Potion Master Hero Guide by LSV
LSV has never met a Mage he didn't like. In his Potion Master Hero Guide, he goes over not only how to master potions, but all the different flavors of Mage builds.
Potion Master is one of my favorite Heroes. Getting to see two spells a turn and being rewarded for casting them is amazing, especially if you're like me and come in hoping to play Mages. Come, let me teach you the right ingredients to brew up the perfect Potion (Master).
Potion Master is lucky - it gets two Hero Powers, and they even synergize well (great job, devs). In the early game, the stat buff is huge, as all the character sizes are so close together, and in the mid/late game, seeing two spells a turn is great. I suspect this Hero is a little underrated, and not in the Matt Nass way - you don't have to be spells/Mages to get a big edge from Potion Master. Even just having twice the odds of finding Pigomorph, Smite, and Shrivel in the lategame can be a game changer.
Potion Master definitely leans towards a spell-based Mage comp, but is fairly open-ended overall. You should start out by prioritizing Mages and seeing if that develops, but it's totally fine to end up with basically any comp by the end of the game. This is another reason I really like Potion Master - you get a nudge towards a direction but you aren't forced into it.
What spells you roll dictate your early plays with Potion Master. The level 2 pump spells are all a lot more appealing once you tack on an extra +1/+1, and you sometimes will choose to play "off-curve" by buying a spell instead of an additional character. Let's take a look at the pump spells you see early.
Of these, Shard is by far the best, and I'll always prioritize casting it in the first few turns. It's worth it no matter what the good character you have is, as +2/+2 on top of base stats is better than anything you can buy (and if you're lucky, you'll hit a Kitty Cutpurse).
When it comes to characters, there are five that I really like buying at level 2 and 3.
The ones that trigger off spells are obvious - you're probably casting a bunch of spells early, so they all give you excellent value. Wizard's Familiar and Spell Weaver often end up in your final comp, assuming you do go down the Mage path, so they are great to pick up. Ogre Princess and Brave Princess I like because it's easy to get your slay on if you cast a few pump spells. Polywoggle has some element of this as well, but it's a little less of a payoff and can't receive Sugar and Spice or Shard of the Ice Queen.
In the early game, you generally want to structure your turns such that you're casting the pump spells offered to you, and any character can be a fine buy if you need a target. Potion Master does lean towards more good/evil characters early because of Sugar and Spice and Witch's Brew, so the level 3 good/evil supports are often decent pickups too.
In the midgame, you usually find out if Crystal Ball + Merlin's Hat is going to come together, or failing that, just Crystal Ball solo. If you've found one of these Treasures and have a couple Mages, I would usually keep trying to triple level 3's and continue buying spells, as Mages is the natural fit. If you haven't found any spell Treasures and you see good onramps on to other comps (like Lightning Dragon + Riverwish Mermaid, or Heartwood Elder + Treants) you can jump ship, and use Potion Master as a way to find extra spells and get a random pump here and there.
If you run into a bunch of XP spells and have a strong enough team, you can also just power level and go for lategame comps. Potion Master does this slightly more than the average Hero, as seeing two spells a turn does make XP show up more often. This is another perfectly legitimate path to victory, and finding a Treant, Good Boy, or Monster comp late is a great way to go.
Lategame with Potion Master is split into two camps: Mages and Other. Like I mentioned in the midgame section, if you've ditched the scaling Mage comp and are working on something else, go for it. What I want to cover here is how to maximize your Magely powers, and all of this holds true for non-Potion Master Heroes as well - it's a mini-Mages primer.
While Hat-Ball is the ultimate combo (with Forking Rod to form full Tron), there are a couple alternate Mage builds you need to master to fully cover your bases.
1. Crystal Ball + Aon
This one is simple - you have Crystal Ball so you can multi-spell, and Aon is your cost reducer. This can actually be better than Hat-Ball if you find Aon early enough, as you effectively get an extra Treasure slot (at the cost of not always Slaying and needing to have Aon go first). Baba Yaga is crucial here too, especially now that she's a Mage and gets pumped by Aon.
2. Monster Book
If you can get a few copies of Monster Book, and ultimately upgrade it, you can get away with having no Crystal Ball and still getting enough spell triggers. Forking Rod goes a long way here, and eventually you'll need to find high-level Treasures to compensate for the fact that you're playing 2-4 spells per cycle instead of 10+. Of note, Copy Cat can sometimes sub in, but usually I just like playing Books.
3. The Ninth Book of Merlin
At level 6, you aren't often in a position to slam 9th Book, but if you get it early or can find a Mimic to go with it, it can be awesome. You really want a backrow Aon if you're 9th Booking, as it gives you a ton of stats each time a Mage dies. Funnily enough, Monster Book is actively bad in this comp, as your Mages are all Monster Books, so you'd rather just play more of them.
4. Busted Treasure Tribal
If you can get Black Prism or Wand of Weirding, you can go off as well, though that's just getting greedy. Still, if you've never experienced Crystal Ball plus Black Prism, it's a delight. Here's a comp I got 2nd with (though to be fair, it was in SBB99 and my finals opponent had an incredible Radiant Prism + 9th Book build).
You should have a good idea of the various Mage builds now, and Potion Master is well-suited to go after any of them (the only one where Merlin is actually better is the Monster Book or Ninth Book ones, as you get tons of Merlin triggers during combat). I'd say I end up on Mages like 40% of the time in the late game on Potion Master, but I suspect I force it a little more strongly than most.
Besides all of the spell Treasures I've already mentioned, I want to call out Potion Master's very own Cookbook.
This one works as well as you'd expect, given it's another reason to cast pump spells. I like grabbing this early and just beefing up a Slay character, though a Spell Weaver works just fine as well.
These are another two level 2 Treasures I tend to take on Potion Master (or in general, really). They both give you more shots at level 3 Treasures, aka Hat-Ball.
Tips and Tricks
- The extra +1/+1 makes me almost a lock to cast cantrips like Mixawizzle and Potion of Heroism, and sometimes even lock for them.
- When looking for Hat-Ball, make sure to never skip a level 3 Treasure, even if it's a temporary downgrade. You want to maximize the chances of seeing the better level 3 Treasures, and taking bad ones means you won't be offered them again.
You now have everything you need to go out and slam some Potions. Best of luck!