[Tim] So it’s a bit of a change today as we’re publishing our first article about the Arkham Horror LCG, a game that I’d guess that a lot of you are already familiar with. Another change is that we’ve got a new writer for the site, Gareth. In this article he is going to have a look at Mark Harrigan. Take it away, Gareth!
Mark is a veteran soldier and it shows in his stats and card pool, making him well suited to duffing up the various cultists and monsters you will come across.
Mark’s stats are very respectable and it could be said the best out of the Guardians.
With 3 for Willpower and Agility, he doesn’t live in constant fear of the encounter deck and he can usually walk away unscathed if you need to and have the pump available or get a lucky drawing from the chaos bag. This means he’s far less likely to suffer debilitating effects (Frozen in Fear) and can get on with his job.
Having 2 Intellect he’s not going to be clearing locations of clues but is able to pick up some low hanging fruit when he’s not busy dealing damage
I’ve saved the best til last, he has a whopping 5 Combat which is the highest amongst the Guardians and was only recently rivaled by Tony from the Rogues. This greatly increases Mark’s reliability for hitting enemies but also increases the viability of some weapons for him.
Sophie begins in play, this is one of Mark’s signature cards that I’ll cover later but as always having a card start in play and be instantly accessible is very strong (well if it’s not a weakness).
Once per phase when Mark takes damage he can draw a card. This means in Magical Christmas Land he can draw four additional cards per round. Naturally, if you keep that up you will be dead very quickly but it does mean Mark normally does not struggle for cards.
Elder Sign effect +1 per damage on Mark, this can be a bit hit or miss and is far from being one of the best effects.
Mark has one of the largest health pools at 9 which is very necessary as he does take a lot of damage (mostly self-inflicted) more on that later.
However, he does only have 5 Sanity which is one of the lowest in the game and will be an almost constant worry for you especially combined with Mark’s signature weakness.
A very decent card here, allowing Mark to not only heal one as part of an attack action but also deal an extra point of damage. With 4 Combat icons, this pretty much means Mark won’t be able to miss while on lower difficulties, and Mark can commit it to anyone’s fight test and they will have a very good chance of succeeding. Useful if the group is being overrun and Mark needs a hand dealing with some of the lower hanging fruit.
This is where the earlier mentioned self-inflicted damage comes into play, Sophie lets you add +2 to any skill test. But has the “downside” of causing 1 direct damage to Mark, guess what that’s going to trigger his draw ability meaning you’re not only more likely to pass the test but you also get a card out of it.
I feel this is worth bringing up again, as mentioned Mark has 3 for Willpower and Agility combined with an on-demand pump of two, making Mark far from afraid of the encounter deck.
There is a darker side to Sophie though…
Watch out if you take too much damage Sophie will turn on you, reducing all of your stats by one. Fortunately, if you patch yourself up you will get back into her favour and she will flip back to her good side.
I view her bad side as actually being a hidden benefit as it incentivises you not to get Mark too injured chasing cards and skill pumps. This stops you from getting punked by Shell Shock or a bad encounter card where the auto-fail token is pulled.
Sophie could be argued as one of the most powerful unique investigator cards out there at the moment, based on her effect and interaction with Mark’s ability.
This like Mark’s Elder Sign effect, can vary wildly from being a dead draw to driving Mark insane. This encourages the player to never let Mark get too hurt especially when he’s started to take some Horror.
On the whole, I would consider this to be one of the easier investigator weaknesses to deal with as you can be proactive in managing it. With a bit of consideration at the deckbuilding stage, this is very easily done.
Mark’s role is of the classic Guardian keeping the group safe from the enemies in the encounter deck and dealing with any Locked Doors which crop up.
Mark’s options for deck building is more restricted than your average investigator being limited to Guardian and Neutral 0-5 cards and level 0 Tactics. This gives him access to just 17 non-Guardian cards some of which he will have zero interest in (Backstab for example).
Of these, there’s only nine which could be said to be of any reliable use, seeing as there’s so few I’m going to go through them.
The four below should be given reasonable consideration when building a Mark deck.
- Act of Desperation – good for Mark’s economy and dispensing of his used weapons/flashlights.
- Shortcut – everyone loves free movement which can be shared. Shortcut brings action efficiency to your deck and can make the difference between getting to an enemy and killing it or not being able to do so.
- “Let God sort them out…” – for those chasing that sweet, sweet experience, depending on how you’re planning to build Mark he can be very experience hungry and it will help out the rest of your group.
- Coup de Grâce – free damage with no test attached is always good and has a potential card in the mix. It does have the drawback of ending your turn though.
Barricade and Hiding Spot are only really viable if you’re thinking of running Mark as a sniper and don’t want Mark to be engaged with enemies (Springfield M1903, Marksmanship, Telescopic Sight). These let you build a sniper nest for him where he won’t be bothered.
Elusive, Improvised Weapon, and Sneak Attack are what I would consider trap options that players might be tempted with just to make use of Mark’s deckbuilding options. They can be useful, however there are better options available to Mark.
It is worth mentioning all of the above can be used with Stick To The Plan. This allows you to only have one copy in your deck if you want and means you can guarantee always having access to them.
Top 5 non-Tactic Card Suggestions
These next suggestions are tailored toward cards that either suit Mark or he is able to get better use out off rather than generically good cards.
Second Wind, Emergency Aid, and Hallowed Mirror help keep Mark healthy allowing him to maximise his use of Sophie and the associated card draw. As mentioned earlier these can help mitigate Mark’s weakness and get you back on Sophie’s good side.
These next two both benefit from Mark not only having a high Combat score but also Sophie’s on-demand +2 pump.
.32 Colt – Has the most ammo of a level zero weapon with +1 damage on it and the upgraded version can be returned to hand, effectively giving it infinite ammo.
Handcuffs – mileage will vary with these depending on the scenario, for example, the Murder at the Excelsior Hotel scenario where there are a good number of humanoid enemies that can get doom placed on them. These let you just ignore them and get on with the scenario without them coming back.
He’s new-player friendly in multiplayer with his role just being bopping the enemies as they pop up and his more limited pool of cards and strong unique cards making the deck less complicated.
He can happily be built for Solo or Multiplayer with his stats and Sophie makes him reasonably competent when needed,
On the whole I quite like Mark he’s certainly in the top tier of characters (unlike Calvin).