Gordian Quest has been in Early Access for the past two years, but just released in full this week. It is a card role-playing game with a detailed story, character interactions, and complex mechanics through its wide range of characters, abilities, and playstyles interwoven with deck-building mechanics. If you’re a fan of games like Slay the Spire or Frost, Gordian Quest takes the foundation of these deck-building RPGs and provides hundreds of options through its customization, gear, and skill trees woven within its party mechanics and turn-based tactics combat. Check out our tips for beginners, including character and party suggestions, how to navigate 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, abilities, strategies, and mechanics. You’ll be able to recruit more throughout the campaign, but you’ll start with one chosen from any of these 10 for a total of three in combat encounters.
Do you want to play Naran the Bard to provide masterful music to buff allies, Lucius the Swordhand to attack enemies with maces, or Ida the Druid to summon allies like 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 can attack enemies with maces or flails, cast divine abilities to inflict burns, and even heal her allies or herself. Her core stats make her an unstoppable frontline with plenty of health, healing abilities, and brute force to take down enemies and easily get a last hit bonus experience.
Catherin uses channeling as another buff, meaning that if certain cards are channeled, the card’s future cost will be reduced, allowing Catherin to unleash more attacks per round. The Cleric is easy to play and formidable as the main member of your party. Inflicting Burn, Shock, and Vulnerability on enemies can land you devastating blows every round.
As the second member of your party, Naran the Bard works in tandem with Catherin. Naran can provide buffs such as increased damage, providing guards, and helping by casting area of effect spells.
The main use of the Naran card is Verse of Vigor, of which the starter deck will include a few copies. You’ll use Verse of Vigor or Chorus of Vigor throughout Naran’s turns to increase the damage of Catherin’s next attack and unleash powerful barrages on enemies. Naran provides spells that often bounce off enemies or hit multiple times, but Naran is ideally suited to provide support through buffs rather than dealing damage if possible.
Finally, your third member must be Bertram, the Ranger. Bertram can create turrets of different types on the battlefield that will be used to soak up damage, hit enemies with ease, and can be manipulated to increase chaos.
When Bertram has turrets occupying the battlefield, you can use the Ranger’s autocast cards to add poison or increase the effectiveness of Far Shot. When choosing Bertram’s skill tree when leveling up, it’s best to focus on adding Sentry cards to add different cards to enhance the already awesome turrets with Man Turret allowing for increased damage, if Bertram is directly behind a turret or even use other cards to increase critical, too.
Catherin, Naran and Bertram work wonderfully with each other. Having Catherin on the front line next to Bertram’s turrets will distract enemies while Naran offers uplifting songs and Bertram shoots to inflict Poison or Vulnerable. These three make for a fantastic party, especially when you’re still starting out and learning the game’s deckbuilding options through Act 1.
Each higher level for any character assigns use in the skill tree. The skill tree in Gordian Quest is huge. By unlocking more nodes, you will be able to add additional skill trees with their own intrinsic paths permanently.
Starting in the skill tree, it’s good to pick the health upgrades to start with. You’ll need to prioritize skills, increase skill/card ranks, and figure out what kind of playstyle you want to pin down for each character. Bertram, for example, has three cards/deck variations, Sentry, Sharpshooter, and Trapper. By adding skill trees of your own choosing, you can create a Bertram that is different from another player, giving you an immense number of possibilities/combinations every run of the game. Or, you can choose to use a similar style every run, but update or add different cards from your draws.
Manage the grid as 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 race. You want the grids to line up efficiently without much deterrence.
Attempting a diamond grid will allow you to plot the corresponding path, take a variety of nodes from stat boosts, upgrade abilities, and improve card ranks with little error. An excellent starting grid to try as, again, the positioning of the grids is permanent.
Later on, you may need to pick nodes to increase stats due to certain equipment preventing 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 at stat nodes, allowing for better gear.
- Characters like Ida and Bertram can 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 call for help.
- When you travel, go to the events often to get great rewards. Clearing events can earn you better loot and experience on specific party members who may not be getting the extra experience from the last hit. When in events that require dice rolls, add a card to improve the number. However, you will get an Exhaustion card for using a card of your own on dice rolls.
- Change the difficulty options as you like! You can change the difficulty throughout any run and have the game play in a more roguish or roguish way that you choose.
- Positioning should always be considered. Use the Shift card to keep your softer members in the back, with summons up front. For battle positioning, the center row option is perfect so you can easily move units backwards or forwards.
- Feel free to head back to town to heal up, stock up on new gear, and deplete cards. Every few days, different items can be purchased from Jun the Blacksmith. Strongholds are the only places you can’t escape to for healing; if a dungeon is getting too difficult with low party health, just head back to town. Come back refreshed.
- Sister Ophelia can resurrect dead party members for 100 gold, but not in rogue mode. Party members who fall in battle will not receive experience.
- Use Dana the Innkeeper to rest and deplete dead cards. Exhaustion will prohibit your choices each turn, so rest at the inn every few encounters. Even a few Exhaustion cards for each of your characters can lead to defeat when you are overwhelmed with waves of enemies.
- Complete character quests to unlock more characters. There are specific character quests that will occur throughout, and once completed, you can hire characters at the Guild Hall.
- Shrines will change encounter nodes for the worse, but they will give you much better rewards like increased experience, additional gold, and even legendary gear.
- The very color of the cards effectiveness depends on a character’s stats. Strength is red cards. Dexterity is green cards. Intelligence is blue cards. When choosing to increase node-specific stats, make sure the most or the most important cards in each character deck are relevant. You don’t 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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