Gordian Quest has been in Early Access for the past two years, but has just been released in full this week. It’s a card game RPG with detailed lore, character interactions, and complex mechanics through its wide range of characters, skills, and playstyles interwoven with deck-building mechanics. If you’re a fan of games like Slay the Spire or Frost, Gordian Quest takes the base of these deck-building RPGs and provides hundreds of options through its customization, equipment, and skill trees interwoven within its party mechanics and tactical turn-based combat. Check out our tips for beginners, including character and party suggestions, how to navigate the skill trees, build the optimal deck, and more below.
Character and Party
Gordian’s Quest has 10 playable characters to choose from at launch, all with their own cards, skills, strategies, and mechanics. You will be able to recruit more throughout your playthrough of the campaign, but you will start with one chosen from any of these 10 totaling a party of three on combat encounters.
Do you want to play Naran, the Bard to provide masterful music to buff allies, Lucius, the Swordhand to maul enemies with maces, or Ida, the Druid to summon allies such as Spirit Wolves to fight by your side?
If you are playing for the first time, we recommend starting Act 1 with Catherin, the Cleric. Catherin is able to maul enemies with maces or flails, cast Divine skills to inflict Burn, and even heal allies or herself. Her main stats make her an unstoppable frontline with high health, healing abilities, and brute force to finish off enemies to easily score bonus last-hit experience.
Catherin uses channeling as another buff, which means if certain cards channel, the future card cost will be decreased, allowing Catherin to unleash more attacks per round. The Cleric is easy to play and formidable as your main party member. Inflicting Burn, Shock, and Vulnerable on enemies can net you devastating blows each round.
As your second party member, Naran the Bard works in tandem with Catherin. Naran is able to provide buffs such as increasing damage, providing guards, and aiding by casting area of effect spells.
Naran’s main card usage is with Verse of Vigor which the starting deck will include a few copies of. You will be using Verse of Vigor or Chorus of Vigor throughout Naran’s turns to increase the damage of Catherin’s next attack to launch powerful barrages on enemies. Naran does provide spells that do often bounce off enemies or hit multiple times, but it is ideal to have Naran provide support through buffs rather than inflicting damage if able.
Finally, your third party member should be Bertram, the Ranger. Bertram is able to create turrets of different kinds on the battlefield that will be used to sponge harm, strike enemies with ease, and can be tinkered with to escalate havoc.
When Bertram has turrets occupying the battlefield, you can use the Ranger’s self-casting cards to add poison or increase effectiveness on Far Shot. When choosing Bertram’s skill tree upon leveling, it is best to focus on adding cards from Sentry to add different cards to improve the already incredible turrets with Man Turret allowing increased damage, if Bertram is directly behind a turret or even using other cards to boost critical, as well.
Catherin, Naran, and Bertram work astoundingly with each other. Having Catherin at the frontlines alongside Bertram’s turrets will have enemies distracted while Naran provides exhilarating songs and Bertram fires off shots to inflict Poison or Vulnerable. These three are a fantastic party, especially when you’re still starting out and learning the game’s deck-building choices through Act 1.
Each level up for any character allots usage in the Skill Tree. The Skill Tree in Gordian Quest is vast. When unlocking more nodes, you will be able to add extra Skill Trees with their own intrinsic paths permanently.
When starting out in the Skill Tree, it’s good to choose the health upgrades to start. You will want to prioritize skills, increase skill/card ranks, and figure out the sort of playstyle you want to pin down for each character. Bertram, for example, has three deck cards/variations, Sentry, Sharpshooter, and Trapper. By adding Skill Trees of your own choosing, you can create a Bertram that is different from another player, providing an immense amount of possibilities/combinations on each run of the game. Or, you can choose to use a similar style each run, but upgrade or add different cards from your pulls.
Manage the grid how you would like, but it would be best to have a destination in mind; where you place each new grid will be permanent for the run. You want grids to be lined up efficiently without much deterrence.
Attempting a rhombus grid will allow you to path accordingly, grab a variety of nodes from stat increases, upgrade skills, and improve card ranks with little error. A great starting grid to attempt since again, the positioning of grids is permanent.
Later on, you might need to choose nodes to increase stats due to certain equipment disbarring you from equipping, especially legendary items you find. It’s beneficial to keep an open rhombus skill grid, so you can choose to allocate points in stat nodes, allowing for better equipment.
- Characters like Ida and Bertram are able to summon allies onto the battlefield, allowing you to create an impenetrable defense. Some skills/equipment even allow you to add cards to a character’s deck to summon help.
- When traveling, go into Events often for great rewards. Clearing Events can earn you better loot, and experience on specific party members that may not be scoring the extra last hit experience. When in Events requiring dice roll checks, add a card to improve the number. You will get an Exhaust card for using a card of your own in dice rolls, though.
- Change the difficulty options as you like! You can change the difficulty throughout any run, and have the game be played in a more rogue-lite or rogue-like fashion of your choosing.
- Positioning should always be taken into account. Use the Shift card to keep your squishier members in the back, with summons on the frontlines. For battle positioning, the middle row option is perfect so you can move units either to the back or front with ease.
- Do not hesitate to go back to town to heal, stock up on new equipment, and exhaust cards. Every few days, different items can be purchased from Jun the Blacksmith. Strongholds are the only places where you cannot escape to heal; if a dungeon is getting too tough with the party low on health, just head back to town. Come back refreshed.
- Sister Ophelia can resurrect dead party members for 100 Gold, but not on rogue-like mode. Party members that fall in battle will not receive experience.
- Use Dana the Innkeeper to rest, and exhaust dead cards. Exhaustion will prohibit your choices each turn, so go rest at the inn every few encounters. Even a few Exhaust cards for each of your characters can lead to your defeat when overwhelmed with waves of enemies.
- Complete character quests to unlock more characters. There are specific character quests that will occur throughout, and upon completion, you can then hire characters at the Guild Hall.
- Shrines will change encounter nodes for the worst but will earn you much better rewards such as increased experience, additional gold, and even legendary equipment.
- The same color of card effectiveness hinges on a character’s stats. Strength is Red cards. Dexterity is Green cards. Intelligence is Blue cards. When choosing to increase specific stats from nodes, make sure the majority or most important cards in each character deck are relevant. You do not want to increase a character’s Strength when they only have a few Red Cards in the deck to use, for example.
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