With an unexpected stat distribution and an oddly specific Hero Power, Mercurio is among the most overlooked Heroes in Armello. In reality, he is one of the most tactical. Mercurio plays a game of resource denial and board control, depriving his opponents of gold while locking up unprotected settlements. Cunning and multi-turn strategy are musts for many Rat Clan heroes, but none more so than Mercurio. He has the resources to pursue any type of victory, although kingslayer and prestige tend to come more readily to him. When his matchup is favorable, and the cards align properly, Mercurio can lock down the board and scheme his way right onto the throne.
Mercurio Hero Overview
- Hero: Mercurio
- Clan Affinity: Night
- Fight: 4
- Body: 5
- Wits: 5
- Spirit: 2
- Hero Ability: Scoundrel, when you capture a settlement, steal 1 gold from its owner.
With the notable exception of Spirit, all of Mercurio’s stats are remarkably balanced. His Wits of 5 is tied for the highest in all of Armello. His Fight of 4 is not phenomenal but is certainly workable. Mercurio’s Body of 5 is tied for second best. His workable offenses, while nothing to write home about, make him formidable in combat nonetheless. With a 2 in Spirit, you’ll be hard-pressed to use Mercurio as a spellcaster. Because of his high Wits and extremely low Spirit, Mercurio falls firmly into the trickster archetype.
When to Use Mercurio
Mercurio is an incredibly matchup-dependent character. Mastering the scenarios in which he thrives and avoiding his most common downfalls are key to Mercurio’s success. Heroes running the Ruin amulet and Heroes who utilize board control are both extremely dangerous to Mercurio. Fang and Oxana are most common in the former category, while Elyssia and Volodar fit into the latter. Mercurio also struggles in combat against dedicated offensive Heroes, such as Thayne, River and Sylas, which can also be quite damaging to Mercurio.
He does best when faced with heroes who rely on the Item and Trickery decks and who don’t want to bother with hunting him down. Barnaby, Magna, Hargrave and Horace all fit firmly into this category. Bring Mercurio when you are faced with one or more of these heroes, when you are not faced by Volodar and Elyssia, or when you are certain your opponents will not bring the Ruin amulet.
Mercurio’s Hero Ability
Scoundrel is a very conditional Hero Ability, enabling Mercurio to steal 1 gold from another player each time he captures a settlement. This stolen gold, in combination with the revenue earned from his own claimed settlements, fuels Mercurio’s use of the Trickery deck. This Hero Ability needs a few things to happen before it can be useful.
Games, where settlements are routinely terrorized, can be very challenging for Mercurio, Your goal with Scoundrel is to take settlements from other heroes, which can be tricky when they are routinely terrorized. Since many King’s Declarations can terrorize settlements or steal gold, it is in Mercurio’s best interest to snatch the prestige lead early and hold it late into the game. Most Heroes benefit from the privileges of prestige, but none more so than Mercurio.
As Mercurio, it’s important to count the number of turns between you and your next objective. If you only need 1 AP to reach your next quest and you have 3 available, plan your route to claim as many settlements as you can. Protect your settlements with perils in order to deter other Heroes, who will have to escape your Trickery cards or plan long routes around your settlements. The more settlements with perils you control, the more revenue you generate and the harder your opponents have to work to navigate the board.
Feel is almost mandatory for Mercurio, granting a precious +1 Spirit. When games go poorly, and gold becomes sparse, a 3 in Spirit allows Mercurio to dabble in the Spell deck. The perils and peril-modifying cards found there also aid your overall strategy, helping Mercurio’s ability to lay traps across the board. A Spirit score of 3 also allows Mercurio to cast combat and mobility spells like Aflame, Moonbite and Teleport. While a single Spirit quest reward can accomplish this as well, it is far more ideal for taking this benefit at the very start of the game.
It is possible to use the Sprint amulet, which lets Mercurio carry over a single unused AP between turns. This allows Mercurio to more easily plan his route across the board, as unused AP need not be wasted. In combination with the Black Opal ring discussed below, it also allows Mercurio to gain the most benefit from his settlements by ending his turn on them with 1 AP remaining. More offensive Mercurio’s can benefit from the synergy between Sprint and Black Opal but ultimately sacrifice the ability to dabble in the Spell deck by doing so.
The best amulet for Mercurio is Feel. The ability to cast spells with a Magic cost of 3 is an invaluable fail-safe for a character who relies on such specific conditions to succeed, and the value of this safety net cannot be ignored. Sprint can be used in combination with the Black Opal ring, but this set can be far less reliable than its Spell deck dabbling counterpart.
Nearly all of the Rat Clan rings provide Mercurio with powerful benefits, but none more so than Black Opal. It grants stealth and +1 sword on settlements, day and night. This incentivizes ending your turn on claimed settlements when possible and makes it more likely to ambush other Heroes. Black Opal synergizes well with the Sprint amulet as mentioned above, allowing you to end your turn early on settlements and carry over 1 unused AP per turn. Even without the Sprint amulet, though, Black Opal is a very powerful ring.
Obsidian grants Scout on all your claimed settlements and on anyone who claims one of your settlements until the end of your next turn. This ring can be helpful when Mercurio is ahead. However, with mediocre Fight and Body, Mercurio doesn’t really have the means to hunt down and slay opposing Heroes. Ruby’s benefit, allowing your first rolled sword to explode in combat, is similarly wasted. Ruby is a usable choice for dedicated fighter builds, although Mercurio rarely reaches the same highs as other fighters.
Black Opal is the best ring for Mercurio. While other rings can provide benefits, Mercurio simply doesn’t have the stat allocation to make use of their perks. There are rare exceptions for Ruby, but only if you’re willing to sacrifice Mercurio’s strengths and play to his weaknesses.
Wits, Body and Fight are all good targets for investment by Mercurio. Your loadout will determine which stats to take. Raising Mercurio’s Wits to 7 is always a worthwhile undertaking. His mediocre starting Fight and abysmal Spirit mean you should be prepared to burn in most of your dice, no matter your set. This is true for both combat and perils. Ultimately, the hardest decision is whether to invest in Body or Fight.
More offensive Mercurio sets should focus on raising Fight and prioritize defensive equipment as the game wears on. Likewise, Mercurio sets that prioritize board control and disruption should prioritize their Body and adopt balanced equipment. Strong defensive Treasure cards like Lionheart Breastplate, Royal Shield and Hero’s Shield are often worth dipping into other stats for. Regardless of your desired quest allocation, I recommend taking quests for these cards as long as your odds are 40% or higher.
The best sets for Mercurio often play very similarly, employing the Black Opal ring and attempting to maximize its efficacy. Fighter Mercurio sets sacrifice most benefit from the Scoundrel Hero Ability. This makes them less ideal than focusing solely on board control.
- Amulet: Feel
- Ring: Black Opal
- Quests: 2 Wits, 2 Body
The most reliable Mercurio set, disruption Mercurio combines the Scoundrel Hero Ability with stealth in settlements. The idea with this set, quite simply, is to make the game a living hell for enemy Heroes. Stealing gold, placing Trickery perils and remaining in stealth when possible are all keys to getting the maximum benefit from this set. Your goal is to inhibit other Heroes’ movement, build prestige and accrue balanced equipment. You should plan to ultimately confront the King, winning a kingslayer victory. If things don’t go as planned, however, you will still have the prestige to rely on.
Bring this set if you aren’t confronted with aggressive heroes, other heroes competing for board control or hard spellcasters. Thane, Fang, Elyssia and Volodar will all make this set difficult to use. Disruption Mercurio plays well against jack-of-all-trades heroes like Nazar (if he isn’t using Ruin) and Amber. It also fares well against Heroes who rely on the Item and Trickery decks, such as Horace and Barnaby.
Hero Hunter Mercurio
- Amulet: Sprint
- Ring: Black Opal
- Quests: 2 Wits, 2 Fight
While Hero hunter Mercurio is a good deal less reliable than disruption Mercurio, it can still be a fun and somewhat viable option. The Sprint amulet and Black Opal ring in combination allow Mercurio to end his turn on settlements far more often. This grants him stealth, protecting him from Spell and Trickery cards, and grants him +1 sword in combat. Additionally, any players who want to move through the settlement will need to fight through an ambush to do so. The main downside to this set is that you’ll often need to clear your own perils or forgo placing them down at all. Because of Mercurio’s low Spirit, this set leaves behind Spell perils entirely to make this a bit easier.
This set has a slightly better matchup against spellcasters than disruption Mercurio. However, Hero hunter Mercurio should avoid fighters at all costs. Along with his usual poor matchups of Volodar and Elyssia, it is also best to avoid the likes of Fang, Thane, Sylas, River and any other aggressive heroes. Instead, aim for jack-of-all-trades heroes, spellcasters with low Fight and less combative tricksters for your best odds.
While Mercurio is rarely a top competitive pick, he remains viable in specific scenarios. Mercurio offers a unique playstyle found in only a select few Heroes. This scheming and conniving little rodent is a perfect example of what the Rat Clan has to offer. Although he lacks the raw power of his clanmates, he can still be a powerful force nonetheless.