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Subject: Strategy Element - Magic rss

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Garcian Smith
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This is a periodic series I am doing about the characters in Arkham Horror. Here I analyze their strengths, weaknesses and show you how each character should be used. Note that these are my opinions and that situations in the game often dictate what you should be doing more often than not. These characters are based off of the base, Dunwich and Innsmouth boxes. I do not own Kingsport.

Here is my original post to character classification:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/821356/investigator-role...

Here is the updated list:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Apk3XAwOaksMdHd...

Anyway, so for the casters we have a handful of them. Of course other characters may be casters as well, but we want to look at the ones that are specifically specialized for casting:

Dexter Drake
Vincent Lee
Carolyn Fern
Harvey Walters
Kate Winthrop
Agnes Baker

Dexter Drake has gotten a bad reputation in many of the articles I read about him. His ability is rather situational, his will is low at 3 and he just doesn't seem special. I think he's a decent character. He starts with $5 and can buy a spell right off the bat as he starts at a shop. His lore value is really good at 5. He also starts with a +6 shriveling and has 2 random spells that you can play with. The only irk about him is that the constant use of heavier spells will eat at his sanity, so he needs some way to recharge, preferably with $2 at the asylum. Overall, he's one of the more offensive casters, but can change his function depending on what he gets with his 2 random spells and what he gets at the shop. The thing with his ability is that since he has potentially 4 spells on turn 1, does he really need to buy more? If you give him the money, perhaps he can keep going at it and get spells for the entire team.

Vincent Lee is also not popular with many players. His ability is probably weaker than Carolyn Fern's as sanity is checked for both horror checks and when using spells. The thing is that his ability and his high value in sneak allows him to sneak past monsters and recover faster if he has to. He does not start with any specific spell, but he does get 2 random spells. His speed is rather pathetic at 3, making it hard to chase down monsters from afar. His will is decent at 4 and his lore is good at 5. The ability is hard to make the most of. It can really slow people down by spending a turn next to him. He could use it on himself, but that's very situational. The ability though is great on an alien unique item that zaps health for clue tokens. Also, it slightly helps out Agnes Baker. His strengths compared to Drake are that his will is higher at 4 and has a slightly higher amount of luck. He also starts with 2 random spells which can change how he is played. He does start with 2 common items, which can make him more combative if he gets weapons. One way to play with him is to have him be a sneaking gate closer as he can afford to be hit with an occasional swing of a monster.

Carolyn Fern is an interesting case. She's got 6 sanity, a huge plus for casters. Her sanity healing ability is a huge boon to her as it helps with larger spells. Finally, she has great values on luck, lore and will. The only problem is that she starts with no spells! She can buy an initial spell with her $7, but who knows what she will draw. She probably needs another caster to hand her a spell to get her going. With the right spells, she's probably the best caster.

Harvey Walters has a lot of good things and a few weaknesses. He's got 7 sanity, making him able to cast spells a good amount. He packs 6 lore, which is one of the highest in the game. Finally, he starts with 2 random spells. However, his speed is rather frail, his will is low at 3 and his ability does not help with spell costs. His ability however is great at reading tomes since he won't lose sanity. He does start with $5, so he can get another spell later on, but his speed makes it so, it'll probably take 2 turns to get to the shop. He is extremely good at casting spells, but he won't be as useful against those that are resistant or immune to magic.

Kate Winthrop is a unique character. She's got some good parts. 6 sanity is nice, her lore is great at 5, she starts with 2 random spells, her speed is decent and her sneak is also great. She does has a low will at 3 however. Her ability is very interesting... you can probably plug up a very unstable place like the Unvisited Isle, the Witch House, the Graveyard or Independence Square. As for spells, she has 2 random ones to start with, so that really determines how she's going to get played. The other thing with Kate is her focus is low at 1, making it hard to change her role from killing monsters, to sneaking by them.

Agnes Baker is another combat centered caster. She shares a 6 lore with Harvey and starts with the +3 Wither. However, her ability bumps the Wither to a 4 and allows her to use stamina to keep her spells going. She starts with $5, allowing her to pick up another spell and also carries another random spell with her. 3 Clue Tokens means she can go ahead and seal at some point. Her stats are pretty decent all around, the only thing to note is that her will is low at 3.

In conclusion, Agnes and Dexter are the more offensive leaning casters with Drake being able to have more flexibility as he can have 4 spells in turn 1, while Agnes needs some build up before she can maximize her abilities. Carolyn Fern has potential, but starting off with no spells is a real problem, so she either needs to get retainers or be given spells by another caster. I sort of lumped Harvey, Vincent and Kate into the same boat. Kate has the best stats of them all, but her 1 focus makes her very rigid and inflexible at dealing with changing conditions. As for Vincent and Harvey, I feel Vincent is better suited for various combats as he has a higher will and starts with 2 common items, so he might be able to do physical damage. Harvey has a lower will and really can't afford to lose health from sneaking or a monster attack. Harvey is more suited to casting spells as he has a higher sanity bank, a better lore and protection against other sanity loss. Vincent is more all around.
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Tiago Perretto
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Really nice.

And I agree with basically everything.

Regards,
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Donal O Suilleabhain
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Wait until you meet Daisy!
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Rauli Kettunen
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Best case, you have Dexter and Carolyn. Both run to the Curiositie Shoppe (pfft for shopping at Ye Olde Magic unless we're talking Marie's PS), Dexter trades Shrivelling and any other useful spells he has to Carolyn and gets out of her way.
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Kevin P
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Nice analysis.

Of the ones you reviewed, I like Dexter and Agnes the most. Agnes is a beast with the right repertoire (Wither + Shrivel or Azure Flame). I find that Dexter is somewhat underrated (he's not quite bottom tier, he's somewhere in the middle), I tend to have fun with him when I play him. At worst, he's good in a support role as mentioned above. Spellcasters are tricky in vanilla Arkham, because many spells are honestly slightly under-powered for the hoops you have to jump through with them and Sanity is not exactly plentiful, but they fare better if you have a few expansions. Replacing the original CotDP with the revised version makes a pretty big difference in the potency of the spell deck.

I'd be curious to see you review the other investigators. I don't think many people would disagree that Daisy is objectively the best spellcaster in the game by a pretty large margin. Her abilities are really too strong by RAW so we nerf it to only work once per turn.
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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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Dexter with is drawing of an extra card (even with starting equipment) has the best chance in every game of having a balanced selection of spells. While Shriveling is costly to sanity then using two Wither is not. Sometimes a handgun and a Wither is all he needs to deal with minor threats.

He tends to be my favorate since he can get to the buisness of being a caster from the start and usually does not have to wait for good spells, I just make sure not to use his heavier spell options unless he is being sent to destroy an enemy with physical immunity.

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A Goldman
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I like Carolyn. With enough investigators (so, not in a one or two investigator game), someone's got a spell tome. The N*con would be idea but pretty much any tome works for her. Also, she's great in the outer world as long as she doesn't meet a stamina-penalizing event.
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nel eai
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Here is my opinion. However I played with no extension so it can change

Harvey Walters One of best characters overall. With good stealth he can pass through any monsters into gate, and on next turn cast gate and seal gate at same turn.
At start he earns lot of money and clues by searching library/administrative building.
His only weakness is low speed which can balanced by buying skill or getting map/motocycle from other player.
Low health is not weakness as he does not get into fights and if he dose curse of azeroth is instant kill.
Vincent Lee Weaker version of Harvey Walters. Same strategy applies except that he must restrict his casting due low sanity.
Carolin Fern Suffers from low speed and stealth. This offsets her ability as she spends sanity she regained on trash encounters.
Kate Winthrop A problematic character. If she wants to use her ability she needs to be at very unstable location which as encounters there are poor slows her down. She could spend time more productively by seeking clues and sealing gate instead.
Dexter Drake His skills are relatively weak. He is best used as courier moving items between players and fetching spells when they give him $5.
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