Diviner Class Guide

Diviner Class Guide

Diviner

Hello! You there! With the bored look and the glass of wine!

Do you enjoy

  • that smug feeling of superiority you get from knowing more than everyone else?
  • bossing people around?
  • unlocking enormous vortices of unspeakable power?
  • spreadsheets? Or at least, keeping track of everything that’s happening around you to a meticulous, nay, anal retentive degree?
  • controlling the strings of fate?

And do you really dislike

  • moving? Like, to the point you would rather tear a hole in the fabric of space and time than walk across a dungeon?
  • doing damage to things? I mean, you could, but it’s tres gauche, n’est-ce pas?
  • getting punched in the face? Or even letting your friends get punched in the face?
  • you know what, really violence of any sort?
  • except that you can’t really help but notice how vulnerable those monsters are, and if you happened to point out their weak spots to your allies so they could do massive damage, that’s kind of fun, right?
  • you know what it is you don’t like? Physical exertion. You’d really just rather be over here, sipping a nice Chardonnay, and telling your minions - ahem - teammates what to do, am I right?

Great. Let’s talk about your future. In fact, let’s talk about all the futures. Let’s talk about the Diviner.

The Diviner is a class released in the Forgotten Circles expansion for Gloomhaven. It is unlocked by default - there are no requirements or quests in order to play this class. While it’s not a proper “core” class, since all of the Print ‘n Play material is available to anyone with an internet connection (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2095720/infinite-beyond-third-community-driven-expedition), consider yourself warned that here there be spoilers for the Diviner, if you can really spoil something that’s public knowledge.

Light spoilers also follow for Cthulhu and Scenario 21, and there are some items in the Equipment section that come at higher Prosperity levels. You've been warned.


Don’t take my word for it! Full FAQ from the guy who wrote the class: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2099479/official-faq-forgotten-circles

The Diviner is a full-support (a.k.a. bossiness) class with several new mechanics not available to other classes. Prepare your emotions for not making big hits: at Level 1, it has three cards that allow it to deal damage. Don’t expect to be running all over creation, either: at Level 1 it has five cards available that allow it to move, and one of those is a loss card with a top that isn’t useful until later in the game.

That said, even a Level 1 Diviner has a lot to offer a higher level party through its ability to bestow liberal BLESS and CURSE cards into ally and monster decks. When your teammates start throwing down massive hits on boss monsters that can’t hit them due to a dense cloud of curses, they’ll realize your intellectual and overall superiority and bow to your incredible tactical insights and taste in jazz music.

Be warned: if you’re a big user of Gloomhaven Helper (which is awesome), this class currently breaks that app in several important ways. Get your decks back out, you lazy bums, and bow to the might of card control!

COOL DIVINER MECHANICS:

  • TELEPORT. Yep, you can teleport. This ability lets you transit a certain number of hexes without dealing with any of the effects of moving through them. It’s not actually a move action, so you can do it while you’re immobilized, and you can do it through walls - or even through non-board spaces where you can reasonably count a number of hexes of movement (see for example the center of Scenario 21).
  • RIFTS. You place these down on unoccupied (not empty) hexes, and essentially “charge” them for a round with a certain effect. At Level 1, you can CURSE, DISARM, or BLESS, and at higher levels you can start sucking monsters into your rifts and even using them as portals between two areas of a dungeon map. Are you a lazy or stupid person? If so, Rifts are not for you. Proper placement requires insight into how monsters move and what your teammates are going to do - and also a high degree of savoir faire - but you can have a huge effect on the game if you use them right.
  • CARD MANIPULATION. Peek into the attack modifier decks of other characters, or into the monster deck, so you can see what’s coming up and rearrange it to suit your needs. You can let your teammates know if you really want to, but it can also be fun to just make a little throat noise as they contemplate their action while staring intently at them and shaking your head ever so slightly. (Your mileage may vary but if it does you are morally inferior.) Like Rifts, this mechanic takes a lot more practice than you think it does at first, but you can help your allies set up or stave off some big hits if you play their cards right. Additionally you can look at monster ability card decks and manipulate those as well, sometimes preventing a creature from doing that one thing that you really, really didn’t want it to do.
  • REGENERATION. Diviners can grant the REGENERATE status, which can allow for slow healing if your damage-sponge party members could just manage to not get hit quite so often. "One HP at the start of my turn until I take damage? Oh, thank you, Diviner, I - ooof!" Like many of your other abilities, this one takes some finesse to get the best use out of, since your party members are definitely going to be doing the majority of the combat duties and therefore have the greatest chance of taking damage that causes them to lose the status. But you knew that “finesse” thing by now, so at this point I’m just stroking your ego.

OTHER KEY THINGS DIVINERS DO:

  • CURSE and BLESS. This happens both through the Rift mechanic and just directly through cursing monsters, but the Diviner can lay a lot of these out there. This is actually your main mission in life as a Diviner, so get used to adding lots of cards to decks. After a few levels she's going to rival >!the Plagueherald!< in terms of CURSE, and she'll consistently lay BLESS throughout the game as well.
  • DAMAGE MITIGATION. While HEAL isn’t their primary schtick, they do have some good ability to help build your allies back up when monsters get through your wall ‘o curses. They’ve also got some SHIELD and shield-adjacent abilities that will really take the edge off. You'll do less and less of this as the game goes on, but it's a mechanic you'll use for a while.
  • BOTTOM ATTACKS. Okay, they aren’t really for damage, not for real, but you have a TON of bottom actions that let you do meaningful things in the game, like cursing enemies, immobilizing them, etc.

THINGS YOU WON’T DO MUCH:

  • ATTACK and DEAL DAMAGE. It’s not your idiom. Every now and then you’ll have to, and your teammates will react with shock that you actually dirtied your soft, soft hands. This can be a fun reminder that you are also a deadly murder vixen.
  • MOVE. Yes, you can teleport, but your move actions are... le sigh. You have a lot of bottom abilities that don’t let you move, which can mean that getting yourself into position to do things takes that super villain level of planning that you’re known for. And forget about getting anywhere fast - unless you can teleport through a wall, which is always, always awesome.

SO BASICALLY...

You're less this...

Kingslayer

... and more this.

Knowing


ADVANCEMENT:

The thing to look for here is, “which card lets me buff my allies or put enemies at disadvantage in some way?” Take that one. Your higher-level cards tend to fall into three main categories: curses, rifts, and card manipulation. But you’re shooting for your best card at Level 5, which will let you start melting any enemy who draws a curse or a negative modifier, so if you get the chance to pick a card with CURSE or MUDDLE, do that.

Yes, MUDDLE. I see you, number crunchers, and I literally cannot hear your cries of “but numbers!” because I am typing this long before you are reading it with your lips moving. (How did I see the future like that, you ask? I just rolled my eyes at you.)

MUDDLE is a Level 5 Diviner’s friend. More on that later.

BUILDS?

Maybe I'll find another one someday, but for now, this is a BLESS-but-mostly-CURSE build, and you'll see why. We aren't going to take a ton of abilities that allow card manipulation, because there are better choices that serve your lofty goal of making your allies awesome and your enemies sad, pathetic shells of their soon-to-be former selves.

(Do you see what I did there? You have to think in the future pluperfect if you're going to be a Diviner. Also, don't bother me with details that don't pertain to the malleability of space and time, such as the actual definition of the future pluperfect.)

STARTING AT HIGHER LEVELS:

You want to start playing a Diviner, and you’ve already unlocked some Prosperity. Should you start at a higher level? Let me look into your future-

NO.

Look, I get that you are basically the Rain Man of Gloomhaven. And you’ve read this class guide all the way to the end and you’re all, “No shit, really they can definitely, definitely do what?” and you’re excited.

Slow your roll, rawhide. This class has mechanics the likes of which you have literally never seen. It takes some getting used to, even for Judge Wapner Superfan #99. You jump in without getting your toes wet first and you’re going to embarrass yourself. More importantly, you’re going to embarrass me.

But also: you don’t need to start at a higher level to drop bombs. If you’re in a party of Level 7 characters, you’ll be throwing out BLESS from the back of the melee while popping so many CURSES that the monsters spontaneously become teenagers with exploding acne. That’s a good look for you regardless of how relatively badass your minions - ahem - teammates are.

HOW ABOUT SOME CARDS ALREADY?

OK.


Level 1

Peer into Battle

Peer into Battle

TAKE

TOP: This can come in handy for allies who count on big hits, much less so for AOE allies. If you’re using it against the monster deck, take the time to play through who’s going to get stuck with the +2s or crits: it’s easy just to say “put all the bad cards at the top!” but this way leads to your squishy characters burning cards when they wind up sucking a crit. This is never time-sensitive: set it up with LIGHT for the XP and card boost.

BOTTOM: Most useful if you’re fighting slow enemies: you can afford to go late in the round if your allies will act before enemies. Otherwise you need to go before your allies, who must go before enemies. Or just use it to clear poison.

Anticipate Intricacies

Anticipate Intricacies

TAKE

TOP: Like Peer into Battle, except it lets you completely avoid negative cards. Especially useful for big-hit allies or against enemies who inflict CURSE.

BOTTOM: Cursing is your job. You have a mouth like a sailor, for real. You’ll use the bottom way more than the top. Unless you have an ally who generates it, you won’t be able to use the DARK you generate unless you bring this card back. (You do have other ways to generate DARK to set this card up, though, so don’t worry about it.)

  • Consider enhancing the CURSE with... another CURSE. (Yes, it’s legal.) You now add 4 CURSE cards to the monster deck, spammable, for a mere 150 gold. Not quite Cursenado, but it’s still Cursetastic.

Protective Aura

Protective Aura

PROBABLY TAKE

TOP: Better than Clairvoyance in every case but a +2 or a crit, and equivalent in the case of a +2. You might consider Clairvoyance if the monsters have a lot of BLESS. This IS your initiative card, unless you need Clairvoyance.

BOTTOM: Possibly worthwhile against a non-boss enemy that’s giving you trouble. Consider if you’re playing a scenario again after failure. Otherwise, not a great loss card, and you definitely need to set it up with LIGHT or else you’re losing out on XP and cards.

One good use of this card is to generic move combined with one of your RIFT cards, since those are all top actions that you want to go early in the round. Don’t discount generic moves that support your initiative goals!

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Clairvoyance

SKIP

TOP: See notes on Protective Aura. It’s like a SHIELD, but not quite as good unless the monster deck has a lot of BLESS. It is your fastest card, but honestly, the Diviner doesn’t need to play initiative games as much as, say, the Scoundrel, so you don’t generally need to put this in your hand just for the initiative modifier.

BOTTOM: Lets you decide if you like the next actions that all the monsters take, which is really hit or miss in terms of utility - mostly miss, because most monster actions are not really terrible. If you know that your party is going to be setting up a big turn at some point, you could consider it, but given how bad the top action is, stick to Protective Aura.

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Otherworldly Journey

TAKE

TOP: a.k.a., “Teleport a monster onto a trap.” You’ll never use it with rifts, since except for one at Level 6 that buff your allies, those are also top actions. Under very specific map setups, you could teleport a troublesome monster into another room, forcing it to spend move to get back to the party. But really, you’re taking this card for the bottom.

BOTTOM: Teleport is cool, and you don’t have a lot of mobility. Take any shortcuts you can. You probably won’t take the other non-loss teleport Level 1 card.

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Ray of Light

TAKE

TOP: Pretty solid heal, though the middling initiative means you’ll have trouble getting there in time if an ally is really hurting.

BOTTOM: Six cards in, we get our first card that lets you deal damage! Move plus attack is always nice. Use this if something is next to you to avoid disadvantage. Once you have some perks in your deck, you might even do OK damage. Or not. OK, really, you’re taking this for the top.

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Our first RIFT card! Let’s take a break and talk about rifts. Some basics:

  • They go on unoccupied hexes, not necessarily empty ones. You can put it on a tile with a trap, for example. Once the battlefield starts getting littered with coins, this becomes pretty important.
  • Monsters do not avoid them as they would a trap. They are essentially invisible to monsters in terms of calculating monster movement.
  • Speaking of calculating monster movement... get good at it. You really, really need to know where the monsters are going to go. Choke points like doorways are great, if you’re playing through rooms, but most parties fight in a room and move on, so study your monster movement rules so you can place your rifts appropriately.
  • The effect only lasts for the duration of the round, but the RIFT remains until you try to place a 6th RIFT (at which point you remove one of them). This means you want to act as early as possible, or else use forced movement on a monster to get it where it needs to be.
  • You also need to think about what’s happening with your party a few turns from now. Since you want to make sure that as many of your teammates can get BLESS (see Inspiration from Beyond) as possible, lean towards putting rifts ahead of the flow of the party.

OK, back to this card:

Cursed Ground

TAKE

TOP: Curses are great. I may have mentioned that they’re your job? You can potentially add 2-3 CURSE cards to the monster deck off one play of this card if you understand monster movement and beat their initiative.

  • FAQ clears the parsing of this card up to indicate that if Monster A enters Rift Z, it gains CURSE. If it somehow re-enters Rift Z (pushed, etc.), it does not gain a second curse. If it enters Rift Y, it does gain a second curse. And if monsters B and C enter Rift A, they also gain CURSE.

BOTTOM: This is your best initiative card unless you are generic moving on Protective Aura (or Clairvoyance?). Which... is not great. Bottom Loots are... OK. MUDDLE is... well, it’s a mixed bag. It’s not usually going to do a ton of damage mitigation, so by itself this is kind of meh. But wait! What is your job? What is your job? That’s right, you are a CURSE machine. And if you MUDDLE monsters, what do they do twice as often? Draw CURSE cards, that’s what. Pop this on the nastiest damage-dealers or any monster you know has an AOE, and then just sit back and watch the failure.

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Void Snare

TAKE

TOP: Disarm is solid, but the initiative here is getting dicey. Pair with a faster card - and you don’t have many.

BOTTOM: Look, you’d rather disarm an enemy, sure. But if you can’t, making them stay way over there is also a good thing. Low attack, but IMMOBILIZE on two enemies at a decent range is quite handy. And, oooooh... it’s your second damage card!

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Dimensional Transfer

PROBABLY SKIP

TOP: Winning the coveted “What the What?” Award for strange mechanics, this card essentially takes an ally or an enemy and removes it from this dimension for a turn. In gameplay terms, it’s invisible, so it can’t be targeted, and it’s stunned, so it can’t act. You may wind up still being able to damage it with some splash damage abilities, but otherwise: it’s just gone for a second. If you have an ally who is going to long rest, this can help them do it safely, since you can long rest through a stun. Just make sure they act before you do.

BOTTOM: Teleport is cool. But really, you’re overall better off with Protective Aura, so probably go with that instead of this card unless you’ve got serious concerns about mobility for a scenario.

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Bad Omen

ONLY TAKE IF YOU ARE ALREADY A CURSE MONSTER

A TOP and BOTTOM loss card in a 9-hand deck? Um... no? No. Hard pass.

BOTTOM: I’m doing this first because this card is so backwards. It’s a loss movement card that lets you teleport 6 hexes - okay, decent, but this is so situational it’s impossible to recommend unless you know you need it. Moving a RIFT 6 hexes? Meh. The text of the RIFT cards is pretty specific that a monster has to enter a hex with a RIFT token, so don’t try sweeping your empowered rift over a whole mess of monsters... it won’t work.

TOP: Here’s the thing: you should be cursing a lot. And if anybody else on your team is, too, this top can net you some juicy XP as well as make curses a lot more predictable. But you’ve got 20 rounds to play if you don’t play any loss cards or recover any cards. Pop this before Round 5 and you have 16 rounds to play (see http://www.boardgamemath.com/boardgames/gloomhaven/gloomhavenStaminaCalculator.html).

With a 9 card hand, you do need to be careful about playing your loss cards, and ongoing loss cards like this one want to get played as early as possible. A little math: if you play this card in Round 1, you have 16 rounds left including the current one to get six curses into the monster deck (3 curses every 8 rounds, or roughly one curse every other round). If you play it in Round 6, you have twelve rounds left, so you need to get a curse every other round. If you save it until round 13, you have six rounds, and need to curse every round.

Bottom Line: you best be cursing on the regular, and not need to lose cards too often. Maybe save this until you have a few sessions under your belt, at a minimum.

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Inspiration from Beyond

TAKE

TOP: It’s kind of insane that this is an “X” card. As a class with next to no damage-dealing ability, your ability to BLESS your allies is your damage-output. Use it. Depending on your party layout, short rest and get it back and use it again.

Let’s take a step out for a minute: if the Diviner is alone in a dungeon, even at Level 9 with all the CURSE cards in the monster deck every round, she still dies. Why? Because she does no damage. You have to deal damage to win most Gloomhaven scenarios, since “Kill X” is the scenario goal so frequently.

That is why you must BLESS your allies. Keeping the damage off of them is nice, but there is nothing like when someone is playing a loss card and they draw one of your BLESS cards and start running out of fingers to count on to tally damage.

Beware of DISADVANTAGE on your blessed allies, and focus less on allies who’ve built up huge decks, since they’re that much less likely to draw a BLESS card. You want someone who’s got a nice, lean attack modifier deck who is going to pull your cards all the time.

BOTTOM: One of your few cards that allows movement, so you might not always use the top. The healing is okay, but if you need it often you are doing something wrong. Stay out of harm’s way, O squishy one!

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Duality Shards

TAKE

Again, kind of insane to me that this is an “X” card. It’s one of your three damage-dealing cards, and it has useful attacks on the top and the bottom! Plus it generates either LIGHT or DARK, powering up some of your more interesting abilities.

TOP: Enemy getting a little too close for comfort? Give him a gentle shove and consider the bottom of Void Snare for that sweet, sweet IMMOBILIZE action.

BOTTOM: Damage is lower but that’s not really the point: this is your “pull a monster into a RIFT” card. The so-so initiative of this and your RIFT cards doesn’t matter since you can force their movement.

Level 1 Deck:

  • Peer into Battle
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Ray of Light
  • Cursed Ground
  • Void Snare
  • Duality Shards
  • Otherworldly Journey
  • Protective Aura (or maybe Dimensional Transfer)

Level 2

This one hurts. It really does.

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Gift of the Void

TAKE

TOP: See the entry on Inspiration from Beyond. You must BLESS. STRENGTHEN the ally who’s got the smallest attack modifier deck and you’ll get them into those BLESS cards even faster.

BOTTOM: More move? Yes, thanks. Plus, it lets you remove MUDDLE if you need to, which keeps your BLESS cards in ally decks.

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Revitalizing Fount

SKIP (Yes. [sigh])

TOP: This is your “oh snap, things are bad right here, right now” card. You’ll probably want to pair it with a TELEPORT so you can get where you need to be. Hopefully you won’t pull much monster focus, though, because the SHIELD doesn’t apply to you. It ends at the end of the round, so use it wisely. You know those things where people tell you, “you’ll know when the time is right”? This is one of those things. Otherwise, only use the bottom.

BOTTOM: Ugh. This is one of the reasons you became a Diviner: to open up a giant, gaping maw of energy and then inexorably drag a monster into its screaming void. It is so cool. So. Cool.

But it doesn’t BLESS your allies, so it’s not helping you get out of the dungeon. Yes, it’s awesome, and yes, you can mitigate damage on your allies through CURSE or DISARM. But it’s not a BLESS-bomb. I can’t tell you how sad it makes me not to take this card. (Honestly, you might take it at Level 4, I am that sad about it.)

Level 2 Deck:

We take Gift of the Void.

The Diviner is all about BLESS, CURSE, RIFTS, and Card Manipulation. Healing is a secondary function, and damage is a distant third. We dump Ray of Light, which is our best heal and a bottom move/attack combo. We get a better move that still benefits the party by removing negative conditions, and the top BLESS-bomb is going to let us indirectly do way more damage than a rinky-dink Attack 2.

Does your party really need the healing? Keep Ray of Light and lose Protective Aura: a one-round Shield is highly situational, and the bottom is a loss card that isn't reliable for having a big impact on the game. You do lose good initiative, but you can't have everything.

  • Peer into Battle
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Ray of LightGift of the Void
  • Cursed Ground
  • Void Snare
  • Duality Shards
  • Otherworldly Journey
  • Protective Aura

Level 3

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Envision the Course

SKIP

TOP: Hey, look, it's a marginal improvement on Peer into Battle. Meh.

BOTTOM: Oh, hey, a summons. [sad trombone] Here's something that could actually get to use your attack modifier deck, so that's not a really terrible thing, and with Move 3 Flying they might actually stand a chance of keeping up with the party. Okay, so this may be the best attack-y card we've seen so far.

However...

Profession

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Call of the Nether

TAKE

TOP: Yaaaaass, queen! It's a curse bomb straight out of the box. No, it doesn't hit all 7 hexes of your traditional AOE "bomb" effect, but how often are all of them actually occupied? You should be able to get at least 2 enemies off a typical use of this card. It actually does have an attack element on it, so again, you might get lucky with a modifier, but who cares? Curses!

BOTTOM: This is an interesting one, especially if you consume DARK when Cursed Ground is active. Drop a rift where you stand, then swap spaces with an enemy, leaving them inside your rift o' curses. This removes some of the positional trickiness of having to know where monsters will move, since you are placing them right where you want them to be. Again, if monsters are moving this round you should be able to drop at least two curses.

Level 3 Deck

We take Call of the Nether like woah.

Deciding what goes is trickier here. Remembering what our profession is, we now have five cards that BLESS or CURSE

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether

That means that the rest are things that fulfill our secondary roles. Card Manipulation

  • Peer into Battle
  • Protective Aura Rifts
  • Void Snare

That leaves Duality Shards and Otherworldly Journey. However, since Call of the Nether also drops Rifts, I'm willing to put Void Snare on the chopping block as well, since its rift is a DISARM - it mitigates damage but it's not as fully in keeping with our BLESS/CURSE mandate. We'll keep Duality Shards because the ability to push and pull monsters is still quite handy in conjunction with our Rifts. Otherworldly Journey duplicates a bit of the monster-moving functionality of Call of the Nether, but it provides more flexible Teleportation. If we let that go, we're still at only three cards that offer movement, but Call of the Nether is so specific about how you have to move I really don't want to let it go. We drop Void Snare.

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether
  • Peer into Battle
  • Protective Aura
  • Duality Shards
  • Otherworldly Journey

Level 4

Ahh, finally a bad level. Every class has one.

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Preordain the Path

TOP: Minor movement for you and allies who are fairly close. OK, not the worst thing, but the usefulness here is very situational.

BOTTOM: It's the non-loss version of the bottom of Protective Aura, which means it's less good but spammable.

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Cleansing Rite

TOP: Some minor healing, and you remove all the curses from an ally's deck. Useful when it's useful, but very situational.

BOTTOM: Applies to allies, not you, and you probably have the smallest hand of all of them, which you're playing a loss card out of. I mean, you're pretty nice, but are you that nice? This card is one that your allies will appreciate kind of like you appreciate a $5 Starbucks gift card: it's nice that you were thinking of them, but, c'mon, was that it? This is not going to make anybody's eyes light up.

You'll notice that this is the first place I'm not telling you to take either of these cards. If I had to pick I'd go with Preordain the Path, but I end up not feeling great about either of these. If you're a big fan of the bottom of Protective Aura, then by all means, grab it. Otherwise, I think I'm going back to Level 2 and picking up Revitalizing Fount. For reals. The top loss card is going to make more of a difference in a tight spot, and that sweet, sweet bottom has been something I've been drooling over since back when we didn't take it.

Yep, I'm doing it:

Level 4 Deck

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether
  • Peer into Battle
  • Protective Aura
  • Duality ShardsRevitalizing Fount
  • Otherworldly Journey

Yes, I'm dropping a damage card. Profession? Right. And at this point, we can suck monsters into rifts or teleport them into rifts, so I'm more OK with letting go of my push/pull. We need to be a little more careful with generating LIGHT and DARK, but if you're not used to planning by now, I don't know what to do with you.

And now, on to glorious


Level 5

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Seal Their Fate aka the best Diviner card

TAKE, TAKE, SWEET BABY JESUS TAKE IT

TOP: This is what we trained for, people. This is why we CURSE, why we MUDDLE. This is the first good loss card this class has ever seen. And it's pretty great. While it may not be quite the melter that you see with ~Plagueherald Level 7~ since it only does 1 point of damage, it triggers any time they draw a null... or a negative.

MUDDLE-haters-say-wha? Yep, you can start having monsters firing through that deck, taking a point of damage basically every time they attack. You can't get them to take 2 damage if they draw more than one negative card, but still: there are a lot of creatures with Shield out there who don't have a lot of health. Just sit back, let 'em fire off a few attacks, and watch them crumple.

No, it's not a big hit. What it is, is consistent damage, like all the time, to every monster.

BOTTOM: Technically, this card has a bottom, but what's there to say. Move, attack, CURSE. It's fine. Who cares. Go back and read the top again. Don't even talk to me about the bottom of this card.

For the sake of completeness,

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Dimensional Divide

SKIP

TOP: This is not a bad card at all. The ability to WOUND and IMMOBILIZE enemies is pretty sweet. However, what the IMMOBILIZE means is that you can't get more than one monster per rift with this ability, so you have to hope that they stumble into your previously-placed rifts that you put down a round or two ago, which are no longer optimally-positioned vis-a-vis monster movement. So, realistically, you're going to get one monster with this. When the first monster stops on your rift, even though the second one could move through its pal, when it tried to do so it would be immobilized, which can't happen: it treats its friend as an obstacle and avoids the rift.

BOTTOM: Like the top, not bad - a nice buff to TELEPORT. Decent initiative, so you might even get that Shield up before the bad guys clobber your minions - ahem - teammates.

But c'mon. Next to Seal Their Fate, this card is a joke. If you've built your deck right, there's just not anything else to say.

Level 5 Deck:

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether
  • Revitalizing Fount
  • Peer into Battle
  • Protective AuraSeal Their Fate
  • Otherworldly Journey

I'm going to miss that initiative, but the bottom of Protective Aura lets you look at monster ability decks, not attack decks, and the ability of Peer Into Battle to re-jigger attack decks becomes a literal way to assign damage to monsters. The drawback here is that you'll need to set it up with LIGHT, but Peer Into Battle is now your only light-generating card. Get a potion or work with an ally who can help you out; in a pinch you can short rest to recover the card you just spent.

The alternative is to ditch Otherworldly Journey, but my movement-based objections still stand. You're going to have a hard time on big maps without it.


Level 6

If Level 5 had the best card, Level 6 has the perfection of the best card. May I present...

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Enfeebling Hex

TAKE

TOP: Have you ever said to yourself, "it's great how the monsters take damage whenever they draw a negative, but is there a way to put more negatives into their deck so that they draw more of them?" You too? Well now the answer is "yes". The only downside here is that, at this point, you need to set up with Call of the Nether top and Peer into Battle bottom (or else use a potion or work with your minions - ahem - teammates) in order to set this up properly. Since it's an uber-loss card that you'll be playing after you've already played a loss card in a 9-card deck, you do want to set it up properly.

By the way, a Cloak of Pockets would be really useful. You're going to want some potions.

BOTTOM: You know, if you don't feel quite like playing a second loss card just yet, you've got this SWEET JESUS IS THAT A MUDDLE ALL ENEMIES CARD?!? AND YOU CAN STRENGTHEN ALL YOUR ALLIES AFTER YOU'VE BLESS-BOMBED THEM?!?

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Sit back and have a drink, my friends. You've earned it.

Or you could take this card...

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Careful Attunement

SKIP

TOP: Look, this is a big number of cards. And like I've said before, after Seal Their Fate, these attack modifier deck manipulation cards become just assigned damage for monsters. So this is not a bad card. It's just not as good a loss card as Enfeebling Hex is, by a long shot. It needs the same setup work, and just isn't going to do nearly as much damage at the end of the day.

BOTTOM: Meh. It was meh when it was the top of Clairvoyance, and it's meh now. OK, it's got decent initiative, but that does not make this worth taking.

Level 6 Deck:

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether
  • Revitalizing FountEnfeebling Hex
  • Peer into Battle
  • Seal Their Fate
  • Otherworldly Journey

Sorry, Revitalizing Fount. You're thematic as hell, but we're never going to use that top heal at this point, and while I still love your bottom, you just don't do what Peer into Battle and Otherworldly Journey still do for me. Love you, kid, but you're fired.


Level 7

One of these cards makes me want to do a full-on supervillain "Muahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!" on one side, and squee with geeker joy on the other. The other card is

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Curative Flux

SKIP

TOP: This is a good, straight heal, plus it affects you (finally!) and it grants REGENERATE. This is the sort of thing that a Level 7 character should be doing, and you should feel very bad about yourself if you take this card.

BOTTOM: It's a big STUN. I can't wait to tell all my friends. They don't have a STUN this big. Also it removes bad stuff from your minions - ahem - teammates. But it's another loss card and you don't care about your minions that much.

What you do care about is

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Ethereal Vortex

TAKE

TOP: Remember when you said to yourself, "Self, what if all of my rifts came to life as sentient minions who attacked my enemies and made them bad at hitting things?" It turns out you must be Diviner material, because you've seen your Level 7 future. Hot damn!

In practice you're probably only going to wind up getting 2-3 monsters at a time here, but you're still dropping more CURSE that just makes them hurt when they draw cards and aaaaaahhh, how sweet it is.

BOTTOM: If the top wasn't badass enough, the bottom is all, "by the way, rifts are holes between dimensions... so would you like to travel through them? To any other rift you've got on the board?" Goddamn straight you would.

Level 7 Deck:

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether
  • Enfeebling Hex
  • Peer into Battle
  • Seal Their Fate
  • Otherworldly JourneyEthereal Vortex

Otherworldly Journey, you've been a stalwart companion since the earliest days. But I have other ways to move around, now. It's true, I might miss the ability to teleport straight through a wall without needing to enter the room first, but honestly, I've grown. I can walk three hexes, and travel across the whole damn board if I get my dander up. You no longer bring me joy. Thank you for your service.


Level 8

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Deep Contemplation

SKIP

TOP: Have a little something nice for yourself. Take a minute. Breathe. Nobody will attack you. If you feel like attacking, you'll be extra good at it. Need some LIGHT or DARK? Great, convert some other element. You do you.

Unfortunately, except the LIGHT/DARK generation, this doesn't really do you much good. You shouldn't be getting hit that much, and you shouldn't be doing hitting that much. This is not your idiom.

BOTTOM: A pretty sweet conversion of a Level 1 loss card into a non-loss. Still, we're in monster ability deck territory, which is hit-or-miss. It's never a terrible thing but it's rarely gonna blow you away.

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Anguish and Salvation

TAKE? I GUESS?

TOP: Your minions - ahem - teammates should really be doing the heavy lifting on damage. Why not throw them a bone and let them do more damage when things attack them?

BOTTOM: Some very nice healing, and useful LIGHT/DARK conversion.

The nice thing about this card it it has no range: you can affect your allies no matter where they are on the board.

Does this card do anything central to your mission? Not really, but we also haven't passed anything key up at this point. Take this one? Go back and take something else? Call this level kind of a wash and leave your hand alone? Even a Diviner can't tell you the answer to that one.

Level 8 Deck:

  • Cursed Ground
  • Anticipate Intricacies
  • Inspiration from Beyond
  • Gift of the Void
  • Call of the Nether
  • Enfeebling Hex
  • Peer into Battle
  • Seal Their Fate
  • Ethereal Vortex

Yep, it's just your level 7 deck. Maybe replace Peer into Battle if you really gotta take something. I'm just not really feeling it, you know? Enjoy your (useless) perk and drink some more wine.


Level 9

Well, here we are. And, hoo boy, have we arrived, or what?

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Hand of Destiny

THIS IS NOT YOUR DESTINY

TOP: Pretty sweet attack modifier deck manipulation, spammable. Set it up if you want but honestly, you can just keep doing it every few rounds and stay on top of things. Not bad.

BOTTOM: Do you hate it when oozes spawn? Me too. Now you'll never have to deal with that again. It's a loss, though, and we've kind of got two of those locked down, so consider carefully what you're doing to your deck. Or don't take this card.

Don't take this card.

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Planar Fissure

TOP: RIFT BOMB! Solid AOE attack with MUDDLE. Is this as powerful as a Level 9 card should be? Probably not, but if you can't figure out some other cool shit to do with yet another rift by now, then I can't help you.

BOTTOM: Normally summons are pretty meh. Your other summon isn't bad. This one's not bad, either: it's straight-up evil incarnate. Solid HP mean it's going to last for a while, and it's got enough move to keep up with the party or bad things. And it applies CURSE and generates LIGHT/DARK with every attack. Yeah, it's a loss, so maybe save it until you know you've only got a few rounds left... but those rounds are going to be happy rounds.


Perks

I don't care?

I know, that's rude of me. But attacking is not your thing, so does it matter all that much what your attack modifier deck looks like? I think not. Here's some strategery, and you can think for yourself from here.

  • Ignore negative scenario effects is great. This perk also adds +1s to your deck.
  • You're not going to get hit that much, but your ability to heal yourself is also pretty minimal. That said, you're not going to draw your attack modifier deck that often, so it's not like you're going to get healing when you need it. I don't care.
  • +3 is unheard of. Take it.
  • I don't care.

Here's the thing: yes, you do have attacks (in particular at Levels 7 and 9), but the point of those attacks is CURSE. Damage is a "nice to have", but it isn't the point in and of itself. You'll get 8 perks just by leveling, but other than "Ignore negative scenario effects" you aren't going to see those cards very often.

Your Perks don't matter much. You should never, ever sacrifice the gaining of XP for a battle goal. Check marks don't matter.

XP

For most of your levels, you're going to have a pretty good number of cards in your hand that will generate spammable XP. Use them, and try to set them up where you can. You don't have any real XP monster cards, so you need to constantly be stacking those points on there.

Equipment

  • Minor and Major Stamina Potions are a must, because you've got a small deck and will be playing one to two loss cards pretty early.
  • A Cloak of Pockets is nice because it'll let you carry some other juicy items like Mana Potions.
  • Boots of Speed will occasionally make a difference in terms of your ability to pop a rift before that monster you've got your eye on takes its turn. There are a few other good boots that enhance your movement, but you wind up just mobile enough, so let's beef your initiative instead.