Sophie Harrigan’s Guide to Playing the Soldier

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Sophie & Mark's Big Adventure 47 34 5 1.0
Sophie Harrigan, Playing the Soldier 0 0 0 1.0
Sophie Harrigan, Playing the Soldier 0 0 0 2.0
Marker 2.0 0 0 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan goes to town with Daisy Walker 0 0 0 1.0
Guardian Mark - Path To Carcosa 0 0 0 1.0
Cycling Soldier 1 0 0 1.0
Mark is here to help 1.4 0 0 0 2.0
Sophie & Mark's Big Adventure - upgraded 0 0 0 1.0
NotZ (complete) with Mark Harrigan (duo Carolyn) 2 2 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan Super Soldier 1 1 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan adventures in Alkor 1 0 2 1.0
Sophie Harrigan’s Guide to Playing the Soldier 0 0 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan (path to carcosa, starter, 2xcore, 0xp) 2 1 0 1.0
Sophie war ihre Schwester? 0 0 0 1.0
The Adventures of Mark Harrigan 0 0 0 1.0
The Adventures of Mark Harrigan 0 0 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan - Taboo List 2019.09.27 0 0 0 1.0
Dapper Mark, P.I. (Solo deck) 0 0 0 1.0
Mazsi Harrigan - no pain no gain! 0 0 0 1.0
Mazsi Harrigan - no pain no gain! 0 0 0 2.0
Mark for dream 0 0 0 1.0
Sophie Harrigan’s Guide to Playing the Soldier 1 0 0 1.0
Upgraded Deck 0 0 0 1.0
Sophie Harrigan’s Guide to Playing the Soldier with only o 5 4 0 1.0
The Adventures of Mark Harrigan 0 0 0 1.0
The Adventures of Mark Harrigan 0 0 0 1.0
Mark "McMurder" Harrigan 0 0 0 5.0
Mark "McMurder" Harrigan 0 0 0 6.0
Mark "McMurder" Harrigan 0 0 0 7.0
Holy Harrigan 0 0 0 1.0
Mark Multiplayer 0 0 0 2.0
Soldaatje Nooitgenoeg 0 0 0 1.0
The Adventures of Mark Harrigan 0 0 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan in Carcossa Solo 2 2 1 1.0
Shotgun Mark Harrigan 2 1 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan Starter Deck from SamVC 1 1 0 1.0
Mark Harrigan Keeps It Together 0 0 0 1.0
Custom Sophie Harrigan’s 0 0 0 1.0
Sophie Harrigan’s Guide to Playing the Soldier - Revitaliz 0 0 0 1.0
Mark "Balboa" Harrigan 1 0 0 1.0

SamVC · 4235


Table of Contents

  • Investigator Overview
  • Early Game & Mulligan Guide
  • Mid Game
  • Late Game
  • Upgrade Path
  • Thanks and Version History

Sophie & Mark Harrigan Overview

Mark Harrigan has the most limited card pool of all current investigators and five base strength, so it’s easy pigeonhole him into an exclusively combat roll. However, his beloved wife, Sophie, is there to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I play Mark Harrigan and Sophie as a well rounded unit that is able to fight, move around the map, support allies, deal with the encounter deck, and gather clues. Solo or in a team, this build works.

Sophie and Mark have incredible abilities that dance together like a couple on their wedding night. Sophie, In Loving Memory, enables you to gain +2 to any of your skill tests. This effect also pings her husband for 1 direct damage. Once per phase, Mark Harrigan can draw a card after receiving damage.

To summarize: +2 to a skill test, +1 Card Draw; (-1 Health)

This decklist runs zero skill cards, and this is why. Skill tests cards like Guts or Overpower give +2 to a skill test, and if the test is successful +1 Card Draw. Sound familiar?

This combo means that we are taking one damage, but saving a card slot, and can essentially commit two wild icons to any skill test we take. Most decks run between 4-8 skills cards, so this is certainly a new twist on Mr. Harrigan. The drawbacks of taking damage and the inability to help our allies in skill test are overcome with creative deck building options.

This deck aims to support allies without merely committing to skill tests, all while keeping his weakness: Sophie, It was all my Fault on the brink. It's a balancing act that puts the decision making off of random draw and into the player’s hands.

If this sounds like an interesting approach to deck building, read on!


Early Game

Gearing Up



Mark will never compete with Rex for the title of best clue gatherer.

Flashlight and Sophie bring you up to a respectable 4 knowledge against a -2 shroud location. This means that he will be able to grab clues early while fueling his draw engine, and give him something to do if no monsters are on the map. This combo is favored over Evidence! because of the flexibility. In a multiplayer game, depending on the number of clues left to gather, don’t be afraid to toss the second Flashlight for its icons to a knowledge skill test. Solo Mark will generally need both in order to grab enough clues.

Mulligan Guide: Mark has a straightforward mulligan. There are two cards you really want to have, Flashlight and Machete. Mulligan everything that isn’t named Flashlight, Machete and only keep Prepared for the Worst if you don’t have a weapon. After that, prioritize healing. Mark is capable of fighting or investigating without these cards, but they enhance him so much it’s worth ignoring everything else and finding them early. Healing allows you to be aggressive in using Sophie, a key to this deck, while helping you draw into missing pieces.

Your goals for the early game are to get Flashlight and/or Machete equipped and aggressively using Sophie to work on advancing the act deck.


Mid Game


Encounter Deck

Two weapons!? No guns!?! Are you mad!?

Look, guns in Arkham suck. And until we get a card printed that is worth including, we are only running two. Luckily, we have access to the best weapon in the game in Machete. Combined with Prepared for the Worst and a hard mulligan, we are 68% likely to see one of them in our opening hand. Even if we miss it early, Mark’s excellent card draw means it will turn up eventually.

But does he need it?

Consider that the other Guardians only have 4 combat. He already has an innate +1, so all we’ll really missing is that sweet +1 damage per swing. Until we find Machete we achieve that with Vicious Blow, Beat Cop, and Guard Dog.

Beat Cop deserves special mention in this deck for his synergy, damage to any card under Mark Harrigan’s control trigger his reactive card draw. He gives you a free trigger action that can be used during any player action window, so waiting until the start of an enemy phase to ping for damage means Mark can potentially draw multiple cards per round, so be creative on which window you’re hitting. The upgraded Beat Cop (2) represents even more of these windows, so always be sure to prioritize Beat Cop (2) as your campaign progresses.

In the mid game you should continue attempting the advance the act deck aggressively, focus on staying below four damage and three horror, and support your allies by moving around the map a dealing with enemies.


End Game

Health Management


At 14, cards that heal or tank damage comprise nearly half of the deck!

Assets that tank damage, Guard Dog, Beat Cop, and True Grit allow us to direct damage away from Mark, making sure he stays alive and away from Sophie, It’s All My Fault.

The Home Front converts damage taken to damage dealt, which is an awesome card for Mark. Emergency Aid gives us two more swings of Sophie, and First Aid gives us three or can be used on horror.

Horror is the real scary part about playing Mark. Yes, Sophie kicks in at five damage and turns to a weakness, but staying above the line is easy, and if crossed you and your allies have a chance to bring it back. But at five horror damage he dies. True Grit can’t soak it (which makes Brother Xavier (1) a fantastic upgrade), and Beat Cop and Guard Dog are defeated if they tank any horror. That’s why we’re running First Aid and "If it bleeds...".

Note: I no longer advise running "If it bleeds...", preferring Smoking Pipe which allows you to trigger card draw, reliably move horror off of Mark Harrigan and onto his assets, and can be used to detonate Brother Xavier once he enters play. A huge thanks to user CecilAlucardX for this suggestion!

Painkillers help us stay at the magical 3 damage, which means that Shell Shock only does 1 horror. When playing Mark, always be sure to understand how much damage Shell Shock will do if it’s still a potential draw.

Mark Harrigan enables his fellow investigators to avoid super crippling turns. Shortcut grants him mobility to move across the map with actions to spare and allies with their threat area and remember that Elusive can be used without being engaged and that the location you travel to only has to be revealed, not necessarily even connected!

The fast action in Taunt ensure you’re not risking damage into a fragile investigator, or allows Mark to deal with enemies. "Let me handle this!" and Sophie dominate the encounter deck, and allow fellow investigators a turn where they don’t have to worry about any new threats. True Grit ensures they stay healthy and ready to answer any future threats!

The goal of the end game is to close out the game by whatever means necessary by healing up and spamming Sophie to pass any skill test Mark and Sophie face.


Upgrade Paths

Prioritize Beat Cop (2), followed by Charisma (3)

Brother Xavier (1), Stand Together (3), Taunt (2), and Vicious Blow (2) is a good path.

Mark needs allies to soak damage for him and Charisma (3) is important. Beat Cop (2) is a stellar upgrade which synergies with Mark. Brother Xavier (1) is also incredible and helps soak horror. "I've had worse…" (4) competes with Moment of Respite (3) for the slot "If it bleeds..." occupies and can also act to mitigate horror from your weakness, enemies, or even Sophie or Painkillers.

In multiplayer, Stand Together (3) replaces Emergency Cache, and no one will ever complain about being the recipient (until they draw their weakness!).

Police Badge (2) is phenomenal, and when paired with Ever Vigilant the expensive assets become easy to get into play. The permanent Keen Eye (3) is always great to have if you have extra experience laying around, but Sophie will generally take on the role.


Thank you for reading this guide! I have been playing Arkham Horror since launch and have seen nearly every investigator through the campaign. I hope you enjoy this twist on Sophie and Mark. Give it a try and tell me how you like it!

I'd like to give a special shout out to user DadouXIII for his beautiful guides and for showing me all kinds of formatting tricks. You should check em' out!


Sep 20, 2017 FractalMind · 36

.32 Colt seems like it was made for Harrigan. What would you cut to include it in the deck? Thanks for the excellent write up!

Sep 20, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@FractalMindIf you want to include .32 Colt I'd replace it with the Machete! Thanks for the question!

(You could also take out Prepared for the Worst and/or "If it bleeds...")

Sep 20, 2017 TheUnthinkable · 362

+1 for the name!

Sep 20, 2017 meathook · 1

This deck looks really expensive (48 total cost). How do you play all of your cards? Don't you get bogged down after turn 3 without being able to play things when you need to? Thoughts from an inquiring mind.

Sep 20, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@meathook I had the same thought before running it! The reality is that you only need a Machete and Flashlight, one ally, and Painkillers to feel really confident.

Also, most of the cards are situational, so unlike some decks you're not needing to deploy tons of cards.

Then also remember that many turns are going to be move, and do two fight or investigate actions. Most scenarios in Arkham have a countdown, and play styles that spend too much time gearing up are playing against the clock. Mark takes one turn to gear up and starts gunning for objectives.

All this also culminates into Ever Vigilant which he really uses well!

Sep 20, 2017 anFeasogMor · 1

Overall, I like it. The one thing I would question is whether or not, given his need to shift damage into horror using Painkillers, if it might not be in Mark's best interests to eventually take and Elder Sign Amulet, possibly instead of Keen Eye, if the experience is available, since, as you say, Sophie already does the job?

Sep 20, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@anFeasogMorThanks for the suggestion! I actually think that Elder Sign Amulet is a really good thought.

Elder Sign Amulet is in the funny place of being easy to forget about when deck building, especially since it seems "boring" with no text. But it (and it's cousin, Bulletproof Vest are almost never dead draws, and offer great skill test icons to boot!

Brother Xavier isn't quite as good a horror sink of the Amulet, and he's more expensive to play, so I think that the Amulet is something I want to look at and deck builders should play around with for sure!

Sep 20, 2017 anFeasogMor · 1

@SamVC It's definitely tricky. I do think that Brother Xavier's utility is definitely worth it for his increased cost. He doesn't have the horror soak that Elder Sign Amulet has, but only by one, he has damage soak that the Amulet doesn't, and his other abilities are quite potent (though, with liberal use of Painkillers, Mark probably can't afford to be taking other people's horror for them). At the same time, I do think this deck might suffer a bit from resource poorness, so a 2 resource differential is nothing to scoff at. Still, I think if I were going to choose one or the other, I'd probably still stick with your initial suggestion of Xavier.

That being said, if the investigator could swing both, having the amulet (giving Mark a private horror sink) would open up more flexibility for using Xavier as a sink for other investigators horror, strengthening that strong tank role you've established in this deck, and I personally might even prioritize it over the upgraded Taunt, especially keeping in mind balancing Mark's low sanity with card draw, and the forced horror every time you shuffle your deck.

Sep 20, 2017 anFeasogMor · 1

Shuffle your discard pile because you've depleted your deck, that is

Sep 20, 2017 Gilmore Girls · 1

@anFeasogMorIt's also worth that, while Elder Sign Amulet and Keen Eye share the same EXP cost, permanent cards don't take up any deck slots and start the game in play. Keen Eye is essentially a "win more" card that you buy if you've already managed to upgrade the bulk of your deck and you're flush with extra experience from some really excellent runs. It sits there and fills in the gaps when you don't manage to acquire Flashlight or Machete in your first few turns. The card itself is by no means a requirement and doesn't have to replace anything in a deck that already is very tight on space.

That being said, if you were looking for something to replace for an Elder Sign Amulet, I would agree with@SamVC that True Grit/Brother Xavier can be replaced to lessen the burden of so many allies. Overall it would serve as a more selfish build so I would only consider it for solo runs.

Sep 20, 2017 meathook · 1

I like how this is looking. I am going to try it on solo with a few modifications. I am going to replace the multiplayer cards with personal preference cards. -2x Let me handle this for +2x .32 Colt (I like to have the static +1 damage just in case multiple enemies are engaged) -2x Taunt for +2x Evidence to shore up the investigation deficiency. That's all that I can think of from the top of my head at the moment.

Sep 21, 2017 CecilAlucardX · 10

Why not Smoking Pipe? It heals horror by damaging your allies/true grit, while also drawing you cards... say, during the upkeep phase, or even the mythos phase if you didn't take damage.

Sep 21, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@CecilAlucardX I played this deck through the Night of the Zealot campaign and focused on getting the maximum amount of XP and not meeting death. It was a success, but I found "If it bleeds..." to be the most dead card in the deck.

So now, per your suggestion, I've actually started playing Smoking Pipe over "If it bleeds..."! You have a great eye and it works really well in this deck!

Along with Painkillers it's a great way to transfer early game direct damage onto your assets and allies, generate card draw in multiple phases, mitigate horror, and trigger Brother Xavier.

I'll make a note of it in the guide and give you a shout out later today! Thank you!

Sep 21, 2017 DadouXIII · 10367

@SamVCAwesome guide mate, and I definitely appreciate the shoutout. I'll have a whole formatting guide up and running soon, so I'll be sharing even more of my tricks :)


Sep 22, 2017 DadouXIII · 10367

@SamVC After a couple of plays, I can say the deck is awesome. Very clever to not include any Skill cards, since Sophie acts the part. I have a few questions about a couple of cards choices:

  • "If it bleeds..." why include it over Dodge? "If it bleeds..." is extremely situational, I used to have it in my Roland deck, and most of the time would just be committed to skill tests. Dodge is much better because it prevents the Horror before you even take it, and will also prevent you from losing Health since enemies usually hit for both at the same time. At most, you will regain 2 Sanity from "If it bleeds...", while it's much more likely that you will prevent 2 Damage and 2 Horror from Dodge. I removed 2x "If it bleeds..." and added 2x Dodge.

  • Taunt I'm not sure why it is in the deck. Since you are only using the Machete as a weapon, you will not want to engage more than 1 enemy at the same time. So you just use Taunt to save you the 1 action it costs to engage the enemy from your co-op partner? It's not even 1 full action you save, since it actually costs you 1 resource to play. In the same spirit, I also think 2 weapons and Prepared for the Worst are not enough, since as a Guardian, you absolutely need a weapon on you at all times. As others have mentioned, the new .32 Colt is so perfect for Mark, so I removed 2x Taunt and added 2x .32 Colt.

  • Painkillers The deck has enough ways to handle Health loss, but almost no ways to handle the very critical Sanity loss, so I definitely recommend switching out the Painkillers for the Smoking Pipe, which you can then upgrade to an Elder Sign Amulet. So I removed 1x Painkillers and added 1x Smoking Pipe.

After I did those small changes, the deck handled better, as I no longer had any dead cards to deal with in my hand. What are your thoughts mate? I'd love to hear them!

Sep 22, 2017 Django · 4747

Great write up, i'll try my own version of this deck in a few days.

For multiplayer i'd recommend Teamwork, because of it's flesibilty. It has saved our asses a ton of times, by redistributing ressources and ofher stuff (give ressources to rogue, get their Switchblade 2 instead).

"I've had worse…" is somewhat situational, but in most szenarios gives you 4 ressources (enemy with 2 damage/horror attack). Combine with Teamwork if you don't need them. Am i right, this can only counter 1 damage/horror source? For example if an enemy attacks me for 2 damage/horror and i have Hypochondria, could i counter all 5 or must i choose which one i counter (1 horror or 2 damage and horror)?

What about the The Red-Gloved Man? He's expensive XP wise, but beside his stats, he's also a great damage/horror soak. Combo with Painkillers and Smoking Pipe, you can use each twice on him. After upkeep phase, there's a player windows before the end of mythos phase, right before vanishes into thin air. Thanks to him, i survived spoiler.

Did you ever use Monster Slayer and my share some opinion on it?

Same for Dynamite Blast?

Sep 22, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@DadouXIII - I totally agree with your assesment of "If it bleeds..." and have switched to running Smoking Pipe over it. Dodge is a great thought as well.

I really value fast actions. To me, actions are the most critical and scarce resource in all of Arkham. In a coop game, I've paired it with Shortcut or Elusive, zipped across the map, and engaged an enemy so my allies have unrestricted turns. I will agree though, if you're playing with Rogue's, Survivors, or a class that likes to evade, or playing solo, Taunt is not going to find much use.

Elder Sign Amulet is great in this deck for obvious reasons. Brother Xavier is another card that fulfills a similar role to consider when upgrading.

@Django I love Teamwork! It's a little gimmicky so I didn't want to include it in the deck list, but I have a soft spot in my heart for that card.

"I've had worse…" upgrades from Dodge or "If it bleeds...". Great card (but a little pricey!). You're correct that it can only block damage from a single source. Otherwise I'd even be tempted to pair t with Painkillers and negate three horror at once! It would be cool if there was a card that made an investigator immune to damage for an entire phase. Maybe one day!

The Red-Gloved Man is a beast and you're bang on wanting to pair him with the actions from Painkillers and Smoking Pipe.

Monster Slayer is interesting with the drawback of being situational and expensive! I haven't used it in a deck, so if anyone has, I'd love to hear your opinions on the card! At first blush, it seems better suited as a get out of jail free card for investigators that dislike fighting, which isn't a problem Mark Harrigan has. But I may be undervaluing it and the amount of high health non-elite enemies that Fantasy Flight is willing to print. Dynamite Blast is decent, but you'll find 5 resources is difficult to come by in this deck. Generally you're killing monsters the same turn that they appear, so you're rarely able to get them to group up.

Sep 25, 2017 CaiusDrewart · 2971

Running only 2 weapons means that you'll be weaponless about 50% of the time even if you mulligan for Machete. It also means Prepared for the Worst will whiff entirely quite often. Yeah, Vicious Blow or Guard Dog might tide you over, but you are still a vastly less efficient combatant without +1 damage. And what if you need to face a high-health monster early on? There's no substitute for a weapon then.

I think you really need to get at least four weapons in here. The .32 Colt seems like a natural fit.

Sep 25, 2017 Gilmore Girls · 1

@CaiusDrewartI'll start by referring back to the guide in case you missed this paragraph where @SamVC actually did the math for you:

"Two weapons!? No guns!?! Are you mad!?

"Look, guns in Arkham suck... we have access to the best weapon in the game in Machete. Combined with Prepared for the Worst and a hard mulligan, we are 68% likely to see one of them in our opening hand."

That is an incredibly substantial difference of 18% between 50% and 68%. It's also worth noting that his calculations don't account for the two weakness cards that don't count towards your opening hand size. That actually brings your percentage up to a whopping 70%.

The next part worth noting is:

"Even if we miss it early, Mark’s excellent card draw means it will turn up eventually."

If you're not drawing Machete that means that you're drawing Guard Dog, Beat Cop, or True Grit/Brother Xavier. Mark's passive ability combined with these soak cards, literally allows him to cycle through his deck with almost no draw back. It's worth mentioning that his weakness is one of the most negligible in the game when drawn early (in all of our playthroughs Shell Shock has done between a whopping 0-1 horror on average) so it actually plays to your advantage to draw your weakness early. Finally these cards in combination with Vicious Blow allows Mark to easily dispatch of 3+ health minions without any problems.

The truth of the matter is that the four weapon rule is an antiquated aspect of deck building that will become even more archaic as power creep makes deck slots a more valuable commodity with each passing set adding better search options and superior offensive options. If you are that desperate for another weapon, then you can remove Prepared for the Worst for the .32 Colt and you can enjoy the same 70% chance of drawing a key card in the first turn of the game.

Sep 25, 2017 TheUnthinkable · 362

Unupgraded beat cop has no native interaction with Mark's ability.

Sep 25, 2017 CaiusDrewart · 2971

@Gilmore Girls: I did read that part, but I don't agree with it.

First, drawing Prepared for the Worst in the opening hand does NOT count as drawing a weapon. Prepared for the Worst played on Turn 1 has around a 55% chance of finding one of your two Machetes. It has about a 45%, then, of totally missing (and leaving you down a card, resource, and action in the bargain.) Prepared for the Worst is not very good if you only have two weapons in your deck. You need to have more than that so the card doesn't have a huge chance of just missing.

As to getting by without a weapon--it's just not advisable. None of the cards you listed will remotely suffice if someone draws a 4-health enemy on turn 1. As a Guardian in multiplayer, your job is to be ready for that situation.

The four weapon role is there for a good reason. Mark is much, much worse without a weapon in play, and there's no reason he should have to start out over a third of games that way when there's absolutely no need for him to do that. Plus, the advent of the .32 Colt has made going four weapons much more appealing, since the Colt is a) better than the .45 Automatic and b) has a useful icon when you already have your Machete in play.

Sep 25, 2017 SamVC · 4235

Hi @TheUnthinkable! Thanks for the question.

Beat Cop (2) Reads:

Exhaust Beat Cop and deal 1 damage to it: Deal 1 damage to an enemy at your location.

Mark Harrigan has the abilty:

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

Cards in your play area counts as cards you control!

The synergy that these two cards have is that you can choose which Player Window you want to exhaust Beat Cop. You can get multiple card draws per round, if you use this right!

It's important to note that Mark's ability can be used any time the condition is met (once per PHASE). So whenever Beat Cop does damage to himself, you place a damage marker on him, use Mark's reaction ability, and draw a card!

Spacing out this damage is key to play not only this deck, but Mark Harrigan in general! A great round in the midge might look like this:

  • Mythos Phase: Use Sophie to help conquer the Encounter Card, usually (Sophie does one damage to Mark, draw one card)

  • Investigator Phase: Attack a four health enemy with Machete. Ping Beat Cop for +1 damage. (Beat Cop takes one damage to himself, draw one card)

  • Enemy Phase: Enemy Attacks, assign damage to Guard Dog. Guard dogs for +1 Damage, killing the enemy. (Guard Dog tanks one damage, draw one card)

  • Upkeep phase: Use Smoking Pipe to heal 1 horror from Mark and assign a damage to True Grit. (Smoking Pipe does one damage to True Grit, draw one card)

You can draw up to four cards per round with Mark's Ability! Yes that's a best case scenario, but those are the windows you should look at and understand when you play The Soldier!

For more information, I'd recommend looking at the Rules, it has a wonderful illustration of when exactly you can use Player Windows! Also, everyone should play a scenario or two with Agnes Baker, because she uses the mechanic the most out of any investigator and really helps a player look for those windows!

Sep 25, 2017 TheUnthinkable · 362

I'm aware. I meant that unupgraded, beat cop has no such interaction. In the guide, it'd be helpful if you called out that the beat cop in question has to be upgraded.

Sep 25, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@TheUnthinkable I'm sorry! My brain just read "upgraded," for some reason.

Level one Beat Cop could be replaced, sure! He's not too strong on his own. It's really just a placeholder to the natural upgrade.

Do note though that Beat Cop is an excellent target for Painkillers and Smoking Pipe or simply to tank incoming damage! And then afterwards you get to proc Mark's card draw, a double win! It allows you to heal or prevent damage from landing on Mark, clearing room for more uses of Sophie.

Sep 26, 2017 Gilmore Girls · 1


Spoilers below

4+ health minions are few and far between with only 7 total possible spawns who can spawn from the encounter deck throughout the base set and Carcosa and two of those actually inflict inflict a point of damage to themselves upon engaging with you so they are actually moot.

It's also worth noting that plenty of investigators can complete solo missions without a reliable way to ping for 2 damage every turn.

Agnes Baker is a perfect example of an investigator who can still solo a scenario without ever drawing Shrivelling, can spread damage via pings similar to this iteration of Mark, and only has access to one significantly worse spell search card in the form of Arcane Initiate.

Even the top Daisy Walker guide on ArkhamDB only uses Shrivelling as a weapon and resorts to Mind over Matter and Blinding Light, one time events that only deal a single damage, as a ways to deal with enemies from the encounter deck. While Old Book of Lore does play a factor in her consistency, it doesn't look as deep as Prepared for the Worst and Scrying is to be reserved for avoiding encounters in the first place.

To top that all off, no other investigator sports the same innate card draw that Mark Harrigan has built in through his passive.

My group tends to build well rounded decks so there's no problem with other investigators picking up the slack if someone doesn't draw their optimal hand. There is no worse feeling than to build a purely combat focused deck then play a scenario with no tests. 5 is perfectly adequate for dealing with most creatures so drawing Machete late is not a death sentence.

To quote some of best advice that I have ever received, "What got you here won't get you there". Arkham Horror is called a living card game for a reason. Being Adaptable to new deck building strategies as more cards are released is at the heart of the game.

Sep 26, 2017 TheUnthinkable · 362

I'd much rather drop a taunt for a Colt, honestly. In particular, taunt has profound antipathy with the Machete. That brings you to 3 weapons and a prep-worst which is a very good break even in terms of probability.

Sep 26, 2017 CaiusDrewart · 2971

@Gilmore Girls

I don't see how the fact that other investigators may or may not be able to get by without weapons has much relevance. Daisy Walker decks sport few damage-dealing options because Daisy has access to few damage-dealing options, not because she doesn't need them. Agnes can sometimes get by without Shrivelling, yes, but she'd much rather draw it, and lots of Agnes players mulligan for Shrivelling most of the time. I certainly do.

Anyway, my point is simply that Mark is much better when he can deal 2 damage per fight action instead of 1. Having the efficiency of fight actions--one of the most common actions Mark will take--be literally doubled is really, really good. Not only can you dispose of creatures faster--and thus have more time for advancing the act--you don't have to spread your boosts out over so many tests, which lets you manage your resources much more effectively.

Rather than building a deck where a great deal of the time Mark will only be able to deal 1 damage per fight action, I would give over a handful of deck slots to weapons. With 2 Machetes and 2 .32 Colt Mark's chances of getting 2 damage per fight action are vastly increased, and there's still tons of deck space for whatever else you want to do with him.

I'm not claiming that it's an auto-loss or anything if Mark doesn't find his weapon right away. Sure, maybe his teammates can pick up the slack. But things are a lot smoother and easier for everyone if he gets a weapon out quickly. I'm happy to give up a couple deck slots to get a much better chance of that happening.

Sep 26, 2017 CaiusDrewart · 2971


Taunt can work fine with Machete. If an enemy is engaged to a teammate, you can play Taunt to engage it yourself. Not only do you turn off the risk of hitting the teammate, but now you get Machete's bonus damage, which can make a huge difference. If you're engaging multiple monsters, then Taunt and Machete clash, but it's more common to play Taunt to engage just one critter anyway.

With that said, I think Taunt is only so-so for Mark. I don't think it would have a place in my Mark deck (certainly not in lieu of a third and fourth weapon...)

Sep 26, 2017 TheUnthinkable · 362

@CaiusDrewart while fair, that's probably not enough to make me run the card in most circumstances.

Sep 26, 2017 CaiusDrewart · 2971


Yeah. I also think this deck is a little too expensive (only 2 skill cards hurts here), so, setting the weapon issue, replacing Taunt with something like Overpower would probably be a good idea. On high difficulties Mark 100% wants Overpower. Even his 5 Combat + a weapon bonus + Sophie (if he can safely use her) is not going to be enough on Expert.

Sep 26, 2017 TheUnthinkable · 362

@CaiusDrewart: I think I'd want a meaningfully different deck on Expert, but honestly I don't think we have enough good tactics to make Mark's deckbuilding limitations anything other than brutal on Expert.

Sep 26, 2017 SamVC · 4235

@CaiusDrewart Thanks for the comment!

Mark Harrigan has a very limited card pool and most standard decks will end up looking really similar to one other.

Part of my motivation to write this guide was to show some new deck building options and break with convention, as well as empower folks to learn a bit about Mark and Sophie's Interaction so that they can tailor a Mark Harrigan deck to their own play style. The first convention I wanted to address is the idea of including lots of skill cards, generally between 6 and 12 skill cards. This deck runs 2! And then of course is the conventional idea of 4 weapons per deck.

Obviously i recognize that having more or less than four weapons is a minority position, I just wanted to open the door and start the conversation. At the end of the day, play what you enjoy and what you feel is strong!

@TheUnthinkableI love that you're thinking about the harder difficulties, that's always the first thought I have when I see a new investigator.

The first time I looked at Mark Harrigan and Sophie I remember thinking, "This investigator would struggle on harder difficulties."

Expert and Hard mode reward investigators that can avoid the Chaos Bag. Agnes Baker shines with her Ability to ping for damage without consulting with the Chaos Tokens first, which makes her very strong at higher difficulties. Zoey's Cross is another great example of this type of interaction.

Sophie's +2 bonus will not be enough to overcome the Chaos bag at higher difficulties without another investigator buffing them up. While I wouldn't rule an Expert run out for any investigator, I do agree that a deck list for a Mark Harrigan Expert run would look drastically different than this one.

If anyone is looking for a variation of this deck that plays better in solo play and utilizes four weapons, check out Sophie and Mark's Big Adventure by Doppelboc. Thanks for taking the suggestions from this comment thread and making a modified decklist!

Oct 11, 2017 Bualls · 34

Thank you for the deck, I think its a well oiled machine. I run it as -1 Painkillers -2 "If it bleeds..." ; +1 Evidence! +2 Smoking Pipe. Smoking pipe is an amazing way to manage marks awful sanity and gives us the ability to use more phases to draw cards. The action compression of fast cards are insane in this deck. Ive been able to evade 2 creatures, move to a space with an a fellow investigator engaged (like 4 spaces away), engage the enemy on the ally then swing 3 times. I end up replacing Evidence! with Brother Xavier. This deck is nuts and fairly hard to play, you did an amazing job with the build and an amazing guide to go with it.

Nov 17, 2017 bern1106 · 2

Awesome deck. During The Clover Club hoohaa, stationed Mark Harrigan at the Clover Club Cardroom with Beat Cop while Minh Thi Phan raided the three rooms off Darkened Hall. Took out three criminels, Clover Club Pit Boss and a Servant of the Lurker. Helps if the hand is full though. Sophie's worth is inestimable in stand-off situations.

Dec 29, 2018 JDS89 · 1

Love this build. But I’m wondering if anyone likes to use “Calling in Favors”? Seems to me like it could help with with both the healing of damage on your allies while also helping you manage the cost of higher cost some allies. I’m going to try replacing first aid with it.

Jan 20, 2019 szarywilq · 1

Hi, really great deck. What about Armor of Ardennes as a main source of damage soak? First of all basic build does not include item for body, so why not fill that slot with card that can take A LOTS of damage?

Nov 04, 2019 Roscoe1891 · 156

Heya, thanks for this guide. Mark is a beast now!!

Feb 08, 2023 yourwhiteshadow · 1

I realize it's a couple years too late, but I'm returning to the game and wanted to try out Mark and found your deck. Got 7xp on Curtain call quite comfortably with Sefina and Joe Diamond.