Mark Harrigan
The Soldier

Guardian
Investigator

Veteran

Willpower: 3. Intellect: 2. Combat: 5. Agility: 3.
Health: 9. Sanity: 5.

You begin the game with Sophie (In Loving Memory) in play.

After damage is placed on a card you control: Draw 1 card. (Limit once per phase.)

effect: +1 for each damage on Mark Harrigan.

He'd burn the entire town down if necessary, but he wouldn't let those monsters take anyone else.
Magali Villeneuve
The Path to Carcosa #1.
Mark Harrigan

Mark Harrigan - Back

Investigator

Deck size: 30.

Deckbuilding Options: Guardian cards () level 0-5, Neutral cards level 0-5, Tactic cards level 0.

Deckbuilding Requirements (do not count toward deck size): The Home Front, Shell Shock, Sophie, 1 random basic weakness.

There were plenty who returned from the war broken in body or spirit. But Mark Harrigan had witnessed horrors he could not explain. His beloved Sophie believed him when he wrote her about the things he saw - not the men killing other men, but the other things. The creatures. When he came home and went to visit her, he found the reasons she believed him: she had one of the creatures inside her, eating her from the inside out. As he watched in helpless horror, she faded away into the air, screaming as thing finished its meal. Now everyone thinks Mark Harrigan is crazy. Maybe he's finally lost it, after all. But he knows the monsters are real, and he will not rest until every last one is dead.
Mark Harrigan
Reviews

Since his first appearance in Dunwich Horror, the expansion for Arkham Horror: the Board Game, Mark Harrigan has possibly been my favourite character from Arkham Files universe. Needless to say, he was the first Investigator beyond the Core Set ones I ever built a deck around. I've been playing as Mark for a while now - and given how there are still no reviews on this page, I thought I might give it a shot.

There are several merits to being a heartbroken, PTSD-ridden, cigar-chewing war veteran in a brown trenchcoat, which make him a very strong alternative to Roland Banks or Zoey Samaras, although in a different, unique way. Let's start with the obvious, slowly making our way to the less obvious.

His skills, 5 , 3 , 3 , 2 , give a very strong indication of what Mr Harrigan is good at: awesome firepower. You're a soldier. Fragging things is what you do. You can reliably switch from .45 Automatic to .32 Colt, which is cheaper and lets you kill more things before you have to reload. And, frankly, you do little else - although your willpower and speed are decent (enough to pass most horror checks, with some effort, and to do a tactical retreat from time to time), you rarely would find yourself searching for clues - these things are best left for other, more knowledge-focused Investigators. This makes Mark a tough choice for playing solo, but an excellent one for playing a smartass-hardass duo.

What else is there? A reason that you are not going to spend your actions drawing cards, possibly, ever. The first time each turn a card under your control gets assigned damage (either your Investigator or one of your Assets), you may draw a card as a reaction - so you basically get rewarded for getting into fights, soaking damage for others and acting recklessly. The first thought when picking an Ally for Mark should be Guard Dog, the second: upgraded Beat Cop, possibly even both, because these will expire quickly - you really want to trigger them every turn.

Mark already comes with a card that should give you a vague idea on how should you synergise your actions: enter Sophie. On the healthy side, your dead girlfriend gives you a sizable bonus to any skill check you might be doing while providing you with direct damage necessary to draw cards. In some locations, this could even suffice to discover a clue or two, in case you really needed to. But there is a catch - overdo this one and you will be reduced to a self-pitying wreck of a man. In this state, Harrigan really becomes only good at one thing, as all his scores are lowered (still, 4 combat is nothing to sneeze at, so even left in bitter tears you can dish out the pain) and the ability to buff any test is lost. So yeah, you will want to get wounded - but not too much, for several reasons. Keep your stimpack handy, soldier.

Your ability really makes you shine when already accumulated some wounds. Imagine drawing a blue token while blasting your Shotgun and a bit beaten... Heck, you might even consider buffing your barrage of lead with a memory of Sophie getting devoured to get this +2, additional +1 in an event of Elder Sign being drawn AND a card. And to increase your chances of blue popping up, consider the upcoming card from Dim Carcosa, "Eat lead!". I could go on with what Extra Ammunition could do here, but I won't. But I could.

Your deck comes with The Home Front. I doubt this requires an additional commentary. Four fists. FOUR. And if you succeed - you WILL succeed - you not only deal damage (with a firearm of your choice, hint hint), but also effectively deal bonus one, heal one. This lets you trigger Sophie one more time before you reach the danger zone.

As a Soldier, your deckbuilding options are somewhat limited - Guard and Neutral, but also 0-level Tactics. Now, the most useful of these are already in your faction as a Guardian, so I won't cover these up - pick whatever you need here. Considering your multiclass options, there is one that definitely deserves a mention: Shortcut. You can use it both as a free move action (to unleash a three-attack fury at whatever moves behind this door) or means of evacuating civilians from the combat zone. Excellent, versatile, handy and dirt cheap. Other than that? Elusive when you need to regroup before you reengage, Barricade for bottlenecking (or setting up for Dynamite Blast) and Sneak Attack for free two damage when the party nerd has already exhausted that Massive fellow and you want to go full Doomguy on his buttocks. The horror, I mean. Not the nerd.

Shell Shock is a serious weakness for a character with 5 sanity, which in theory should discourage you from using Sophie too much. You can get up to 4 sanity damage in one go if you're not careful, which is as close to an instakill as it gets. Triggering Sophie once and having your assets soak the rest of the damage should be a pretty safe way to manage it, though, if you don't mind your doing pretty much nothing. Alternatively, you can wait for your weakness to pass (easier if you secure some Ally early in the game and start drawing) and then begin beating yourself over how it's all your fault that she was devoured.

In case you didn't know that already, Harrigan is crazy. Most of his abilities revolve around you hurting yourself, which opens up for some amazing combos and give you a delectable taste of vengeance when this blue token spills out from the bag while you're already hanging by a thread. An immensely strong and fun to play, although very much specialized, high-risk high-reward character - this is Mark Harrigan.

H0tl1ne · 17
Mark is certainly an excellent character, though looking at his card art gives me mental trauma. Is his head too big or his body too small? Great art, but the proportions are like an Arkham chibi. — Lastris · 1
Huh. Haven't noticed that before! — H0tl1ne · 17
Great analysis! On the subject of the art, anyone else a little miffed that the portrait of him has him wielding a Chicago Typewriter, which he definitely can't have in his deck? — jblade · 6
The featured gun doesn't bother me. Mark's a soldier - he understands the value of Teamwork. — Death by Chocolate · 12

I love Mark. I think he is the strongest multiplayer Guardian on high difficulty levels. Allow me to explain why.

First, there's that beautiful stat line. I'm not talking about the fact that Mark has 1 more total stat point than most investigators (though that is nice). What's so special here is that Mark is a Guardian with 5 Combat. He is just really good at his job. That extra Combat makes a massive difference on high difficulty levels, especially in the early campaign. Mark simply gets better results from his Fight actions than other Guardians do. Later in the campaign, when weapons like Flamethrower and Lightning Gun are granting massive to-hit bonuses, Mark's high Combat is less of an advantage. But on Expert it always has at least some use.

Mark's non-Combat stats may seem unspectacular, but it's important to factor in Sophie here. Sophie means that Mark can easily have 5 Willpower or 5 Agility on demand. This means that Mark is not nearly so vulnerable to the encounter deck as he might appear. On the contrary, he is actually really good at resisting treacheries, at least by the standards of the Guardian class. Obviously, you can't use Sophie on every test you ever take. But you'll draw an average of about 2 to 3 Willpower treacheries per scenario (depending a bit on the cycle), so it's perfectly plausible to have Sophie protect you from all of them, or at least all of the ones you care about.

Sophie's best application is defending against the encounter deck, but boosting up to 7 Combat is really useful on Hard/Expert. Also, the fact that Mark can boost any stat on demand means he is surprisingly useful when a location demands some random Willpower or Agility test. Don't forget that Mark can also use Sophie twice to get to 7 in these stats, or even 6 Intellect. You won't want to do this all that often, because that's a lot of direct damage to be taking in a hurry, and if you use Sophie twice on one test you only draw one card. But it's a nice option to have in reserve. I recommend two copies of Second Wind to get the most out of Sophie (while also protecting you from Shell Shock.)

Mark's card draw ability is also strong. It's a lot of free value; damage naturally comes throughout the scenario, you should be making some use of Sophie, and there are plenty of player cards like Beat Cop II, True Grit, and Brother Xavier that can keep the cards flowing while granting you extra value on top of that. Mark's ability makes him one of the most consistent investigators, as he will see almost all (and quite often literally all) of his deck every single scenario.

Mark's 5 Sanity is a weakness, of course. But Sophie boosting up Mark's Willpower is really nice here. So is Mark's card draw--you will very reliably be able to find your horror soak and horror healing cards before the scenario is over. These two considerations mean that, although Mark and Roland seem to have the same parameters in this area, Mark tends to be significantly more durable.

Some advice on deckbuilding for Mark. I do recommend Flamethrower as the strongest Guardian card out there. There's also a very cute .45 Thompson + Act of Desperation build out there. That's a good time, but a repeatable 4 damage per Fight action is much better.

Stick to the Plan is very important for Mark. He tends to struggle with resources (more on that later), but having a guaranteed Ever Vigilant in your opening hands goes a long way towards mitigating that. I think Prepared for the Worst and Extra Ammunition are good choices for the second and third cards under Stick to the Plan, assuming you're going for the Flamethrower build.

Some players see Mark's great stat line and the further boosting offered by Sophie and conclude that skill cards are unnecessary, but I think this is in error. If Mark is drawing nothing but assets and events, he just won't be able to pay for them all. He'll have to commit quite a few of them to skill tests--and if you're going to be doing that, it's more efficient to run some actual skill cards. Steadfast, Take the Initiative, and Vicious Blow are all very good for him, as are Guts and Overpower.

I sometimes run Flashlight and/or Scene of the Crime in the early campaign. But assuming my teammates are competent clue-finders (and if they're not, why am I playing Mark?), it doesn't make sense for Mark to do much cluefinding. Much better to focus on keeping the board clear of monsters and keeping everyone safe and healthy. That's a crucial role in a multiplayer game, and I don't think anyone does it as well as Mark.

CaiusDrewart · 1260