Mark Harrigan - Making Sophie Proud From Beyond

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Ric · 92

Introduction

Welcome to my first time building and publishing. I hope it can be of use to someone looking for a combat-heavy, yet supportive take on Mark for multiplayer. I had fun revisiting this character with some of the newer options he now has available to him. While I doubt this build will revolutionize the way Mark is played, it at least offers what I feel is a fun, comfortable take on the character.

Role & Composition Assumptions

While I have previously played Mark as a combat-heavy character (as he is designed to be by his stats), I've found the standard approach of doubling-down on combat to be a bit one-note for him. I wanted to give him some flexibility in multiplayer by allowing him to snag clues and lend support to fellow investigators. Starting off this build will be challenging, but I liken this to Mark learning that not everything was his fault, as he tells himself whenever he looks at Sophie's picture. He just needs to look at his Hallowed Mirror and remind himself that her death was out of his control, and he's better than the Shell Shocked wreck he thought he was. In fact, it turns out Mark has the potential to learn from his failure and prevent future Sophies from happening.

I advise that if you're going to build this setup, we need to assume that you are not the only combat-character in a 2-4 investigator campaign, and that you won't win Oscars for best supporting-role. If anything you will be contributing to the fighting, clue-seeking, and healing on an even spread, so make sure your party members are pushing their own boundaries, so that you can support them, as needed. I've had games where I needed to fight most of the time or defend/heal others. It's all going to depend on how the scenario treats your party and how your party members approach the scenario. I'll go over the tools Mark will use to accomplish his adaptive role.

Edit 12/2/22: @An_Undecayed_Whately chimed in with some good points that are strong alternatives to consider for swapping. First Watch can safely replace "Let me handle this!" for stronger threat-control in 3-4 player, and Safeguard is a great replacement for Shortcut if your party lacks Lone Wolfers for the sake of thematically pushing the protector's role. Great recommendations!

Early Game Highlights

While you will primarily hunt for enemies to gun down (and recycle for resources thanks to Act of Desperation), you will have two means to help your team gather clues; one will come from the classic combination of On The Hunt and Scene of the Crime, and the other will come from one combo I'm pleased to now have, which is Hit and Run and Mark's partner-in-crime, Miss Grete Wagner, who likes to bounce in and out of engagements.

You might ask the question: Why not just use Evidence! if it costs the same price as Hit and Run? My response to that is that you're getting the following cool things out of this combo:

  • You're getting a +1 bonus to your fights to help secure kills.
  • You're going to have a safe means of triggering Mark's when she finds you a clue.
  • You will need the retaliation-sponge if you during one of your shots.
  • You can not only save resources for getting your other assets out first, but you'll get more uses out of Grete in the long run by putting her away and yanking her out later.

EDIT 11/27/22: I'd like to draw attention to what I feel is a much better alternative to On the Hunt and I recommend replacing them. A fun combo I'm seeing goes hand-in-hand with Grete, which is Kicking the Hornet's Nest. I really like this, because I've had games where Mark would start his turn in an area with clues, but then an enemy didn't spawn on him during Mythos. Assuming that the rest of your party isn't in need of help at that particular moment, you've now got a means to acquire some free resources and clues. What's that, you ask? Clues? There's only one clue-gain from Kicking the Hornet's Nest. Well, when we incorporate the Hit and Run + Grete Wagner combo, you're now adding in that extra clue that she'll get you after you wipe out the enemy. These are especially awesome for Innsmouth enemies who damage on-spawn (for Grete to soak while she's there for the round), as well as aloof bastards, since they spawn engaged with you (Damn Whippoorwills!).

Support comes in the form of your trusty Hallowed Mirror, Emergency Aids, "Let me handle this!", and Stand Together, which will make for a fun pay-off when you eventually pick up Ever Vigilant to help your team get a good start. I'm getting ahead of myself.

NOTE on In the Thick of It: It's going to be completely up to you if you want to take this, but I feel that having the upgraded Hallowed Mirror immediately is just too valuable for him to not have, given the repeat-usages and/or emergency big-heals when things go badly; it also has great synergy with Grete Wagner whenever you've decided to pay her full wages to stick around beyond one round; she doesn't always like owing Mark favors, you know.

Mulligan Needs

Be prepared to mull everything to get your mirror & at least one weapon. I didn't take Prepared for the Worst because I believe Mark's draws helps speed up the time it takes for him to acquire a weapon. Speaking of...

Core Upgrades (23 xp)

The build order is going to be subjective at the end of the day, but this is my preferred route you should take for this setup to truly shine:

  • Stick to the Plan (6xp) - Use this to slot Act of Desperation, Hit and Run, and a Dodge (which will eventually be your Ever Vigilant.
  • Ever Vigilant (1xp) - It's a classic combo with Stick to the Plan and hard to pass up on for getting your early-goods equipped.
  • M1918 BAR x 2 (8xp) - While I initially considered the Flamethrower, the next upgrades made me decide against this decision in favor of the classic BAR.
  • Bandolier x2 + Survival Knife x 2 (8xp). - I put these together, because I really enjoy the multi-tasking opportunities they create when equipped with your two-hander weapon of choice. I suggest getting one pair at a time as you acquire XP.
    • Replace your .32 Colts with the first pair, and the other pair for your Dodges. With Mark's being as high as it is, especially with Wagner following him, he'll likely kill his assailants; extra-kill if he happens to have both knives sheathed.

Late Game Recommendations

This is where we now talk about how Mark refines himself into a better survivor after his precious Sophie became worm-food. These don't have an order, but I feel like these can all be safely recommended. You're very unlikely to get all of these in a single campaign, so choose as needed.

  • Ever Vigilant (3xp for the upgrade) - I truly fell in love, seeing this version come up, this year. Finally, a way for me to stop feeling guilty when I only have 1-2 assets to equip in my opening hand. Bonus points if you've got a spare Stand Together to use before-hand if your friends are packing some expensive stuff and need the boost. Your party will love you for this one. Take it.
  • Well-Maintained x 2 (2xp) - Extremely strong combo-incentive with your Act of Desperations, so that your discarded M1918 BARs go from refunded to reloaded.
    • Replace both Scene of the Crimes. While I really like these in the early-game, by the late-game, your clue-hunters will have acquired their core sets, so keeping these will feel like you are denying yourself an action while simultaneously insulting their superior deduction-skills. It's okay, though: You're now a killing machine.
  • Safeguard x 2 (4xp) - This definitely goes hand-in-hand with the earlier edited recommendation to swap out Shortcut to pick up the upgraded version. Even if you still want to run Shortcut, the upgraded Safeguard still kills it for a good price.
  • Grete Wagner x 2 (6xp) - Mostly for her ability to land clues from connecting areas; the +1 for investigating low-shroud zones doesn't hurt, either, really if you're willing to eyeball your photo of Sophie.
  • On The Hunt x 2 (6xp) - I love these for when you're really ready to start making extra money. Ate a on your Act of Desperation? Don't worry, you've got savings from your hunts.
  • Vicious Blow x 2 (4xp) - You can't really go wrong with these.
  • Charisma + Guard Dog x 2 (7 XP) - Who's a good boy? Is that aloof enemy causing us problems? Problem solved.
  • Brand of Cthugha x 2 (8 XP) - Mark learned that sometimes, guns aren't as good as Magic; great ammo-savor when you've spotted a 3-health enemy who badly needs some good ol' fashioned purging.
    • Replace your pair of .45 Automatics. The aforementioned statement wasn't just flavor-text.
  • Relic Hunter + Empty Vessel (7 XP) - Taking Mark's preservation to the next level. This is recommended if you find that you could do with a pinch more defensive opportunities.

Conclusion

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on whether you would change things around. I feel like Mark is a character I initially didn't care much for, four years ago, but times have changed, and so many new combos have breathed some inspiration for new ideas into this broken-hearted investigator. Sophie can rest in peace, rather than in pieces.

2 comments

Dec 02, 2022 An_Undecayed_Whately · 385

What do you think about First Watch to manage the encounter deck for the whole group in multiplayer, assigning cards to the investigator best able to manage it?

Or Safeguard, which is essentially free movement actions?

Dec 02, 2022 Ric · 92

@An_Undecayed_Whately First Watch is a solid replacement for "Let me handle this!", at the very least. I had thought about that one, and I'd say, yeah, in retrospect, it's likely a stronger pick, based on the control it gives you over keeping threats where they need to go.

Safeguard is a pinch trickier to recommend for me. It didn't help that when I tested this, someone in my group ran a Lone Wolf setup, which made it harder for me to even consider. If the party is going to want to stick together, my instincts are telling me that it could replace your pair of Shortcuts.

I'll update my Role & Composition Assumptions to reflect these insights. Thank you! I might even hot-swap these two in for fun since I decided to bring this build to another game our group's starting.