as soon as we started playing the expansion, we all knew Harry was the character that was going to get dropped for Luna.

Harry B1 - This is a much better ability imo. I actually can't see myself ever playing the Year 7 version when I could play the Box 1 variant. It still doesn't define who he is, and you're rarely going to remove a skull for the ability proc, but it's a nice bonus when it does go off. It also seems to give Hermione a decent chance of healing since she tends to stack up spells, several of which remove skulls. Harry B1 is definitely a contender for a spot at the table.

Hermione B1 - The new Hermoine seems at first glance to be an improvement over the old Hermoine. After all, attacks *should* be better than influence, right? At least that was our first thought as well. But upon continued play time, it became apparent that this isn't the case. Attacks are a dime a dozen, but getting that extra influence to bring someone from 5->6 or 6->7 is critical, especially when you have encounters requiring your to purchase expensive stuff.

Hermione Y7 - In case you couldn't tell by my Hermoine B1 review, I think her Year 7 variant is drastically superior to the Box 1 version. I would argue that Hermione's Year 7 is the second most powerful hero, and her value has only increased with creatures requiring influence.

Ron Y7/B1 - I'll discuss both of Ron's hero cards together as they're very similar. Year 7 got a huge nerf in that it only affects villains, which means that the Box 1 variant is probably better, but it's a much weaker ability only healing 1 heart for each ally. One could argue though that it's easier to trigger early game since you can do it with 2 attack and 1 influence. I think I would probably recommend Y7 over B1 just because when it does trigger, it's actually a pretty good effect, but it might end up deciding between splitting fire or ignoring his ability. At least the 2 hearts (especially if coupled with Harry B1) can help keep everyone afloat between Neville Turns.

Neville B1/Y7 - Hah, there's zero reason to ever play the Box 1 variant. Note that you have to heal *some* hearts to trigger his bonus, so the most frequent time that you won't want extra hearts is when you're already at full or stunned, and in both cases you can't get the influence. Other times you'll probably want the extra heart anyways, with the rare exception that you need 1 more influence to complete something (most often on Neville himself). Meanwhile, Year 7 Neville is freakin awesome. In my opinion he is the most powerful hero, and I'm not quite sure how you'd play a game without him. Extra hearts may not seem like that big of a deal, but consider that a Butterbeer now heals 2 allies for 2 hearts each, doubling its effect, and you can start to understand why Neville is awesome.

Luna B1 - On all of the previous heroes, I've sided with more hearts is better, and Luna's ability is decent. Sadly it doesn't really define who she is. She wants to draw cards to trigger her ability, but guess what - everyone else wants to draw cards as well. Her ability doesn't trigger reliably by itself early game either. And even then, she only heals a single hero 2 hearts (compared to Harry B1's 4x1, Ron B1 4x1, or Ron Y7 4x2), making her ability difficult to trigger and less effective of a trigger.


But the heroes themselves aren't the only thing. We have proficiencies and now petronuses to aid the characters. I'll take a look through the petronuses first, as they are hero specific.

Harry - This is a nice ability, but probably not as good as it looks upon first reading through it. Harry is not going to be preventing everyone from getting stunned, the spell requirement shouldn't be difficult, but the two hearts mean that he's going to be taking pretty much as much damage as the other person would have. It definitely has its uses though preventing a stun on a critical turn. Such examples would be preventing the final skull from being added, preventing the discard of a stack of tokens, preventing the discarding of half the hand, or even just keeping everyone alive because it's Neville's turn and he's going to heal everyone up to full. Note the downside of the ability is that you're no longer allowed to lose any hearts. This means that for any of those "lose 1 heart or discard" you will be forced to discard. It also means you can't play the horn as you can't lose those 2 hearts to gain the 3 attack. So, it's definitely situational, but can definitely be game changing in the right moment, it's just not reliable.

Ron - I don't know why you would ever take Ron's petronus. I realize that dice rolls can be very poweful, but discarding an attack to roll the red die (arguably the worst die) doesn't sound that useful. Now to be fair, I haven't played with it yet, and I have said that Hermoine Y7 is better than Hermoine B1, so perhaps I've overlooked it too quickly and should give it another go.

Hermoine – By default, Hermoine only has 3 non-spell cards, and typically only ever buys spells. In other words, this is highly likely to go off. Early in the game, you have a pretty good indication of what’s in your draw pile based off of what’s in your hand – if you have 2 of the 3 non-spells, then you have an 80% chance of triggering her ability to draw another Alahomora, negating the cost of the petronus, giving you a 4th spell to trigger your ability, and oh yeah, you get an attack as well. As the game goes on, your probability keeps increasing, and you can couple it with the time turner to immediately pull a card you just purchased into your hand.
Neville – Neville’s petronus couples with his ability very well. His standard job is to heal everyone, and with his power, the standard 2 heart abilities are enough to trigger his patronus. It’s the only one that doesn’t have a cost associated with it, except the opportunity cost of equipping a proficiency.
Luna – Luna has a wonderful petronus. Which is a good thing because her standard ability is lack luster. Not only does it (hopefully) work to trigger her 2 heart heal, but it’s also a dice roll ability, which can be super useful for encounters and horcruxes, especially when the cards don’t quite show up for purchase. The spell discarded is often an Alahomora, so its cost is in line with Harry and Hermoine.

But as mentioned, there are also proficiencies that could be used instead of patronuses. IMO, the introduction of the patronus should have been revamped a bit to provide an additional complimentary power, but I understand and respect the path that the creators took with making them character specific proficiencies. There are now 9 proficiencies, but not all of them are worth considering on all characters, or even at all. Let’s take a look:

Charms – Charms is wonderful. It can be used on any character – even Hermoine, though I would argue that you lose the early game benefit from it if you put it on her. In the most likely scenario, Charms represents two additional influence for everyone else, every turn. And it comes at no cost for the user of Charms. It’s a boring proficiency, as it doesn’t really buff the character who has it much, but rather makes everyone else better around him. This will lead to the Charms character often having a weaker deck than the other heroes. As such, I would consider it best on Harry, as he often just wants to help clear out the market anyways. Alternatively, it works okay on Ron as well. Note that I would suggest starting the game with whomever has Charms, providing everyone with a 6 card hand and an additional influence.

Flying Lessons – I might have to revisit Flying Lessons in the expansion pack again. In the base game, the concern around Flying Lessons was that if you were using it early game, you weren’t bettering your deck. If you need it end game, you likely aren’t lasting through the round to prevent yourself from getting stunned, which would prevent you from acquiring the 5 influence needed for token removal. But the Monster Box slows down the pace of game a bit with the 1 influence token / turn creatures (including the final Voldemort), but since the average DA card adds .4 skulls or so, you’re fighting a losing battle. Furthermore, the Hogwarts Deck has added a bunch of cards, and while I’m not 100% certain, I don’t believe any of them remove skull tokens, making the ad-hoc ability more useful. Finally, the 4th location doesn’t have the same “discard 5 attack to remove a skull” ability. I’ll have to give it another go, but I believe the end result is still going to be the same – you just don’t have the resources to waste on it, and you’d get better use out of other proficiencies.

Defense Against the Dark Arts – This is a great ability as well. Actually, the Monster Box makes it even better as it adds numerous creatures that provide you the option to discard cards. It also provides a bit of protection against discarding a detention. For example, if Reflashio comes up, you have the choice of discarding a detention and losing 2 hearts, discarding an item that presumably has a positive impact, or losing two hearts. DADA allows you to maintain the useful card while gaining an attack for discarding that useless Detention, making your turn even more powerful, all while mitigating the damage the detention does to just one heart.

Herbology – This seems to be most people’s go-to answer for Neville. And that’s for a reason. Drawing a card is a powerful ability, especially if it couples with an “all heroes gain 2 hearts,” allowing the combination of Neville and Herbology to turn that into 3 hearts and draw a card. On paper it sounds lovely. But I’ve found in practice it’s too easily shut down. Both the Basilisk and Fenrir disable the proficiency, and heroes that are at 8+ hearts or stunned can’t gain the benefits, and that’s all assuming that Neville has the healing cards he needs in his hand when he needs them. It’s also hampered by plenty of the cheaper heal cards are 1 heart (which Neville turns to 2), which means you’re left deciding to spread the love out or activate Herbology. As for the other heroes, I will admit that I haven’t given it a fair chance, but it might be decent on Book1 Ron, who has a much easier time triggering his ability, and then can supplement that with a cheap essence of Dittany for another two hearts and a draw card. I don’t see it working that well on anyone else though.

Divination – Umm… Yeah, this proficiency sucks, and it got arguably worse in the Monsters Box. First off, in order to gain any use from divination, you have to be able to draw a card after you play it. Then you have to have played items to trigger it. And while you probably have more items in your hand thanks to detentions, it also means you’re more likely to have detentions on the top of your deck, so if you discard it via Divination, you’re left losing two hearts. If Neville had a way of drawing cards, this could potentially be useful since he buys lots of items, and often needs to search for the right card for the situation, but he would have to split his deck purchases into healing and drawing cards, all while keeping an eye out for items.

Transfiguration – This is the money proficiency for Neville. There are four cards that Neville really wants in his deck that cannot be transfigured: Sprout, Advanced Potion Making, Dragon’s Blood, and Molly Weasley. Every other card that Neville wants qualifies. What’s great about transfiguration is that it allows Neville to assess the situation, and decide what healing card would be most useful. Perhaps you want to pull Hagrid or Fawkes because everyone is looking peakish. Perhaps Lupin is the right answer because Hermoine is on 1 heart. Or perhaps you really need that Nimbus 2001 for that double attack to kill the villain, or even just Finite so you can remove the skull to prevent the group from moving onto the next location. While everyone can benefit from grabbing Nimbus 2001 or Finite on command, Neville is the only one that doesn’t always want all of his good cards every turn, so the ability to pick and choose is super powerful for him. It can even be used to grab a pesky detention when no additional healing is needed, that way it’s in your discard pile instead of your draw pile. Heck, if you have the promo Reducto, it works great on Neville with transfiguration. Search for the spell (or the detention depending on what’s in your hand), banish the detention, and heal everyone. Oh, and did I mention that searching the deck does not count as drawing a card, and as such is the only way to get additional cards in your hand while under the effects of the Basilisk? It also means that Neville can end up with ridiculous amounts of influence even on the first turn. In the perfect world, Neville can have the Rememberall, 5 Alahomoras, and 3 influence going into his turn (Charms, Hermoine Y7, and Beetle and the Bard). He can discard the Rememberall for another two, pulling a 6th Alahomora, providing him with 11 influence on the first turn. While this might not be a common occurrence, the ability to consistently get 7+ is very useful, especially now that some encounters require expensive purchases on a single turn. Neville has plenty of items to choose from to activate transfiguration as well. Not only does he start with the Remeberall, but chocolate frogs are great cards for him (and no one else really wants them so it clears the market), along with the old socks. In a pinch he could even use the Dittany (or a Detention, hurting himself 2 to heal 3 to everyone) to pull Fawkes, trading in a solo heal for a group heal. The Monster Box did add a creature that basically shuts down transfiguration though. After you search, you shuffle your deck, and a certain creature adds a detention each time you shuffle, so while you can still have the option to do so, it’s not advised. Other characters don’t really have a use for transfiguration. As I previously said, they want their best cards all the time, so searching isn’t really a big deal, and they aren’t really equipped to be discarding items each turn.

History of Magic – I suppose Hermoine could make use of it. It just seems so lackluster compared to other abilities though. The other four heroes aren’t anywhere near as focused on Spells to make it worthwhile. She basically can’t benefit from it herself, though with the addition of creatures requiring influence there is an outside chance for her to buy an expensive spell and then put an influence on a creature. It’s not as bad as divination, and could help get a certain hero that 7th or 8th influence needed to complete an encounter or to purchase an expensive card.

Potions – Ahh, good ole potions. This is Ron’s best friend. Ron really likes allies, and items that increase either his chance of getting allies (draw cards) or his attacks. And potions rewards him for it. Furthermore, it helps trigger Ron’s ability, especially if you’re sticking with the year 7 variant. Harry, Luna, and Neville could make uses of potions as well if you built their decks appropriately. Luna’s desire to draw cards obviously means that she’ll have more cards to play to hopefully trigger potions. Neville wants a selection of items and allies, and this is the only proficiency that provides hearts as well (besides DADA), so if for some reason you didn’t want to go with Transfiguration, he could get an extra heal out of Potions. I wouldn’t really recommend it on Harry, but you could since he seems to grab the cards no one else wants, which means he ends up with an assorted deck.

Arithmancy – This ability got nerfed hard with the removal of the horcruxes. I used to consider this one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful) proficiency out there. Harry basically was required to have it, giving him a purpose (buy all dice rolling cards to deal with the horcruxes) in his purchases. It also fulfilled him being the ultimate support character as when he was done with the horcruxes, he could provide all sorts of draw card dice rolls to all of his heroes. But now dice rolls aren’t super important. The encounters that require them aren’t as menacing as the horcuxes either. And then there’s the fact that one of the encounter rewards is basically the same thing (less the cost reduction). I’m left wondering why I would take Arithmancy ever again.

Care of Magical Creatures – Okay, I lied when I said that Potions was the only other proficiency that provides hearts. This is actually a pretty useful proficiency that anyone can benefit from. It’s super simple to trigger, and has a good effect when it does trigger. It’s actually quite humorous on Ron B1 (coupled with Harry B1) when he kills a creature. All heroes gain 1 heart from Ron, remove a skull, all heroes gain a heart from Harry, a single hero gets two more hearts. Oh, and then you have whatever rewards for killing the creature. It could go well on Neville, granting basically 3 hearts anytime a creature is out on Neville’s turn, not bad as a free heal. And anyone else can use it as well, though there are better options for most of them.


So there you have it, my run down as to the proficiencies, patronuses, and hero abilities we have available to us at this point. Taking all of these points into consideration, the following is what we’ve come up with as the best combination, as determined by the highest win percentage on Box 4.

Player 1: Hermoine Y7 w/ DADA or Patronus
Player 2: Ron B1 w/ Charms
Player 3: Harry B1 w/ Patronus
Player 4: Neville Y7 w/ Transfiguration

Hermoine’s selection of Year 7 is critical for spreading out influence, which is arguably more important than attacks, especially when it’s 4 influence vs. 2 attacks. The choice between DADA and her patronus is still being debated, but it’s leaning towards DADA. Too many things have you discard a card, and she can often start her turn with 3 attacks on her board. Having her go first actually breaks the advice I gave above for having Charms always start, but there is a reason for that. Neville is the #1 healer, but Ron is a decent secondary one in our games. As such, we like to spread the two of them out so the heroes can fully benefit from Ron’s heals, and those heals are hopefully enough to keep them afloat between Neville’s turns. As such, Charms, and therefore Ron, is pushed back to player 2. You could easily switch Ron B1 for Ron Y7 and not have much of a fall off, and in certain conditions might even be better off. But there are just too many times that B1 would trigger that Y7 wouldn’t, whether that’s early game when getting 3 attacks is difficult to accomplish, or midgame where you want to be attacking a specific creature. End game Y7 is clearly better off, but the advantages of early and mid game outweigh it in my mind. The selection of charms is to help everyone out. And by going second, Harry and Neville likely have 2-3 influence before they start their turns, allowing their first purchase to be a major one. Harry wants to go right before Neville. His ability (regardless of which one you choose) doesn’t have any specific effects on his turn, so all that matters is his patronus. And by putting him right before Neville, Harry is assured the most opportunities to save others. Dark Arts and creatures mostly target the active hero, so Hermoine and Ron will both have taken more damage than Harry prior to his turn. He can perhaps save them both, and turn in for a single stun himself, which isn’t a horrible trade off, especially since it protects their influence and hand from getting discarded (and Hermoine has to wait quite awhile to benefit from Ron’s Charms). As for his patronus, that’s really the only reason he’s included over Luna. It brings a totally unique aspect to the game that no one else can provide. Harry often ends up with the weakest deck, and doing the least damage, as he spends his time protecting others instead of dealing damage. Just make sure to pick up a few spells to pad his deck (Protego is really nice for this). And Finally, that brings us to Neville. Neville doesn’t spend much time attacking anything, but he still wants to pick up a choice 2 attack (along with a 2 influence) card for those times when he needs to transfigure it to kill off a villain. Keep in mind that several villains have a “all heroes gain _ hearts” reward, so having Neville kill it can often result in more healing that he could have done if he just focused on healing. I think I stated my case for transfiguration above rather well, so I don’t need to rehash it here.





So those are my detailed thoughts on the heroes and why our team has evolved to become our team. After a few more games when our win percentage start creeping up towards 75% or so, we’ll probably look to shake things up from there to keep it fresh and interesting. Obviously I already have a few ideas I want to try out, but what did I say that you disagree with? Where have I made an assumption that you find in experience isn’t true, and what have I unfairly written off? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

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I am curious what gives the impression that the Y7 heroes are available for selection.

My understanding was B1 heroes were the choices.
 
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Dale Stephenson
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Thanks for the detailed thoughts.

ranissi wrote:

Harry Y7 - I've never particularly liked Harry's skill as it doesn't really help define who Harry is. It's a nice bonus for whomever removed the skull, but you were going to remove the skull regardless. That said, as soon as we started playing the expansion, we all knew Harry was the character that was going to get dropped for Luna.


I've never like Harry's skill because it wasn't that useful. I like that Harry isn't shoehorned to buying a particular type of card or adopting a particular strategy. By buying the cards that don't fit into the other hero's strategy, Harry helps keep the market moving.

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Harry B1 - This is a much better ability imo. I actually can't see myself ever playing the Year 7 version when I could play the Box 1 variant. It still doesn't define who he is, and you're rarely going to remove a skull for the ability proc, but it's a nice bonus when it does go off. It also seems to give Hermione a decent chance of healing since she tends to stack up spells, several of which remove skulls. Harry B1 is definitely a contender for a spot at the table.


I agree it's a much better bonus for location removal, potentially 8 hearts instead of 2 attack. Same Harry, better power.

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Hermione B1 - The new Hermoine seems at first glance to be an improvement over the old Hermoine. After all, attacks *should* be better than influence, right? At least that was our first thought as well. But upon continued play time, it became apparent that this isn't the case. Attacks are a dime a dozen, but getting that extra influence to bring someone from 5->6 or 6->7 is critical, especially when you have encounters requiring your to purchase expensive stuff.

Hermione Y7 - In case you couldn't tell by my Hermoine B1 review, I think her Year 7 variant is drastically superior to the Box 1 version. I would argue that Hermione's Year 7 is the second most powerful hero, and her value has only increased with creatures requiring influence.


Absolutely agree here. Between Beedle and her Y7 ability she provides plenty of influence, and after playing the expansion I'm convinced that having enough money to keep buying cards is *the* most important key to beating the game. If you've got plenty of influence, you can buy cards that provide plenty of health and attack. If you don't, you can't buy anything but junk. Y7 Hermoine rocks even more on the expansion than in the base game, and I liked her a lot in the base game.

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Ron Y7/B1 - I'll discuss both of Ron's hero cards together as they're very similar. Year 7 got a huge nerf in that it only affects villains, which means that the Box 1 variant is probably better, but it's a much weaker ability only healing 1 heart for each ally. One could argue though that it's easier to trigger early game since you can do it with 2 attack and 1 influence. I think I would probably recommend Y7 over B1 just because when it does trigger, it's actually a pretty good effect, but it might end up deciding between splitting fire or ignoring his ability. At least the 2 hearts (especially if coupled with Harry B1) can help keep everyone afloat between Neville Turns.


Yes, I prefer Y7 Ron, because while the new Ron is easier to trigger, it's only half the benefit -- Ron's old ability isn't going to be hard to trigger.

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Neville B1/Y7 - Hah, there's zero reason to ever play the Box 1 variant. Note that you have to heal *some* hearts to trigger his bonus, so the most frequent time that you won't want extra hearts is when you're already at full or stunned, and in both cases you can't get the influence. Other times you'll probably want the extra heart anyways, with the rare exception that you need 1 more influence to complete something (most often on Neville himself). Meanwhile, Year 7 Neville is freakin awesome. In my opinion he is the most powerful hero, and I'm not quite sure how you'd play a game without him. Extra hearts may not seem like that big of a deal, but consider that a Butterbeer now heals 2 allies for 2 hearts each, doubling its effect, and you can start to understand why Neville is awesome.


I like Box1 Neville better, honestly. Y7 Neville is clearly inferior to Box1 Neville in the relatively common case where a hero is healed exactly once, and superior only in the case where Neville is healing the same hero with multiple cards *and* the extra heart on the 2nd+ is necessary for the hero to reach full health. It's frequently the case that lightly wounded heroes are topped off on Neville's turn without his boost, and with Box 1 they can get a money with it.

If Box 1 Neville, Y7 Hermoine, and Charms are all in play, Detentions aren't going to slow purchasing down. (Leprechaun Gold, OTOH...)

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Luna B1 - On all of the previous heroes, I've sided with more hearts is better, and Luna's ability is decent. Sadly it doesn't really define who she is. She wants to draw cards to trigger her ability, but guess what - everyone else wants to draw cards as well. Her ability doesn't trigger reliably by itself early game either. And even then, she only heals a single hero 2 hearts (compared to Harry B1's 4x1, Ron B1 4x1, or Ron Y7 4x2), making her ability difficult to trigger and less effective of a trigger.


If Luna uses her Patronus she can trigger 50% from the beginning of the game. If she's the Charms player (and if you want an optimal mix, you *must* have a Charms player) it can trigger 100% barring Basilisk or a few events. In both cases, she satisfies the "everyone else wants to draw cards as well". Neville and Ron and Hermoine don't want any card that draws, they want cards that fit their strategy and draws. Luna can take advantage of card-drawers that don't fit into another's strategy; even Lockhart can provide some healing.

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But the heroes themselves aren't the only thing. We have proficiencies and now petronuses to aid the characters. I'll take a look through the petronuses first, as they are hero specific.

Harry - This is a nice ability, but probably not as good as it looks upon first reading through it. Harry is not going to be preventing everyone from getting stunned, the spell requirement shouldn't be difficult, but the two hearts mean that he's going to be taking pretty much as much damage as the other person would have. It definitely has its uses though preventing a stun on a critical turn. Such examples would be preventing the final skull from being added, preventing the discard of a stack of tokens, preventing the discarding of half the hand, or even just keeping everyone alive because it's Neville's turn and he's going to heal everyone up to full. Note the downside of the ability is that you're no longer allowed to lose any hearts. This means that for any of those "lose 1 heart or discard" you will be forced to discard. It also means you can't play the horn as you can't lose those 2 hearts to gain the 3 attack. So, it's definitely situational, but can definitely be game changing in the right moment, it's just not reliable.


Very thematic ability, I like it a lot. It's often the case that you can see a stun coming from the setup and can manipulate your choices (with Harry's effect) to end up with the best possible outcome. The health drain on Harry is tough, but because of his cloak he's the least likely to be
stunned in the first place.

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Ron - I don't know why you would ever take Ron's petronus. I realize that dice rolls can be very poweful, but discarding an attack to roll the red die (arguably the worst die) doesn't sound that useful. Now to be fair, I haven't played with it yet, and I have said that Hermoine Y7 is better than Hermoine B1, so perhaps I've overlooked it too quickly and should give it another go.


Attack isn't always useful, and a die roll -- any die roll -- in 4-player is a bargain for one attack. The expansion really ups the importance of influence in a big way, but even without it 4 influence for 1 attack is an excellent trade.

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Hermoine – By default, Hermoine only has 3 non-spell cards, and typically only ever buys spells. In other words, this is highly likely to go off. Early in the game, you have a pretty good indication of what’s in your draw pile based off of what’s in your hand – if you have 2 of the 3 non-spells, then you have an 80% chance of triggering her ability to draw another Alahomora, negating the cost of the petronus, giving you a 4th spell to trigger your ability, and oh yeah, you get an attack as well. As the game goes on, your probability keeps increasing, and you can couple it with the time turner to immediately pull a card you just purchased into your hand.


Awesome patronus. Because it's likely to trigger, it's especially useful when Hermoine only has 3 spells in hand. The guaranteed trigger from top-decking with the time turner is excellent when you have the money to buy and pay for the patronus.

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Neville – Neville’s petronus couples with his ability very well. His standard job is to heal everyone, and with his power, the standard 2 heart abilities are enough to trigger his patronus. It’s the only one that doesn’t have a cost associated with it, except the opportunity cost of equipping a proficiency.


It does couple with his ability, but an extra card is almost always more valuable than an extra attack, so his patronus is going to be consistently inferior to Herbology.

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Luna – Luna has a wonderful petronus. Which is a good thing because her standard ability is lack luster. Not only does it (hopefully) work to trigger her 2 heart heal, but it’s also a dice roll ability, which can be super useful for encounters and horcruxes, especially when the cards don’t quite show up for purchase. The spell discarded is often an Alahomora, so its cost is in line with Harry and Hermoine.


This is a splendid patronus. Like Neville, it's overshadowed by a clearly superior proficiency (Charms), but unlike Herbology it goes well on everyone. Having Luna with her Patronus and someone else with Charms can have the players swimming in cards from the very beginning of the game.

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But as mentioned, there are also proficiencies that could be used instead of patronuses. IMO, the introduction of the patronus should have been revamped a bit to provide an additional complimentary power, but I understand and respect the path that the creators took with making them character specific proficiencies. There are now 9 proficiencies, but not all of them are worth considering on all characters, or even at all. Let’s take a look:


I'm good with Patronus replacing proficiencies. Any complementary effect available from start of game would just accelerate the steamroller effect.

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Charms – Charms is wonderful. It can be used on any character – even Hermoine, though I would argue that you lose the early game benefit from it if you put it on her. In the most likely scenario, Charms represents two additional influence for everyone else, every turn. And it comes at no cost for the user of Charms. It’s a boring proficiency, as it doesn’t really buff the character who has it much, but rather makes everyone else better around him. This will lead to the Charms character often having a weaker deck than the other heroes. As such, I would consider it best on Harry, as he often just wants to help clear out the market anyways. Alternatively, it works okay on Ron as well. Note that I would suggest starting the game with whomever has Charms, providing everyone with a 6 card hand and an additional influence.


Charms is the most powerful proficiency. Its synergy with Luna is obvious, though it's certainly powerful for Ron and Harry as well.

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Flying Lessons – I might have to revisit Flying Lessons in the expansion pack again. In the base game, the concern around Flying Lessons was that if you were using it early game, you weren’t bettering your deck. If you need it end game, you likely aren’t lasting through the round to prevent yourself from getting stunned, which would prevent you from acquiring the 5 influence needed for token removal. But the Monster Box slows down the pace of game a bit with the 1 influence token / turn creatures (including the final Voldemort), but since the average DA card adds .4 skulls or so, you’re fighting a losing battle. Furthermore, the Hogwarts Deck has added a bunch of cards, and while I’m not 100% certain, I don’t believe any of them remove skull tokens, making the ad-hoc ability more useful. Finally, the 4th location doesn’t have the same “discard 5 attack to remove a skull” ability. I’ll have to give it another go, but I believe the end result is still going to be the same – you just don’t have the resources to waste on it, and you’d get better use out of other proficiencies.


If I use this I put it on Hermoine, but only use it at need. Between her ability and Beedle she can get to 5 coins easiest, and she also wants to buy Reparo the most. And none of the other proficiences really complement Hermoine except History of Magic, which is rather weak.

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Defense Against the Dark Arts – This is a great ability as well. Actually, the Monster Box makes it even better as it adds numerous creatures that provide you the option to discard cards. It also provides a bit of protection against discarding a detention. For example, if Reflashio comes up, you have the choice of discarding a detention and losing 2 hearts, discarding an item that presumably has a positive impact, or losing two hearts. DADA allows you to maintain the useful card while gaining an attack for discarding that useless Detention, making your turn even more powerful, all while mitigating the damage the detention does to just one heart.


I'm not a huge DADA fan, but I like this best on Ron -- because his ability is triggered by attack, which you start the game with little of.

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Herbology – This seems to be most people’s go-to answer for Neville. And that’s for a reason. Drawing a card is a powerful ability, especially if it couples with an “all heroes gain 2 hearts,” allowing the combination of Neville and Herbology to turn that into 3 hearts and draw a card. On paper it sounds lovely. But I’ve found in practice it’s too easily shut down. Both the Basilisk and Fenrir disable the proficiency, and heroes that are at 8+ hearts or stunned can’t gain the benefits, and that’s all assuming that Neville has the healing cards he needs in his hand when he needs them. It’s also hampered by plenty of the cheaper heal cards are 1 heart (which Neville turns to 2), which means you’re left deciding to spread the love out or activate Herbology. As for the other heroes, I will admit that I haven’t given it a fair chance, but it might be decent on Book1 Ron, who has a much easier time triggering his ability, and then can supplement that with a cheap essence of Dittany for another two hearts and a draw card. I don’t see it working that well on anyone else though.


Herbology is flat-out awesome on Neville. I'm not sure why you simultaneously downgrade this because of 8+ heart heroes, and yet wonder why anyone would play Box 1 Neville. It's true that Fenrir and Basilisk both nerf this, but those are high priority targets and the expansion makes it so that both of those villains are less likely to appear.

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Divination – Umm… Yeah, this proficiency sucks, and it got arguably worse in the Monsters Box. First off, in order to gain any use from divination, you have to be able to draw a card after you play it. Then you have to have played items to trigger it. And while you probably have more items in your hand thanks to detentions, it also means you’re more likely to have detentions on the top of your deck, so if you discard it via Divination, you’re left losing two hearts. If Neville had a way of drawing cards, this could potentially be useful since he buys lots of items, and often needs to search for the right card for the situation, but he would have to split his deck purchases into healing and drawing cards, all while keeping an eye out for items.


First, it's *not* true that you have to be able to draw after using Divination to get any use. If you discard junk, that junk won't be in your next hand. Tossing a weak card away is useful, especially if you have weak cards with a discard benefit.

Detentions are a major problem for the proficiency because it "discards", though. Getting a Detention out of your next hand is rarely going to be worth two hearts. However, there is one positive effect -- Detentions in your hand may be played for no effect, which allows them to trigger Divination!

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Transfiguration – This is the money proficiency for Neville. There are four cards that Neville really wants in his deck that cannot be transfigured: Sprout, Advanced Potion Making, Dragon’s Blood, and Molly Weasley. Every other card that Neville wants qualifies. What’s great about transfiguration is that it allows Neville to assess the situation, and decide what healing card would be most useful. Perhaps you want to pull Hagrid or Fawkes because everyone is looking peakish. Perhaps Lupin is the right answer because Hermoine is on 1 heart. Or perhaps you really need that Nimbus 2001 for that double attack to kill the villain, or even just Finite so you can remove the skull to prevent the group from moving onto the next location. While everyone can benefit from grabbing Nimbus 2001 or Finite on command, Neville is the only one that doesn’t always want all of his good cards every turn, so the ability to pick and choose is super powerful for him. It can even be used to grab a pesky detention when no additional healing is needed, that way it’s in your discard pile instead of your draw pile. Heck, if you have the promo Reducto, it works great on Neville with transfiguration. Search for the spell (or the detention depending on what’s in your hand), banish the detention, and heal everyone. Oh, and did I mention that searching the deck does not count as drawing a card, and as such is the only way to get additional cards in your hand while under the effects of the Basilisk? It also means that Neville can end up with ridiculous amounts of influence even on the first turn. In the perfect world, Neville can have the Rememberall, 5 Alahomoras, and 3 influence going into his turn (Charms, Hermoine Y7, and Beetle and the Bard). He can discard the Rememberall for another two, pulling a 6th Alahomora, providing him with 11 influence on the first turn. While this might not be a common occurrence, the ability to consistently get 7+ is very useful, especially now that some encounters require expensive purchases on a single turn. Neville has plenty of items to choose from to activate transfiguration as well. Not only does he start with the Remeberall, but chocolate frogs are great cards for him (and no one else really wants them so it clears the market), along with the old socks. In a pinch he could even use the Dittany (or a Detention, hurting himself 2 to heal 3 to everyone) to pull Fawkes, trading in a solo heal for a group heal. The Monster Box did add a creature that basically shuts down transfiguration though. After you search, you shuffle your deck, and a certain creature adds a detention each time you shuffle, so while you can still have the option to do so, it’s not advised. Other characters don’t really have a use for transfiguration. As I previously said, they want their best cards all the time, so searching isn’t really a big deal, and they aren’t really equipped to be discarding items each turn.


Neville's a natural match for Transfiguration, because of the Remembrall's discard ability. If it weren't for Herbology it'd clearly be the obvious pick for Neville. However, the effect can be powerful for *any* hero, not just Neville. They all start with two items, and any of them will pick up discardable items if they have the proficiency (which are all cheap). Hermoine can discard to get a 4th spell or to retrive Beedle. Harry can discard his cloak (it's worthless once the villains have done their thing) and pick up a valuable card. Luna can pick up a card-drawing card. Ron can discard to get more attack if needed. It's great for everyone.

And if you want the transfiguration player to "get what's needed", then Harry's a better candidate than Neville. Neville's going to be loaded with Healing cards; Harry is the generalist. Neville's much less likely to have Finite or Nimbus in his deck. (Box 1 Harry can also provide some healing with that Finite.)

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History of Magic – I suppose Hermoine could make use of it. It just seems so lackluster compared to other abilities though. The other four heroes aren’t anywhere near as focused on Spells to make it worthwhile. She basically can’t benefit from it herself, though with the addition of creatures requiring influence there is an outside chance for her to buy an expensive spell and then put an influence on a creature. It’s not as bad as divination, and could help get a certain hero that 7th or 8th influence needed to complete an encounter or to purchase an expensive card.


It's a weak card, but it's certainly best on Hermoine. Since many of the other Proficiencies *aren't* actually good on Hermoine, that's not a bad thing.

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Potions – Ahh, good ole potions. This is Ron’s best friend. Ron really likes allies, and items that increase either his chance of getting allies (draw cards) or his attacks. And potions rewards him for it. Furthermore, it helps trigger Ron’s ability, especially if you’re sticking with the year 7 variant. Harry, Luna, and Neville could make uses of potions as well if you built their decks appropriately. Luna’s desire to draw cards obviously means that she’ll have more cards to play to hopefully trigger potions. Neville wants a selection of items and allies, and this is the only proficiency that provides hearts as well (besides DADA), so if for some reason you didn’t want to go with Transfiguration, he could get an extra heal out of Potions. I wouldn’t really recommend it on Harry, but you could since he seems to grab the cards no one else wants, which means he ends up with an assorted deck.


Anyone but Hermoine for this one, the others are naturally going to add items and allies. Effect isn't terrific, so it's not likely to make the cut if you want an optimal arrangement.

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Arithmancy – This ability got nerfed hard with the removal of the horcruxes. I used to consider this one of the most powerful (if not the most powerful) proficiency out there. Harry basically was required to have it, giving him a purpose (buy all dice rolling cards to deal with the horcruxes) in his purchases. It also fulfilled him being the ultimate support character as when he was done with the horcruxes, he could provide all sorts of draw card dice rolls to all of his heroes. But now dice rolls aren’t super important. The encounters that require them aren’t as menacing as the horcuxes either. And then there’s the fact that one of the encounter rewards is basically the same thing (less the cost reduction). I’m left wondering why I would take Arithmancy ever again.


It's not critical as before, unless you're playing Epic -- but the fact still remains that *anything* with a dice is powerful if you are doing 4-player, and rerolling a dice is still useful. Some of the encounters still use dice, and others are purchase oriented -- a discount can really help there.

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Care of Magical Creatures – Okay, I lied when I said that Potions was the only other proficiency that provides hearts. This is actually a pretty useful proficiency that anyone can benefit from. It’s super simple to trigger, and has a good effect when it does trigger. It’s actually quite humorous on Ron B1 (coupled with Harry B1) when he kills a creature. All heroes gain 1 heart from Ron, remove a skull, all heroes gain a heart from Harry, a single hero gets two more hearts. Oh, and then you have whatever rewards for killing the creature. It could go well on Neville, granting basically 3 hearts anytime a creature is out on Neville’s turn, not bad as a free heal. And anyone else can use it as well, though there are better options for most of them.


A spot heal is useful (see Luna), but it's not a dramatic effect and is reliant on keeping creatures around. The only proficiency that's completely useless when you're down to Box 4 Voldemort.

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So there you have it, my run down as to the proficiencies, patronuses, and hero abilities we have available to us at this point. Taking all of these points into consideration, the following is what we’ve come up with as the best combination, as determined by the highest win percentage on Box 4.

Player 1: Hermoine Y7 w/ DADA or Patronus
Player 2: Ron B1 w/ Charms
Player 3: Harry B1 w/ Patronus
Player 4: Neville Y7 w/ Transfiguration


I'd go HermoineY7/Patronus, RonY7/Charms, Luna/Patronus, NevilleB1/Herbology. Money and card draw conquers all, especially when the Detentions are flying.

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So those are my detailed thoughts on the heroes and why our team has evolved to become our team. After a few more games when our win percentage start creeping up towards 75% or so, we’ll probably look to shake things up from there to keep it fresh and interesting. Obviously I already have a few ideas I want to try out, but what did I say that you disagree with? Where have I made an assumption that you find in experience isn’t true, and what have I unfairly written off? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.


I prefer the following method:

1) Randomly choose four heroes, and randomly choose which hero version to use for the non-Luna characters.
2) Randomly choose four proficiencies/patronuses (replacing any patronus from the unplayed hero), then assign them among the selected heroes.

I find this keeps it fresh, and also helps give insight into the usefulness of playing less popular/powerful proficiencies.
 
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Matthew Cordeiro
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On the whole, thanks for the analysis. I love posts like this. My two cents (since you asked for it).

ranissi wrote:
Harry Y7 - I've never particularly liked Harry's skill as it doesn't really help define who Harry is.

This never really bothered me. In fact, I think there's a good argument that the ability does fit. He's not the smartest or most talented (Hermione) or the most combative (Ron), and he's not the one to help you get out of a jam (Neville). He's the one that excels in Defense Against the Dark Arts and somehow always survives the most dire situations. Thus, Harry makes the group better when they focus on removing control tokens.

ranissi wrote:
That said, as soon as we started playing the expansion, we all knew Harry was the character that was going to get dropped for Luna.

I viewed Ron as the weakest link. With creatures replacing villains, attack tokens become less important. Gaining influence and removing control tokens are now more important.

ranissi wrote:
Harry B1 - This is a much better ability imo. I actually can't see myself ever playing the Year 7 version when I could play the Box 1 variant.

Totally agree, again because of the reduced role attacks tokens play vs. creatures.


ranissi wrote:
Hermione B1... Attacks are a dime a dozen, but getting that extra influence to bring someone from 5->6 or 6->7 is critical, especially when you have encounters requiring your to purchase expensive stuff.

We're on the same page here, too. Plus, all those creatures that require influence to beat can put a real strain on your ability to buy expensive cards.

ranissi wrote:
Neville... In my opinion he is the most powerful hero, and I'm not quite sure how you'd play a game without him.

My wife and I never use him in 2-player games. Between other heroes' abilities and proficiencies, we can generate enough hearts to keep us in the game. I'm not saying he's not good. I just don't think he's the best or even a must-play.

ranissi wrote:
Luna B1 - Her ability doesn't trigger reliably by itself early game either.

You definitely need to pair her with a proficiency that combos with her ability.

ranissi wrote:
...there are also proficiencies that could be used instead of patronuses. IMO, the introduction of the patronus should have been revamped a bit to provide an additional complimentary power...

Yes! I felt the same way. The patronuses are good, but are they better than the best proficiencies? Probably not. I'm toying with house-ruling the patronuses so that each player starts with both a proficiency and a patronus, but the patronus is a 1-time use per game.


ranissi wrote:
Charms is wonderful. It can be used on any character...

Agreed. If you're playing to win, somebody in the party should have Charms.

ranissi wrote:
the Hogwarts Deck has added a bunch of cards, and while I’m not 100% certain, I don’t believe any of them remove skull tokens...

Finite Incantatem does, I think?

ranissi wrote:
I’m left wondering why I would take Arithmancy ever again.

Right on. The proficiency that is most helpful with horcruxes sucks when there aren't any horcruxes. I miss those horcruxes, though. Another house rule I'm trying out is adding 1 random horcrux to the random setup instructions in the Box 4 booklet (putting it after the 3rd encounter). It adds just enough horcrux flavor so that you're not missing them, and it adds even more variety to the random setup.

ranissi wrote:
Care of Magical Creatures... It’s super simple to trigger, and has a good effect when it does trigger. It’s actually quite humorous on Ron B1 (coupled with Harry B1).

Oh, you almost have my favorite MBoM combo! You probably didn't see it because of your anti-Harry bias!!! Harry B1 + CoMC is a home run. The 2nd part of the CoMC proficiency automatically triggers Harry's Box 1 ability. And when that happens, you're handing out anywhere from 4 to 6 hearts (depending on # of heroes). Neville who??? And you know how you were looking for a thematic fit for Harry? Go through the creatures in both the villain deck and the Hogwarts deck and ask yourself, in the books, who was the only hero that encountered this creature? Or what hero had the best success vs. this creature? Or the best relationship with this creature? Or even the best relationship with the bloke who cared for them and even taught CoMC? The answer is almost always Harry.
 
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David Jones
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byronczimmer wrote:
I am curious what gives the impression that the Y7 heroes are available for selection.


Page 6, Paragraph 3 of the Monster Box manual.
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David Jones
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So a Hero/Proficiency guide was something I always wanted to do after making my Year 4&7 strategy guide, but just never got around to it. I don't want to delve into everything you've said as deeply as everyone else has, but there some things I feel are worth pointing out.

Ron Y7/B1 - I've not had a problem triggering year 7 Ron when playing with random Encounters. The only way this somewhat hurts the team is if your only villain on the board is weak and you are leaving him there on purpose. I get the point you are making, but the claim that it is a "huge nerf" is a "huge" overstatement. Y7 still wins.

Neville B1 - Your claim that there is never a reason to choose this over Y7 isn't true. I had a great game where I played Neville(B1)/Herbology, Luna/Charms, and Ron/Terrier. Do you notice who is missing here? Do you notice how I compensated for it?

Stag - I feel like you've undersold this ability. You really need to look at Harry-B1/Stag and compare it with Box 4 Voldemort. They are nearly opposites to each other. I am consistently losing two locations to Box 4 Voldemort. He just attacks too much too fast and the extra control drop if he stuns someone is a major setback. Except that with Stag you can stop that from happening. I have to admit that the drawback from the Stag is that it really has little to no use in first 95% of the game, so its slowing you down by not having a better proficiency in its place. But it does wonders in terms of keeping Box 4 Voldy under control and I can attribute at least one win to being able prevent control drops during the final battle.

Terrier - Like Neville B1, I disagree with the idea that you should "never" bring the Terrier because you can use it to compensate for Hermione. That said, I do tend to agree that I wouldn't bring this if Hermy is in play. The other thing worth pointing out is that if you wanted play a Year 7 game or a mega game, it gives you a die roll against a Horcrux.

Otter - Not a big fan of this one. There are enough attack spells in the game that Hermy doesn't need another way to get one and other heroes are typically doing the attacking while she generates influence. Its not a bad ability, but in the one game I played it with, it did not seem to be helping very often. Maybe it was just bad luck regarding the draws I got from it. I think there were too many turns when I had exactly enough influence for a big purchase and it wasn't worth risking not getting an Aloharoma to get the coin back.

Flying - I feel like either I am the only person on the forum who isn't squeamish about using this or everyone is leveraging the other proficiencies better than I am. Flying was the key to me learning how to beat Game 7, although with time I did eventually learn how to reliably beat the game without it. I have found that leaning on this crutch has been helpful with Monster Box. I get your point about not building your deck, but I've also found that if one player keeps a lean deck and focuses on powerful cards, they can cycle and play them faster. This is arguably the best proficiency in the game.

DADA - I have never been a big fan of this proficiency, mostly because you have very little control over when it triggers. Its admittedly not bad, but I've been able to squeeze more out of other proficiencies. I had not considered its affect on Detentions though, so this may be worth revisiting.

Divination - I have to admit this is at the bottom of the list, but it doesn't exactly suck. Since most healing cards are items, its a good second choice for Neville if you don't want to play Herbology all the time. Every time he plays an item, you can get those Alohoromas off the top of his deck and cycle those healing cards back into play faster. Which, basically, is where the value of Divination is. I've similarly had good luck using this with Ron. Alohoroma doesn't trigger his hero ability, so getting those off the top of your deck almost guarantees he will have an attack card in hand next turn. I have to admit that I've not played with this since adding Detentions and I can certainly see where this can be a detriment.

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Other characters don’t really have a use for transfiguration.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. How valuable is Hermy's Time Turner or Beedle in the midgame once you have an influence engine running? How about turning that unneeded coin into a Lumos that gives every player a card draw? Even in the early game, she can trade Time Turner in for a fourth spell if you only pull three from your deck. Pile some Hogwarts Histories onto Ron/Harry with Transfigurations and suddenly your starting items turn into die rolls. Even better, Finite and Expecto Patronus can be fished out of your deck with Transfigurations. Its an amazing proficiency, but you have think in terms of building a deck around it rather than pairing it with a hero.

Arithmancy - Despite your comments, this is still a valuable proficiency with Monster Box. Aside from the money discount, being able to control a die roll means you have more control over what the team rewards are. Also, Andrew has stated that you can use Arithmancy on the Monster Die, which means if you're rolling for control removal, you've got two chances at it. I agree that the expansion downgrades this from great to good, but its still good.

One final thought is that you've not really gone into discussion various team combos. As noted above, you can now build teams that generate significant influence without needing to bring Hermione. You can similarly build teams that give constant healing without needing to bring Neville. The nice thing about the options with Monster Box is that the game has evolved from hero-proficiency matching to full blown team creation.

My new dream team:
Luna / Otter
Ron(Y7) or Harry(B1) / Charms
Hermione(Y7) / Flying or Transfiguration
Neville(Y7) / Herbology







 
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Dale Stephenson
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davypi wrote:
Otter - Not a big fan of this one. There are enough attack spells in the game that Hermy doesn't need another way to get one and other heroes are typically doing the attacking while she generates influence. Its not a bad ability, but in the one game I played it with, it did not seem to be helping very often. Maybe it was just bad luck regarding the draws I got from it. I think there were too many turns when I had exactly enough influence for a big purchase and it wasn't worth risking not getting an Aloharoma to get the coin back.


I've played several times with this Patronus and like it a lot. It's not at all about the attack token, it's really about grabbing another spell. Getting to four spells is a key part of the influence engine, and as the game progresses the spell Hermoine gets is increasing valuable -- with Time Turner she can both guarantee a hit and play a newly purchased card. Also it lets Hermoine cycle her deck faster. What's not to love?

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Flying - I feel like either I am the only person on the forum who isn't squeamish about using this or everyone is leveraging the other proficiencies better than I am. Flying was the key to me learning how to beat Game 7, although with time I did eventually learn how to reliably beat the game without it. I have found that leaning on this crutch has been helpful with Monster Box. I get your point about not building your deck, but I've also found that if one player keeps a lean deck and focuses on powerful cards, they can cycle and play them faster. This is arguably the best proficiency in the game.


I think Charms is pretty obviously the best proficiency in the game (4 player) -- cards and influence for everyone. Playing mostly 4-player for game seven, we won reliably with Hermoine/History Ron/Charms Neville/Herbology and Harry/Arithmancy. With more experience, I think Transfiguration or Flying Lessons certainly would've been better for Hermoine (much more powerful), but I certainly didn't need Flying to win. Smaller player counts may alter the calculations, though I think 4-player is clearly the toughest player count. Of course, the games we *didn't* win were the ones where the control-removal cards didn't come out in the market, and Flying Lessons certainly provides some insurance against that possibility.

Now with the expansions, things have changed somewhat. The game actively interferes with deck development and it's not nearly as easy to keep the influence engine going. Trying to keep a lean deck for a Flying Lessons player will be much more difficult, and bypassing big purchases to clear a location will take more work.

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DADA - I have never been a big fan of this proficiency, mostly because you have very little control over when it triggers. Its admittedly not bad, but I've been able to squeeze more out of other proficiencies. I had not considered its affect on Detentions though, so this may be worth revisiting.


It does make discarding detentions more palatable. It's good that Scabbers is a Villain-Creature so the ability works for him; I can't remember if any of the straight creatures make you discard and don't trigger DADA.

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Quote:
Other characters don’t really have a use for transfiguration.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. How valuable is Hermy's Time Turner or Beedle in the midgame once you have an influence engine running? How about turning that unneeded coin into a Lumos that gives every player a card draw? Even in the early game, she can trade Time Turner in for a fourth spell if you only pull three from your deck. Pile some Hogwarts Histories onto Ron/Harry with Transfigurations and suddenly your starting items turn into die rolls. Even better, Finite and Expecto Patronus can be fished out of your deck with Transfigurations. Its an amazing proficiency, but you have think in terms of building a deck around it rather than pairing it with a hero.


The Monster box also provides some more cheap discard fodder for Transfiguration, like Old Sock. If you have a deck at all (and it's rare that you won't), dropping a discardable item to even get a *bad* card is a good thing, because it will make your next hand better.

Hermoine's ability to top-deck a spell with Time-Turner will also let you buy a useful card *and* play it if you have another item in hand.

The other benefit of Transfiguration is that it incents a player to buy those cheap discardable items that can clog up a market, freeing those spots for cards that the other players might want.
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This is great! I love the discussions going on here. Let's keep it up. Reading through all of your opinions just makes it obvious how varied our strategies are to beating the game, changing personal opinions on the value of the heroes and proficiencies.

I don't know why I didn't ever think about Luna with Charms, I feel like an idiot now for overlooking that, especially since we almost always have Charms on someone.

But beyond that, I'm motivated to try flying lessons out again, along with letting a different character play with transfiguration. It's an interesting point to put it on Hermoine to trigger her fourth spell (or even late game just getting rid of the time turner). I still maintain though that most other situations most heroes get the most out of their best cards.

And who knows... some of you have made compelling cases for divination. I might have to overcome the scars from using it early on to give it another fair go.

I should have mentioned at one point that all of the analysis was for 4 player only, I realize that the game balance is much different in two player than it is in 4 player, I just don't have any experience with the 2 or 3 player versions, so I won't comment on how useful certain things are.
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Paul Schoonakker
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Awesome discussion, in my group there is a disagreement over which heroes should be used and their box 1 or year 7 ability.

I wanted to ask something, which I found really odd about the original post: you mentioned Ron year 7 ability getting nerfed 'because it only affects villains'. I am really wondering if we all have the same prints on the cards. I know certain creatures only get assigned influence and not attack tokens, however most of them do. Why wouldnt Ron's ability trigger if he places 3 attack tokens on the troll? I took my cards nearby and copied them below:

Ron Year 7: If you assign 3 or more *attack tokens* on your turn, ALL heroes gain 2 *hearts*.
Ron Box 1: If you assign 3 or more *attack tokens* and/or *infuence* on your turn, ALL heroes gain 1 *heart*

Nowhere does it specify "villains", unlike other cards (like harry's cloak or the brooms). If you meant to say that some creatures can't be assigned attack tokens makes is so that sometimes you have more difficulty assigning all 3 tokens, then I still disagree. For the year 7 to be better, it only needs to trigger more then half the times the box 1 ability would. This seems to be true for almost any game. Half of the creatures who use the 'influence' mechanic, require a certain amount of attack tokens as well.

Although we always use the random heroes, random proficiency house rule (always 4 player), I think the best team I could think of would be something like this:
- Harry (box 1) with charms
- Neville (year 7) with Herbology (the expansion proficiency also works nicely). Any token removal played on Nevilles turn will transform in a 2 health for ALL heroes action. If double removal were to happen, 4 health and + 1 card for all is INSANE.
- Ron (year 7) with DADA. Always keeping Fluffy and Tom Riddle around for easy discards and mass healing.
- Hermione (year 7) with arithmancy (I really like the discount since most die related cards are high influence cost, rerolls could be really usefull if you are stuck on certain encounters).
 
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Aaron Cabe
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Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. How valuable is Hermy's Time Turner or Beedle in the midgame once you have an influence engine running? How about turning that unneeded coin into a Lumos that gives every player a card draw? Even in the early game, she can trade Time Turner in for a fourth spell if you only pull three from your deck. Pile some Hogwarts Histories onto Ron/Harry with Transfigurations and suddenly your starting items turn into die rolls. Even better, Finite and Expecto Patronus can be fished out of your deck with Transfigurations. Its an amazing proficiency, but you have think in terms of building a deck around it rather than pairing it with a hero.


While the ability to pull the cards you need when you need them is a compelling reason to play Hermione/Transfiguration, she is not going to be able to use it as often in mid/late game unless she picks up a few items throughout, and I don't like the idea of further diluting her deck with discardable items when she could otherwise be picking up more spells. I have often run into situations where there were no decent cards in my draw pile because they were all in my discard pile, so transfiguration either goes unused, or is used to only marginal benefit. The abundance of spells that draw cards allows her to cycle through her deck very well, so having as many reparo/incendio/expelliarmus as possible means she is providing multiple benefits during her turn and is providing them more frequently per turn. It also ensures optimal use of the Elder Wand if it happens to show up.

I've played Hermione/Patronus in my last few playthroughs, and while it is extremely useful in hands with time turner (buy spell, draw spell, play spell, get bonus damage), it's a bit hit and miss otherwise.

The proficiency I have had the greatest success with is probably History of Magic. Not only does it enhance the influence engine for other players, it can aid her in picking up multiple spells (like getting a Finite and Incendio with six influence in hand rather than seven) when she would otherwise only be able to pick up one. The requirements for completing certain encounters often mean a certain type of Hogwarts card is needed, so I think it's important to be able to not only cycle through the hero deck as quickly as possible, but the Hogwarts deck as well.
 
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Jay Johnson
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superjojo222 wrote:
- Ron (year 7) with DADA. Always keeping Fluffy and Tom Riddle around for easy discards and mass healing.

Does Fluffy trigger DADA?
Fluffy is a Creature, not a Villian, and DADA only mentions Dark Arts events and Villians
 
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Aaron Cabe
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Does Fluffy trigger DADA?
Fluffy is a Creature, not a Villian, and DADA only mentions Dark Arts events and Villians


I was a big proponent of Ron/DADA in the base game, as it allowed him to basically ride out Tom the entire game and almost always have the 3 damage needed to trigger his ability while keeping himself healed. However, with the expansion DADA indeed only affects Dark Arts and Villains, not creatures, and it isn't guaranteed Tom will be in any of the Box playthroughs, so the advantage is significantly diminished.
 
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Paul Schoonakker
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Ah yes, you are right. DADA would not trigger from Fluffy. However, even with this in mind I would always pick year 7 Ron over box 1 Ron. I might trigger a little bit less often (but certainly not 50% less often), but the reward is double the amount of hearts. In a 4 player game this means 8 hearts and really happy faces all around the table. The box 1 ability is more like "ah, cool 1 heart... thanks I guess"

Sometimes we randomly get Ron but no good random proficiency to go with him. This doesnt matter too much, since you will be buying mostly cards with attack tokens regardless. Besides getting stunned or drawing a Sectumsempra, in the mid to late game Ron's ability will trigger almost every turn. We also put Neville right before Ron, so he can make sure Ron stays healthy enough to not get stunned on his own turn and potentially lose cards with attack tokens. This double healing engine is pretty strong once the decks start to kick in.

I really love healing in this game, so when we randomly discard either Neville or Ron to be excluded in a 4 player game, I get a bit sad.
 
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Joseph Calungsod
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*Spoilers* if you haven't got to Box 3 and 4. But I assume if you are reading this post, you already know.

One thing I really like about MBoM and the new hero abilities and patronuses is that they offer a lot more versatility. While it is real easy to turn each hero into a super hero in their specific role class, more often than not, it becomes overkill which can be wasted and does not offer much else to the team when it isn't needed. Don't get me wrong, when it is needed, it is awesome, but those situations are usually rare and/or a near losing situation. It is great to hit the ceiling often, knowing you are producing your max, but the rare times it isn't needed, a different approach to help the team may be better. It is like creating a team that are strong individually vs creating a team who are not at their very best at what they do but have a lot more balanced chemistry when needed.

The following are my own opinions from my play experiences, mostly 3 player games, and a few 2 and 4 player games of the heroes and proficiencies/patronuses. I didn't really want to start a new thread, and also wanted to add to the conversation. This analysis is mostly about B1 version of the heroes from me and my play group's play styles so take them as you will and feedback is always great as I already enjoyed reading everyone's opinions and ideas in this thread. It is real interesting to see how others play and their experience from it.

I used spoilers to organize a little better.

---

Harry

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Harry is the step child under the stairs no one really wants to play with at first glance. He is arguably the least played, but his B1 ability makes him a bit better. With the addition of a lot more removal from various mechanics in the game from new hogwarts cards, creature and encounter rewards, and other places, both Y7 and B1 are more viable. I personally prefer B1 because taking damage happens more often in the expansion. While I didn't crunch any numbers, his ability triggers more often than the core game.

Harry (Y7 vs B1) - There really isn't much to debate. I prefer B1 over Y7 mostly for the survivability. I haven't really tested Y7 in MBoM out but the whole glass cannon, high risk high reward feel is great for other games but for MBoM in my experience more often than not usually just adds more unnecessary location tokens that could have been avoided if played patiently. Not that you have to play Harry-Y7 that way but I believe in this expansion, the attack vs hearts gap decision is a lot closer than the core game especially since dark arts, villain and creature attack is a lot more brutal. I am open to discussion but I believe most people will agree B1 is better.

Harry (Patronus vs Proficiency) - In the core game, the only time we used Harry is because we had to to play 4 players. I usually chose him because there is no real role class to file him under, so he was arguably the most versatile to refresh the market and let the others focus on what they are good at. This usually left Harry using Arithmancy, Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, or DADA, depending on team compositions. In MBoM, he is a lot more useful where location removal is more necessary. Additionally, his patronus can save adding location tokens even if it sacrifices himself in thematic fashion taking on the burden of being the one to endure the pain. For example, Avada Kedavra would stun another player adding 2 locations, using Stag, even if it stuns Harry, it only adds 1 location. Similarly, assuming I am correct in the ability being able to be used multiple times, Stag can prevent multiple players dying at the same time assuming Harry has the spells and hearts to do so. Even if the trade off is the same, more often than not, Harry's hand is less useful to the team than anyone else's so discarding half of his is better than someone more important discarding their half. Then there is the obvious comparison to B4 Voldemort. My goto on Harry is usually Harry-B1/Stag or Harry-B1/CoMC. I've also used DADA and Arithmancy for different reasons. DADA because his deck usually doesn't have anything too important compared to cards in other heroes' decks even though it triggers less often than the core game. And the only other person I used to use DADA on was Ron who now has better choices in my opinion. Arithmancy gives Harry something to do and lets the other players focus on fine tuning their deck. Useful when dice is needed.

He still doesn't have a specific role to play other than to fill in where everyone else lacks. Even removal that synergizes with him, he doesn't necessarily have to have in his deck, and our group prefers that removal is evenly spread throughout the team so we don't have to wait to get back to Harry's turn when we need it. Also, when using Stag, Protego is a real fun card to have in hand.

My favorite Harry loadouts are:

Harry-B1/Stag
Harry-B1/DADA
Harry-B1/Arithmancy
Harry-B1/CoMC
Harry-B1/Potions


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Ron

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ron is interesting as there are several combinations of hero abilities, proficiencies and his patronus to choose from that are very viable options for his commonly used 'attacker' role in team compositions. His patronus is not as bad as it looks at face value. It provides a lot more versatility than the usual power horse he is commonly used as.

Ron (Y7 vs B1) - Obviously Y7 is way cooler. 2 hearts to everyone for 3 attack isn't too hard to do and has its obvious benefits. B1 is easier to trigger and 1 heart for everyone isn't that much worse off than 2. While I love Ron Y7, with Neville in the party, it is real easy to overheal which usually bumps heads with Neville/Herbology assuming that is Neville's goto proficiency, who is usually doing all the heavy healing anyway.

Ron (Patronus vs Proficiency) - In the same vein, Ron/Terrier (Y7 or B1, more so Y7) can easily 'over attack'. Ron can easily have more attack than he needs even if you wanna full kill all active villains/creatures. Sometimes you don't want to do this anyway and have 2-3 full health villains/creatures when you aren't ready so you discard his attack tokens anyway. Why not roll the Gryffindor die for doing so? And if you are like me, no one ever draws Tarantallegra except Ron, much like Sectumsempra on Neville, etc. Ron/Terrier is more adaptable to this and is a better team player compared to other proficiencies Ron commonly runs. Mid to late game, if deck building mostly for attack, it won't be too hard to get 3 or more attack anyway. Discarding one to roll the Gryffindor die, no matter what it rolls is still beneficial to Ron and/or the team, especially when used with no Hermoine or Hermoine-B1:

Trade 1 attack for a 50% chance for everyone to gain an influence token. -Great when not using Hermoine-Y7 or no Hermoine at all.
Trade 1 attack for a 17% chance for everyone to draw card. -Card draw for everyone including Ron to replace his discarded attack.
Trade 1 attack for a 17% chance for everyone to gain a heart. -Assuming still triggering Ron-B1's ability, this roll just made him Ron-Y7 this turn.
Trade 1 attack for a 17% chance for everyone to gain an attack. -Replenished discarded attack, while gaining 1 additional to each character.

It is also a die for those specific encounters that require them, without having to wait for the store to show one. CoMC is another great one on Ron. Before reading this thread, I've been using CoMC on Harry but makes a lot more sense to use on Ron, if I am not using Terrier. It is my goto if are group feels that we don't need Terrier, which usually means we are running a combination of Hermoine-B1 / Neville-B1 / Luna or Hermoine-Y7 and whomever.

In my opinion, I believe in the long run, the pro's out weigh the cons. What I like to run on Ron in order of favorite to least favorite is usually:

Ron-B1/Terrier
Ron-B1/CoMC
Ron-B1/DADA
Ron-B1/Transfiguration


---

Hermoine

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hermoine was probably the most important hero in the core game, but not as necessary in MBoM. Before you all start calling me out, give me a chance to defend myself. She is obviously very useful when she is in play, but our group has played with and without her and the game is very beatable without her. My wife usually plays either Hermoine or Luna so I don't have the same flight time using her as I do with other heroes, but the impact she has isn't as big compared to the core game because there are other ways to run other heroes that make up for her lack of additional influence when shes not in play. Both versions are still very strong when she is in the game though. While there can arugably be a debate over Y7 being better than B1, what is even more debatable is not having to use her at all and still being just as competitive if team composition compensates for her.

Hermoine (Y7 vs B1) - I really like B1 because it makes her more aggressive. The same way that Ron-B1 makes him less agressive and more versatile. This balance is what I really love about MBoM. You don't have to wait for Ron's turn to drop a bomb of attack tokens. Usually everyone who isn't Ron more often than not will drop 0 to 1 attack tokens throughout the majority of the game. Hermoine-B1 adds 2 more attack on 2 turns for the lack of her influence economy that can now be made up from other players, (Charms, Terrier, Neville-B1, etc). She may still be tied down to purchasing spells, but it at least makes everyone who isn't Ron stronger. Additionally, assuming her ability triggers, she can supply Ron with an attack if his current hand some how doesn't have enough to trigger his ability, especially early game. Y7 however, is still very useful, and still very team beneficial, but B1 can be just as useful with the right team composition.

Hermoine (Patronus vs Proficiency) - If I am not using Otter, I am using History of Magic for obvious reasons. If you haven't tried it, Time Turner and Otter is so good together. These two are really the only ability cards I like to run on Hermoine. You can use that combo on either version of Hermoine but B1 makes her a decent attacker. I've tried Transfiguration and Divination (I like Transfiguration better), but both are situational whereas Otter or History of Magic can be triggered more often. Flying Lessons was another proficiency in the core game that we liked to use to have an 'oh crap' button when we needed it, especially when Harry is in play. CoMC is another one that we recently tried on Hermoine especially when Harry was in play to get a full benefit from using it. But it also gives Hermoine a healing ability which is great to have on every turn, something neither version of Hermoine has, that the other MBoM heroes do have. I still like Otter or HoM on Hermoine better though.

I hope I gave a good enough argument for Hermoine-B1. These are our play group's favorite ways to kit out Hermoine. Hermoine-Y7 are similar as well:

Hermoine-B1/Otter
Hermoine-B1/History of Magic
Hermoine-B1/CoMC


---

Neville

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Neville is probably the most easy to use hero in that when you see his ability and starting cards, healer just screams at you. His B1 version is still as good and gives influence when healing isn't paramount in the given situation. Either version still deck builds similarly, atleast the way we have been playing with him.

Neville (Y7 vs B1) - While there is no question that Y7 is the better healer and can solo heal a team, B1 still has its uses. Our group all thought Y7 was way better but we still went ahead and tried B1 out and actually fell in love with it. He is a little more limited to when he can extra heal but having a choice to take an influence token instead of the extra heart has been so useful. Remedying the loss of his uber healing by other heroes having healing of their own has made missing Y7 not too painful. If you just take any 3-4 B1 hero combinations that include Neville, all of them are viable enough to contribute survivability in any of the 4 boxes. With proficiencies and/or patronuses on top of that, healing shouldn't be a problem without Neville-Y7. Overhealing isn't such a bad thing with Y7 since it means everyone is alive, but having an extra influence token at full or close to full health isn't bad either, especially if it helps you purchase cards worth building into your deck.

Neville (Patronus vs herbol...other) - The patronus cool but I still don't think it's up there with herbology. Herbology is still probably the best proficiency for Neville that benefits the team the most. As earlier mentioned in the thread, it is pretty easy to shut down, but with all the extra healing, 3 hearts is a little harder to get when everyone else has their own method of healing. In my opinion, I think Non-Corporeal is better on Neville-Y7 than on Neville-B1. With that said I still think Herbology is better than Non-Corporeal on Neville-Y7. If you are running Neville-Y7 and are doing the heavy healing, team wise, draw a card may be better than 1 attack token. Drawing an extra Alohamorra or removal, may more useful than killing a Villain/Creature faster. We also have tried other proficiencies but nothing fits as perfect as herbology does. I've only tried Transfiguration once and do see its usefulness being able to micromanage healing specific to the situation or even transfiguring for something else when healing isn't necessary but still am not convinced it's better, team chemistry wise, than Herbology. Another thing we also deckbuild around Neville is discarding cards. Cards that draw 2, then discard 1, draw 3 then discard 2, and/or give something (especially hearts) for discarding, work really well in his deck. This usually makes Neville self sufficient in terms of purchasing higher end Hogwarts cards. Because of that, we tried DADA on Neville and it worked pretty good. In these situations where all heroes have to discard and/or lose 2 hearts from Dark Arts/Villains, Neville/DADA, on his turn usually negates these cards and gets an attack token for it. He then can go ahead and heal everyone else back up without having to focus on healing himself also. This also allowed for other players to choose keep their cards and lose 2 hearts which Neville healed back up. This was fun to try in the core game but I can see it as less useful in MBoM, and not better than Herbology or Non-Corporeal. In the end, I still believe Herbology is still the best choice but Non-Corporeal can be a more agressive option and useful depending on the rest of the team composition.

Neville-B1/Herbology
Neville-Y7/Herbology
Neville-Y7/Non-Corporeal
Neville-B1/Non-Corporeal


---

Luna

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Luna is the only one who doesn't have a core game ability to compare to. My wife argued that she is a different style Hermoine in that she isn't about providing support through extra influence although she can still potentially make you draw an extra Alohamorra.


Luna B1 - Aside from Hermoine, Luna is the only other hero where both starting items give influence, giving her a good chance to get the higher end Hogwarts cards early. She also works really well with Harry and Ron both in the game to trigger her Lion Hat. Suprisingly, our group can put out some decent damage with Luna mid to late game because of how we build her deck. We usually save the draw cards for her to purchase, which usually comes with an attack token(s) (Incendio, Stupefy, Expelliarmus, etc). Bezoar, a card that seems like it's better in Neville's deck, is something I have convinced my group in putting into Luna's deck. Yea it is 3+1 hearts to one person and a draw in Neville's deck, but its 3 hearts and 2 hearts to TWO people in Luna's. Neville already has plenty of good healing cards to choose from. Luna built around card draw can be a real good support healer to take the burden off of Neville.

Luna (Rabbit vs Proficiency) - It's ironic that right now is the first mention in this post of Charms, since it is arguably the best proficiency in the game. But this is because it works so well with Luna. Before Luna, we either had Harry or Ron running Charms. Rabbit is the harder version of triggering Luna's ability. If Luna isn't running Rabbit, she is probably going to run Charms. The problem with Rabbit is that its not always going to roll card draw. However, it is a house die, and anything rolled will still be beneficial to the team. Especially encounters requiring dice, similar to Ron/Terrier, the team isn't limited to whatever dice cards are up on the market. There aren't many other proficiencies that we have found that work better than Charms or her patronus. I only have tried Potions which worked well as a little support healing but there are a few caveats with this one:

1. It isn't too hard to build a consistent Luna deck to play an Ally, Item, and Spell assuming you can get card draw.
2. You are now relying on Hogwarts cards to trigger your ability.

The only other proficiency I can see potentially being useful is Divination. Playing items before using your card draw cards can help you maximize your turn and cycle your deck more effectively to deal with the current game state. Curious to see if anyone else has tried this. I still see Charms and Rabbit being more useful.

Luna-Charms
Luna-Rabbit
Luna-Potions
Luna-Divination?


---

Again, these are all my opinions from my play experience. I hope this gave everyone different perspective and ideas on the MBoM heroes. They are a lot more viable than at first glance. I would really like to know what everyone else thinks.









 
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Edward Freda
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Revisiting this, I never saw a loadout for 2.

We've played with a ton of combos, and the only one where we continually CRUSH is:

Hermonine B1/Patronus
Ron Y7/Potions

I literally saw this combo nowhere, but it's straight broken.

Ron's setup is to purchase 5 items and 6 allies....that's it. Goal of Ron is to roll and HEAL...to some extend get bolts (but not all that important as Ron only needs to give himself 1 a turn from a card).

Hermonine's setup is to only purchase spells (period the end). Get a removal spell ASAP (if you're lucky, you can pull the 6 cost that removes one from you and your team's discard piles)! Start by zapping your ally before your items (keep Beatle the Bard for last). The goal is to purchase spells that get you 2 coins (with the option to draw) [2-3], drawing spells and dark mark removal spells [2 or 3].

I play Hermonine, I ended up at one point having an 8 card deck, which I ran through every turn (but since you can't replenish the cards you used, I couldn't use draw effects after my deck went to 0 ). You want to be at 10 with cards like Stupidify (2) and the spell that stops more than 1 Dark Arts card from coming off per turn (2 of that, it also removes a dark mark, forgot the name).

Ron was equally dumb, only needing one bolt a turn, he got TONS of healing. Using Y7 gave him versatility in where to give the two hearts to (instead of an immediate split); there were turns when he went from 1 to 10. He also could reign down bolts with the right draw, 14 BOLTS one turn against Volde (Ron has a nasty starter item that lets him get a bolt per ally played and by bro played 7 that turn)!

Anyone else revisiting the perfect pairings?
 
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David Jones
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EdFreda wrote:
Anyone else revisiting the perfect pairings?


I really think your post needs to be put in conjunction with another comment you made today that you say you've never had problems getting banishing spells. Several people have reported running into this issue and it sounds like your fortune in this regard is a bit unique. Particularly if you are playing a 2 player game, you can cycle banish abilities through your decks twice as fast as somebody playing a 4 player game. There are several threads discussing the difficulty spread between a 2P and a 4P game. I'm not convinced that you've found powerful combo so much as you've had better than average setups.

That said, since I never play 2P games I've never really considered that 2P combos would look different than 4P combos. For example, I dismiss Otter because somebody else typically has Charms or Luna's Hare is in play. Similarly, if I'm not playing with Neville, I have some other way of dealing with healing. So what you are doing with Otter and Potions are addressing needs that, I feel, other character/proficiency combos can do in more powerful way. But obviously with a two player setup, you can't bring every power combo with you to every game, so you need to find other ways of balancing your needs.
 
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