I'm in for any Hero that gives me a reason to buy Kitty Cutpurse, and Charon fits the bill nicely. Everyone's favorite ferryman is a strong Hero in the early and mid game, and isn't too complicated to play either. All aboard!
Charon's Hero Power is one of the simpler ones. The first character that dies each brawl gets a permanent +2/+1 bonus, which adds up nicely over time. Because of how wild stats get later in the game, this does get less effective eventually, but you have plenty of time to take advantage of the strong early boost.
Right from the beginning, you want to focus on characters that make use of the Charon buff best, such as Slayers like Kitty Cutpurse or Polywoggle or high health characters like Happy Little Tree or Rainbow Unicorn. You then want to ride that momentum and use the extra resources and board position to buy XP or scaling characters (or both). You essentially don't have a Hero Power in the late game, so you want to take advantage of the strong start you get to set yourself up for a powerful ending comp.
Your first priority is to buy characters that you want to receive the permanent buff. Those can be the characters I mentioned earlier, or something like Wizard's Familiar, which you can expect to keep around for a long time. Here's a tier list of Level 2 Characters to buy with Charon:
Humpty Dumpty and Charon do not mix, so don't try it.
Note that buying Sherwood Sureshot or Unicorn first can run the risk of them not dying, so I like buying one of the 1/1's for turn one if I can find one.
For level 3 Characters, you're looking for about the same sorts of abilities. In particular, you want a character that goes in slot 1, since that will get the buff the majority of the time. Brave Princess is great for that, and I buy her on Charon almost all the time.
Once you have started getting a few buffs, you can usually out-muscle most opponents, and start looking at how to really go big in the midgame, which is where Charon shines.
Your top two priorities are XP and scaling, and if you're lucky, both. Assuming you've gotten off to a solid start, which Charon tends to do, you can usually afford to be slightly weaker in exchange for gaining value. I'm still not passing Sporko, but mostly am looking for Slay or Slay-adjacent characters like Feasting Dragon and Lightning Dragon/Riverwish Mermaid. Wretched Mummy is also a nice one, as the ability scales up well as Charon buffs it.
These are some characters to look out for, with an emphasis on the ones that attack first/early.
If you do find yourself on the back foot, which can happen, you probably need to pass on the XP spells and focus on presenting the best team instead. You still want to have a character in slot 1 that uses the Charon buff well, but otherwise you're optimizing for short-term strength more than long-term gains. It's not the position you want to be in, but sometimes games just go that way.
While Charon's ability may not scale well into the lategame, every bit counts, and in particular, can be great with Good Boy. Having Good Boy get pumped most brawls is huge, and lets you get a massive multiplier on the +2/+1 buff. Because of this, I tend to bias slightly towards drafting good characters while I'm playing Charon, as the Good Boy pivot on six can be rewarding.
Charon is also a great Hero to It Was All a Dream out of, as you've gotten 90% of the value by the time you hit level six. That's not a bad strategy, since you will eventually hit that spell, and it's nice when you aren't giving up much when casting it.
These are real player comps, courtesy of Untapped.gg's Storybook Brawl site!
Charon likes to see Slay treasures, as you often end up with some Slay action, and is happy to pick up a Coin of Charon. Unsurprisingly, making the Charon buff into +6/+5 is pretty good, since you were already playing into your first character dying to begin with.
Tips and Tricks
- Lightning Dragon is an easy way to make sure the Charon buff goes to the same character each brawl. It dies almost every time, and uses the extra stats well.
- While it's nice getting the buff onto ranged characters, it's usually tricky to do so. Even having your Spell Weaver in slot one doesn't make it that likely, as it's still only one in four to get attacked and die first.
- I buy Polywoggle even at level 4 and sometimes 5 with Charon, assuming you can afford having a weak slot on the team. Getting that buff on Polly is just so good, though I'll fully admit I buy Polly in spots where I shouldn't.
Toss a Coin to Your Ferryman
Charon can lead to some fun games, especially early. If you haven't given the most reliable ferryman in Hades a try, go ahead and do so - it'll be a blast.