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Best Scout Cards For The Early Game

Across the Obelisk is a roguelike deckbuilding game with a lot in it. There are 16 different playable Characters to unlock, hundreds of cards to find, Pets to discover for future runs, equipment to buy, and lots more. And, with the Characters in particular, they’ve separated them all across four different Classes: Warrior, Scout, Mage, and Healer, with each one specializing in something different.


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Scouts, for example, fill the Thief, Rogue, or Archer classification that primarily specialize in Slashing or Piercing damage, Bleed or Poison status effects, and use Skills to start Songs or hide in Stealth. So, among all the cards players can use in Across the Obelisk to build up their Scout’s Deck, which are the best for the early game?

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7 Defense Skill: Deflect

  • Recommended Upgrade: Blue Variant

First off, let’s start with a Defensive pick, as it’s not a category of cards that Scouts tend to use all too often. They’re always using either Attack-type cards of the Ranged or Melle variety, or alternatively, they’ll use Skill-type cards to set up for their attacks. But, Deflect, especially early on, is an extremely useful tool for a Scout. For one, they give the Scout a bit of much-needed Block. Two, it’s a 0-cost card, meaning they’re always usable.

And three, Deflect, at a base level, allows the Scout to also draw another card to replace Deflect, so they don’t really “bloat” a hand either. That said, neither of the two upgrades for this card adds to the Scout’s toolkit all too much, as they’re quickly replaced by stronger cards of a higher Rarity in Act 2 and beyond. Frankly, this deck/inventory management system that AtO utilizes absolutely stretches a certain organizational “itch” that other games like Backpack Hero also capitalize on. And, part of this system requires players to routinely free up their Deck by removing cards that haven’t scaled well and replacing them.

6 Skill: Setup

  • Recommended Upgrade: Either Variant

This next card is a must-have pick for anyone going for a specific Scout build centered around using one or two cards in combination. Setup is a Skill-type card that allows a Scout to draw the next 3 cards from their draw pile and then put 2 cards from their hand on the top of their deck. While this might seem like the player is paying 1 Energy to draw 1 “kept” card, it’s actually more like the player is drawing 3 to use and sending two cards to the top of the deck for the next turn. And, when upgraded, players can also choose between either only having to put 1 card back or having the same base effect but for 0-Cost and with Vanish.

Either upgrade works well, it all depends on what specific card the player is hoping to draw. For example, if they only plan to need this card draw once per combat, then the Blue Variant is best, but, if they want more options in general throughout a combat encounter, then the Gold Variant is likely better. This min-maxing thought process that players need to work through for every addition to their deck is, quite frankly, one of the primary reasons the game deserves so much more attention.

5 Song Spell: Song Of Celerity

  • Recommended Upgrade: Blue Variant

In Across the Obelisk, speed is everything, and that’s something that beginners learn very quickly. The faster a player beats their enemies, the better their rewards, the fewer chances they have to take damage, and the quicker they can get through a run. And, Song of Celerity makes every combat faster simply by giving the whole party +2 Speed. And, because the Scout is usually the fastest character in the party, they’ll be able to use this card to let the rest of the party go before any of the monsters get a chance to fight back. Additionally, when upgraded to its Blue Variant version, Song of Celerity is Innate, meaning it’s always in the Scout’s first hand.

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So, for a measly 1 Energy, players will almost always get the first turn. Sadly, the Gold Variant of this card, while it might seem useful since it doesn’t have Vanish, also doesn’t have Innate, which gives it a lot less utility overall as most players only need the Speed buffs within the first turn or so.

4 Melee Attack: Fan of Knives

  • Recommended Upgrade: Either Variant

Now, every one of the four playable Scouts in Across the Obelisk has its own playstyles and builds. Andrin is relatively basic, Thuls has more Stealth and Poison synergy, Sylvie has more Ranged synergy, and Gustav is all about Songs. But, for the most part, each Scout primarily deals both Slashing and Piercing damage. And, a lot of their cards and abilities can give them Sharp, a buff that increases Piercing and Slashing damage by +1 per Stack.

This is exactly why Fan of Knives is such a useful card, as it deals both Slashing and Piercing damage, meaning it benefits twice as much from the Sharp Stacks as any other card. And, on top of that, it also hits All Monsters. That said, it’s another card where the “best” Upgrade Variant is up to the player. The Blue Variant is just a better version of the default Card with a bit of Poison, while the Gold Variant is based around a Scout Build that heavily invested in Sharp Stacks.

3 Skill: Camouflage

  • Recommended Upgrade: Blue Variant

Speaking of Sharp Stacks, Camouflage is another card that’s great for building up Sharp, especially so if it’s during a Boss fight that tends to last a couple of turns. By default, Camouflage gives 2 Sharp, 2 Stealth, and has Vanish, which is great but not amazing. The Stealth that the next attack played that turn will deal +40% more damage (20% per Stealth Stack), which is nice when combined with the +2 damage any Piercing or Slashing attack will do thanks to the +2 Sharp Stacks.

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But, the upgrades for this Skill are what take it from something useful to a must-have. The Blue Variant, in particular, removes the Vanish aspect from Camouflage and gives it Innate, meaning that players can start every single combat with it. And, if they draw a high damage Attack like Fan of Knives in the first turn, they can use Camouflage and then Fan of Knives to deal an absurd amount of damage to every monster at once.

2 Skill: Adrenaline

  • Recommended Upgrade: Either Variant

Much like how Enrage is in a tier of its own in terms of Warrior Cards, Adrenaline is much the same but for Scouts. By default, this is a Rare Card that jumps up to Epic Rarity when Upgraded. But, because it doesn’t start as “Epic,” players can purchase it from the Magic Forge earlier than they would need to wait to buy Enrage. But, unlike Enrage, Adrenaline should be bought and then immediately Upgraded to get rid of the Fatigue Curse the default form gives.

Either Variant works, as a card that gives more Energy for 0-Cost will always be worthwhile, no matter the Upgrade path.

1 Skill: Uproot

  • Recommended Upgrade: Either Variant

Uproot is likely an unexpected pick for this list by those who have played a lot of Across the Obelisk or other similar roguelikes, as it’s sort of an underutilized card in comparison to others such as Camouflage or Adrenaline. But, remember, this is for the early game specifically, and this Card has two specific aspects of it that make it worthy. One, it Purges Thorns from enemies, something that the Boss of Senenthia’s Act 1, the Old Tree Ylmer, uses quite a lot.

It applies Vulnerable, the Debuff that reduces all Resistances on whoever it’s applied on by 5% per charge. Combine that with the fact that it’s a 1-Cost card and that players can choose to either remove its Vanish aspect with the Blue Variant or have it attack All Monsters with the Gold Variant, and it’s clear to see why this Card is so worthwhile for the early Acts of the game.

Across the Obelisk is currently available on PC, macOS, and Linux.

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