((UPDATE: Revising my notes, as the campaign continues it’s clear there are a lot of seal and release tokens for bless effects. So the goal of Sister Mary is to fill the bag and autosucceed, then trap them again. With that in mind, she doesn’t need to level up her weapons much from the Winchester, can focus on assets and events that put that weapon into play.))
Most of the reviews on this site do a good job of telling you what a card does and how to use it. They point out cute little exceptions, tell you whether something is worth a second look or not worth your time at all.
It’s super hard to write that review for Sister Mary. At the time of writing, the TIC pack is just coming out. There are cards for all five classes that use bless and curse tokens...And we get four very interesting, clear-cut investigators. Amanda likes skill cards, especially ones that get her clues. Silas likes to dodge and fight. Dexter likes putting new assets into play and using rogue chicanery to get rich doing it. Trish can evade and take advantage of monster presence to get even more clues...
Sister Mary adds good tokens to the bag.
Now, if you’ve been playing Arkham for a long time, (and during the pandemic you probably have), you’ve internalized a lot of thoughts about the chaos bag. It’s best to have a skill +2 above the challenge you’re trying to beat. if you’re ever stuck, look at the bag and chart out how many of those tokens will give you a success.
But what if some of those tokens give you a +2, with a chance of driving the autofail? What if some of the tokens are negative, with more draw?
So already the anchorite is tricky.
Then you get the card pool. She’s the first five blue/2 purple character, and those are deep carpools with many many ways of playing them.
With access to Mystic cards between 0 and 2 XP, you might try Mary as a mage. But eventually, you’re going to find you want the really upgraded versions of spells and they’re not available.
With guardian level 0 to 5, you might try for a build similar to Carolyn. But Miss Fern has a few things going for her that Mary doesn’t: horror healing cards like Peter Silvestry, seeker access, built-in moneymaking, and a four next to the little picture of a book.
So you have a mago-guardian who is extremely indirect. You have an evasion of three, which neither class will help you with. Same with your fight score, and with five health you don’t wanna be sitting on top of monsters whiffing all day. At the same time, paying three bucks for a spell to give you plus one to your fight or evade seems like a nonstarter in an already asset-heavy deck.
That is why sister Mary is, at least at the start of the cycle, a three or four player character. Because you can do some fabulous support. Ward of protection (and ward level two), word of radiance, stand together, I’ll handle this…the power is yours to mitigate the mythos phase. The book of Psalms heals horror from people like Silas and Roland. while massively boosting the token pool, and it doesn’t exhaust. You can put scrying mirrors in each hand or teamwork them over to allies, so that your pals have no excuses for failing checks. You can make sure everyone is properly equipped (passing money between rogues and survivors, or passing weapons to Amanda.)
And when nobody fails checks, the game goes faster, there are fewer problems with the mythos deck... Everyone’s happy.
There are already inklings of what blessed tokens can do. Rite of sanctification protects you from Mary’s weakness, can be played in both slots, and gives passive economy to your teammates. (They’ll definitely appreciate putting a six resource Tommy gun into play for two bucks.) Combo with tides of fate to turn a very ugly bag into a pile of future money.
And the future abbess has another neat trick: her ability is automatic. She doesn’t need to trigger an action, play a card or move.
Over the next few months, we’re going to get dozens of cards that give us cool new uses for blessed tokens. There will be spell and guardian upgrades, cool covenants, and everything will make sense.
But until then, it can feel like solving a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces. Is it worth three bucks for a token adding version of dodge? Is a beat cop reasonable? Physical training?
If you can’t make sense of her, that’s OK. All will be revealed in time. You’re simply lacking the one thing that sister Mary has in spades: faith.