This in-depth guide shows players how to effectively utilize the Assassin in Trials of Fire by taking advantage of its strengths and mitigating its weaknesses. Trials of Fire pros are unlikely to find much here they don’t already know. This is a guide for total noobs. Let’s get to it!
How to Effectively Utilize the Assassin
Class Talent – Flurry
The first time you play an attack card each turn, draw a card.
With its card drawing power, the Assassin’s Flurry talent is particularly effective at kick-starting chain combos. Paired with certain Action, Heroic, and Power cards, Flurry allows the Assassin to draw several cards in one turn. Flurry truly is the cornerstone of every successful Assassin build. IMHO, Flurry is one of the strongest class talents in the game.
First, it’s important to note that like all class talents, Flurry only activates once per turn – although there are cards which reset a class talent and allow it to trigger again in the same turn, and cards which make a class talent twice as effective (Opening, Quick Thinking, and Elite). Secondly, Flurry only triggers when you play an attack card. So, if your deck is bloated with too many non-attack cards, it’s possible you might not even have an opportunity to trigger Flurry when you really need it.
Attack cards which include card draw are super powerful at starting a chain combo with Flurry. Unfortunately, none of the Assassin’s starting items include Attack cards with card draw. However, such cards are relatively easy to acquire. Focus on Attack cards with card draw and your Assassin will never run out of options. If you equip an item or add a card to your deck which deals magic damage, make sure it is a magic attack card, and not just a card which deals magic damage – not every card which deals magic damage is an Attack card (know the difference!)
For example, the Assassin can equip Ranged Weapons in their right hand item slot, and the Crude Sling adds Quick Shot to your deck (psst…the Alchemist, Hunter, and Witch can start with a Crude Sling). Combined with the Bone Knives starting item in your left hand, which adds Running Shot to your deck, you have the foundation of a powerful Ranged Assassin build. Consider this combo…
- Running Shot, Action: 1 WP
- Move 3, Random Ranged Attack 2.
- Quick Shot, Action: 1 WP
- Ranged Attack 1, then draw a card. Deal +2 damage if your previous card played was a Move card.
So, for just 2 WP and 2 cards you deal 5 damage, Move up to 3 spaces, and draw 2 cards (1 with Flurry and 1 with Quick Shot). Add extra damage with Stealth, Inspired, or Power cards for more fun!
As an even more efficient example, consider the Action card Stab…
- Stab, Action: 1 WP
- Melee Attack 2. Draw another Melee Attack card from your deck.
With 1 card and 1 WP you deal 2 damage, draw the top card from your deck, and draw another Melee Attack card. Perfect.
The Assassin’s starting deck offers well-rounded options for developing a variety of builds. It includes the following cards with critiques of their effectiveness.
- Advance x2, Basic: 0 WP cost
- Move 2 and gain 1 WP.
Every class starting deck includes two copies of Advance. For the Assassin, it’s not worth upgrading this card unless you plan on developing an Aggression/Agile Power build. The Assassin also lacks significant WP generation by itself, so I suggest keeping this card.
- Improvised Attack x2, Basic: 1 WP cost
- Melee attack 2 or ranged attack 1.
A well-rounded starting attack card. If you plan on developing a ranged Assassin, Improvised Attack is worth holding onto until you have stronger cards. Upgrading Improvised Attack makes it a melee attack 3 or ranged attack 2 in one card, which is good versatility for just 1 WP, but there are usually better choices for upgrades.
- Sneak x2, Basic: 1 WP cost
- Gain Stealth 2.
The bread and butter of the Assassin’s starting deck, Sneak is a solid basic card. Upgrading Sneak reduces its WP cost to 0, which is a good choice if your new card options are undesirable when you level up. When I play Endless Odyssey runs I upgrade Sneak eventually, but on shorter runs there are usually better upgrade choices. More details about how to maximize the benefits of Stealth are available later in this guide.
- Swipe x2, Basic: 1 WP cost
- Melee attack 2
Every deck begins with two copies of Swipe, and like most classes, the Assassin doesn’t need to keep this card. In fact, I suggest replacing Swipe with a better attack card at the earliest opportunity. Upgrading Swipe makes it a melee attack 3 card for 1 WP, but I don’t recommend wasting an upgrade on this card. Indeed, once you have better attack cards from leveling up or items, you should consider deleting Swipe to make your deck more streamlined.
- Punish x1, Power: 2 WP cost
- Every time you perform a Combo Strike, gain 1 WP.
One of the few cards in the Assassin’s repertoire which generates WP, Punish is only worth keeping or upgrading if you plan on developing a Combo Strike strategy for your party. Upgrading Punish reduces its WP cost to 1, and is something you should do early in a run if you’re making a Combo Strike party strategy. However, Punish is typically the first card I replace when I level up the Assassin if I’m making a non-Combo Strike party build. With 8 Resilience, Punish can sustain a substantial amount of punishment (see what I did there?) before being discarded.
This section includes info and critiques of each starting item available for the Assassin. With relatively limited starting items compared to some other classes, the Assassin can only select from Blades and Daggers.
The Assassin can equip just one blade weapon in its left hand. Unfortunately, this means the Assassin can’t begin with more than one Strike Through or Double Strike in its starting deck. Even so, these are both solid choices for their flexibility and damage potential.
Crude Spear/Strike Through
- Strike Through, Action: 1 WP cost
- Melee Attack 3, or Ranged Attack 2. Also hits anyone directly behind the target. If you hit two targets, gain 1 WP.
A significantly stronger version of Improvised Attack, Strike Through is a good option for a versatile Assassin. It’s also one of the few WP generating cards available for this class, although this is very situational. The upgraded version is Melee Attack 4 and Ranged Attack 3, making it a strong card for just 1 WP, especially versus crowds of enemies and the Giant Worm boss.
Bone Sword/Double Strike
- Double Strike, Action: 2 WP cost
- Melee Attack 2 then Melee Attack 2.
If you want an Assassin which can kill, or nearly kill, most enemies with one attack, Double Strike is your best starting choice. Double Strike is also a great combo with Defensive Stance if you need to increase the Assassin’s defense. The upgraded version of Double Strike is Melee Attack 3, Melee Attack 3 – nice. While it’s essentially just two Swipes in one card, this is exactly what makes Double Strike’s card economy so good. Any effect which is triggered by making melee attacks, including Combo Strikes, is a perfect match with Double Strike.
The Assassin can equip a dagger in each hand, which means you get twice the stabbing fun. Set Up and Stab are the most frequent cards among rare and epic dagger weapons. What more does an Assassin need?
- Stalk, Power: 0 WP, 3 Resilience
- Your Combo Strikes deal +2 Damage if you are not adjacent to any friendly characters.
Stalk is not an optimal choice unless you plan on developing a Combo Strike party. In order to make a normal Combo Strike, a character cannot be adjacent to any other enemies except for the target. That’s trickier than it sounds, especially versus crowds of enemies. While Stalk increases Combo Strike damage, it’s very situational because to get the bonus damage your character cannot be adjacent to any friendly characters either! Fortunately, the upgraded version of Stalk removes the restriction of making Combo Strikes while next to other enemies, which makes it well suited against crowds of minions. Therefore, I suggest upgrading your Flint Dagger ASAP.
Overall, Stalk is best used for ganging up on a single Boss or that last remaining enemy who’s been stockpiling defense the entire battle. However, with only 3 Resilience, it doesn’t take much damage for Stalk to be discarded. This card requires careful positioning and timing to maximize its value.
Bone Knives/Running Shot
- Running Shot, Action: 1 WP
- Move 3, Random Ranged Attack 2.
As mentioned previously in this guide, Running Shot is a good starting choice for developing a Ranged Assassin. Extra movement cards, especially in the early stages of a run, are always a good thing for a fragile Assassin. With proper positioning, or lack of multiple targets, the ‘Random’ attack is not so random at all.
Cultist Blade/Blood Letting
- Blood Letting, Action: 1 WP
- Deal 2 Damage to an enemy with no Defense or 2 Damage to a friendly within 1 space, gain 3 WP.
While the Assassin is not an obvious choice for a support class, Blood Letting is the Assassin’s best option for generating WP. Take note that Blood Letting is not a Melee Attack card, so it doesn’t trigger effects based on attacks, nor does it trigger Combo Strikes. However, if your Assassin’s deck is loaded with Stabs and other card drawing options, Blood Letting is a good choice to generate WP and keep the chain combo rolling! The upgraded version deals 3 damage to a defenseless enemy, or just 1 damage to an adjacent friendly character. In that context, 3 damage and 3 WP for just 1 card and 1 WP is a pretty sweet deal.
This section includes info about each item slot for the Assassin, and comments on notable items for each slot. Remember, you can keep items in your inventory simply for making extra copies of cards to add to your deck, but not Heroic cards. This is a great way to make combos based on cards the Assassin can only gain from various items.
The Assassin has the following Item Slots available…
- Light Armor
Common, Rare, Epic & Legendary Light Armor provide an armor bonus of 2, 3, and 4, respectively, but no Quality bonus on any of them. With a few exceptions, most Light Armor provides a Move card.
For a Combo Strike party build, Padded Rags – Basic, Padded Armor – Rare, and Shrouded Armor – Epic all include the Stalk Power card. Multiple copies of Stalk is a good insurance policy due to its low Resilience, or if other members of your Combo Strike party lack the Stalk Power card for themselves.
For a tank Assassin build, Hardened Leather – Rare, and Basilisk Hide Armor – Epic, each include the Defensive Stance Power card. This can be especially effective if multiple copies of Double Strike are added to your deck.
For maximum Flurry talent card draw power, Waxed Leather Armor – Rare, and Aged Leather Armor – Epic, each include the Power card, Elite which makes your talent twice as effective. This means when you trigger Flurry you draw two cards instead of one. Combined with Action cards which reset your talent, like Opening and Quick Thinking, the Assassin can easily draw an insane amount of cards in one turn.