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Hero Spotlight: Lily, the Archer

A strategy guide for furry rangers

”If you had the chance to change your fate, would you? – Lily. Illustration: Chad Hoverter



About this article

 Hero Spotlight is an extended series of strategy articles, which will focus on our brave heroes of Mice & Mystics. Each article will discuss a hero’s strengths, weaknesses and potential party roles. In addition, I share my thoughts on abilities, equipment items and synergies with other heroes.

I focus on game mechanics and do not discuss story elements, particular chapters or character development from a narrative point-of-view. Just for fun (and hopefully discussions) I use a rating system. Our third mouse in the spotlight: Lily, the archer.


Rating system

 All ratings are based on the hero in spotlight, only. One mouse’s garbage is another mouse’s treasure!


Simply cheese-tastic! A hero ability never to forget; a specific character strength; an ability card you will be able to use frequently and to great effect or an item of great value, which supports the strengths of your hero and greatly benefits the mice.

Tasty! A commonly useful hero ability; an ability card, which can be a great addition after selecting primary ability cards; or an item, which can be utilised to good effect.

Mediocre! A situationally useful hero ability, a rarely useable ability card or an item for the backpack.

Rotten! A poor hero ability, an ability card hardly worth six cheese tokens or an item to be traded for cheese immediately.


Hero Overview


Illustration: John Ariosa


Attribute Values


Solid battle value, high defense value, particularly for a ranged attacker and sufficient movement to find advantageous positions on the battlefield and keep out of reach of melee minions – great! Lily’s low Lore value rarely comes into play, and her inability to use certain scrolls is of little concern, since any party will contain at least one mouse with a higher Lore score.



Lessons Learned is a flavourful, thematically important ability, which provides rare but important help to our heroes. On tiles with mousetraps blocking the way to an exit space, Lily is the party’s designated explorer and can ensure reducing the risk of triggering a trap by any other mice. 

Explorer is a fantastic ability, which triggers reliably and with perfect timing. Compared to other mice, which rely on dice rolling, specific combat events or initiative order in new encounters, Lily’s cheese-generating ability is the most consistent in the game. Since the exploration of a new tile is commonly congruent with a new encounter, Explorer ensures that Lily always has resources to play her important abilities to boost ranged attacks. For instance, the archer can use her Preemptive Shot (see Ability Cards) at the beginning of virtually every encounter or choose to play any of her 2-cost abilities during the first round – often before minions move into melee range.

Assuming an average of six tiles per chapter, Lily receives sufficient cheese to gain two new ability cards per chapter if she forgoes playing her ability cards with the cheese gained from Explorer. This is not too difficult, since, as long as she wields her starting weapon, her attacks and minion defense rolls further grant cheese to Barksburg’s finest ranger. Remember that sharing is caring, and Lily usually has the means for the former and the heart for the latter.


 Starting equipment

Lily’s Bow can be frustrating to wield, since it does not increase the archer’s battle value. A 44% chance of missing altogether can be a significant burden, and an average of 0.6 hits per attack suggest that many arrows will be blocked by Lily’s targets.

What Lily’s Bow lacks in deadliness, it more than makes up in ability!  If defending minions wouldn’t be able to add cheese to the wheel, I would already consider this property great, but given that all cheese rolled by defending minions is cashed in by Lily, the bow is a splendid weapon. Even after finding superior damage weaponry, Lily can profit from using her trusted bow when firing at times when a surge is imminent or in conjunction with ability cards.

Deceptively weak at the beginning of a campaign, Lily quickly accumulates cheese to gain new abilities and use them frequently, thus making her low attack bonus of little concern.


Ability Cards

Most ability cards available to Lily improve her ranged attacks. More than any other hero, relative effectiveness of cards, and my rating thereof, strongly depends on the ranged weapon used with the ability. The following discussions refer to the benefits of using a particular ability card with certain items. However, my listed ratings assume Lily’s Bow as only available ranged weapon. I provide modified ratings based on specific item-ability combinations after the Equipment section.


  • Accurate Shot  

Accurate Shot provides two fantastic benefits: a minion cannot block hits and cannot add cheese to the wheel. The probability to roll one ranged hit with Lily is 54% when rolling 2 attack dice and 70% when rolling 3 dice. This highlights the greatly improved value of Accurate Shot with a battle-boosting ranged weapon, compared with Lily’s Bow. In addition, Accurate Shot renders the cheese-generating property of her starting equipment useless. As such, discarding cheese to play Accurate Shot can be wasteful half the time. However, once another bow is found, it’s a fantastic ability to use when attacking minions with 2 defense! Since Lily receives two cheese every time your party explores onto a new tile, the archer can use Accurate Shot in the first round of combat. Having a 70% chance of taking out a melee minion before it reaches the party can certainly be worthwhile!


  • Aimed Shot  

The chance to miss a ranged attack with Lily’s Bow drops from nearly 5-in-10 to 3-in-10 when using Aimed Shot. Contrary to most other mice, Lily always benefits when forcing a minion to roll for defense, since any cheese rolled is added to her stash (assuming starting item). As such, Aimed Shot provides a fantastic first ability card to use with Lily’s Bow. The archer greatly improves her odds to defeat a minion and often gains a cheesy consolation prize when not – which allows using Aimed Shot in subsequent turns.

When played with other bows, Aimed Shot improves Lily’s chance to roll at least one hit to 80%. I like it best with the Enchanted Bow, since it gives Lily a one-in-two chance to get an additional attack.


  • Exploding Shot (Heart of Glorm)  

A group of ranged minions or a large minion cluster on special areas makes ideal targets for this ability card. The critical part using this power is the need to defeat a minion with the initial ranged attack. Obviously, if options are available, Lily should attack the minion with the lowest defense. Similarly, this attack becomes more reliable with a higher battle value.

However, picking the right bow to attack is a bit of a catch-22. Lily’s Bow has the smallest chance of defeating the initial minion but is by far the best weapon for the ensuing melee attacks – any minion cheese in defense will go straight to the archer, after all. Choosing a stronger bow gives a greater chance of defeating the initial target but any cheese will go to the minion wheel.

The ideal choice, in my opinion, depends on multiple variables, such as the state of the minion wheel and page your party is on, party composition and initiative as well as access to single-use items. Regarding the cheese wheel, I tend to ignore any concern of adding cheese from minion defense against Exploding Shot. Chances are small, and any defeated minion won’t be able to attack again – thus evening out any cheese-wheel potential.

Party composition can also be important in specific situations. For instance, if a mystic is ready to unleash Strangle Vines before the minions’ turn, which has a higher probability to defeat three minions than Lily’s Exploding Shot and denies any defense rolls, I suggest using Lily’s Bow. A miss is not as critical when backed by a powerful attack, after all. Keep in mind that this ability card targets all figures, so don’t fire a shot into the midst of your frontline fighters! Exploding Shot is also an excellent ability card to augment with single-use items. Fungus Bits or the Arrow of Truth can guarantee the attack’s explosive effect will trigger, and if you acquired the Marksman achievement, it’s an equally good choice.

Note, however, that the number of melee dice following the attack’s explosion cannot be increased. Finally, a great advantage of Exploding Shot is its timing. Since the card is played after the initial attack, cheese will not go to waste if Lily doesn’t defeat a minion, and you could play another ability card this turn, such as First Aid.


  • First Aid 

While this ability is costly, reliable healing in Mice & Mystics is rare. In addition to the cheese cost, First Aid takes up a mouse’s only opportunity to play an ability card on its turn.  On the bright side, First Aid can be played as free action, and Lily can still attack normally or search on her turn. In addition, the archer is mobile, usually has a large amount of cheese at her disposal and will come across multiple situations in which she might not need to play another ability card, such as when attacking a 1-defense minion, missing with Exploding Shot or searching. Lily makes a good choice as secondary healer!


  • Keen Eye 

Improving Lily’s search success from 3-in-6 to 5-in-6 is remarkable and greatly reduces the feeling of having wasted an action. The cost of one cheese is easily justified by having reliable access to loot on every tile, which greatly contributes to the party’s options in dealing with Vanestra’s minions. A great card to enhance Lily’s versatility and value to the party!


  • Power Shot 

Most battle-boosting abilities in Mice & Mystic allow one extra die per one cheese. When used with Lily’s Bow, Powerful Shot is expensive, as it only provides two dice for three cheese. Since these are ranged attack dice, the expected benefit is an additional 0.6 hits. Hardly worthwhile given the card’s high cost!

However, powerful Shot increases its value exponentially to the archer’s battle value after adding any modifiers. Attacking with any other bow makes this card significantly better, since it improves Lily’s attack dice to a respectable six – along with any other benefits, such as more cheese generation, chance for an additional attack (Enchanted Bow), extra hits (Accurate Bow) or rolling eight dice when attacking a large minion (Longbow).

You can create situations in which you will need a spreadsheet to keep track of the number of attack dice, but these are often theoretical constructs, rather than recurring in-game situations. The most number of dice I can think of would be tossed when using Power Shot to attack a large minion with Longbow and augmenting the attack with a rolled 3 from Fungus Bits. Chances are not too bad that you might acquire the Marksman and Cheesemaster achievements in one go when rolling 14 attack dice…

To return from fiction to reality at the campaign’s start: There are better ability cards for Lily to start with, but Power Shot symbolizes her roleplaying-game like advancement of archery skill and is a great ability to learn once another bow is obtained.


Original image/ artwork: Rich (reelvideo on BGG)/ John Ariosa.


  • Preemptive Shot  

Initiative order has a huge influence on any encounter. Dealing with minions before they act can be a major advantage. Preemptive Shot can be played outside of anybody’s turn. It can be played when setting up an encounter. It can also be played when a surge is triggered (unless another mouse has used an ability card on this turn). It is available at the beginning of nearly every combat thanks to Lily’s Explorer ability. A fantastic card, which is even better when used with a battle value-boosting bow.






  • Fickle Amulet 

Lily is all about evading attacks, so the Fickle Amulet is more efficient on one of your frontline fighters. That said, Lily won’t be able to avoid all attacks and preventing an untimely surge might make the difference between advancing in the story or replaying a chapter.


  • Ring of Cat Strength

This ring would elevate Lily’s melee effectiveness to Collin’s level – if she finds a melee weapon. As written earlier, ability cards don’t support this play style. The ring is also in much better paws on other mice.


One-paw items


  • Bone Knife (Heart of Glorm)

Lily could equip this knife every other round and potentially take out minions outside of her turn. The problem: the archer’s defense value cannot be improved with any non-promotional items, and she is usually better off staying out of melee reach.


  • Dagger

A good back-up item to pick up when Filch is not in the party and to use whenever Lily is higher on the initiative than the defending minion. Attacking a minion with two melee dice and reducing its defense by one is more likely to be successful compared with Lily’s ranged attacks, after all.


  • Needle Rapier (Promo card)

The only defense-boosting item available to the archer! Aside from its defensive value, the Needle Rapier boosts Lily’s battle value to a respectable three melee dice. Given Lily’s usually large cheese stash, this item allows her to be a valuable melee combatant! However, this would disregard all her ability cards, cost cheese and, in turn, reduce her effectiveness as ranged attacker. When used as secondary weapon, it can only be equipped every other round. A fantastic item, in general, but the rapier is of far greater value in the paws of other mice.


  • Slicing Dagger

Lily cannot boost her melee attack with ability cards. As such, the bonus of this dagger will trigger very rarely.


Two-paw items


Image: Chad Hoverter

  • Accurate Bow

A constant bonus to the archer’s battle value and a 40% chance to score an extra hit with every attack are solid additions to Lily’s repertoire!


  • Badger Gloves (Heart of Glorm)

With regards to scoring hits, three melee dice are the equivalent to five ranged dice and chances that you’ll ever miss with your battle action when using this item are slim to none. However, rolling more dice generates more cheese, which in turn allows using ability cards, of which none improve Lily’s melee performance. In addition, Lily’s defense value is very rarely improved. Clearly, the gloves do not support Lily’s usual style of play. Badger Gloves are the second-best melee weapon available to the archer – which does not say a lot.


  • Clockwork Rifle (Heart of Glorm)

Gaining the extra bonus from this rifle is restricted in two ways, which severely limit Lily’s effectiveness. Movement can often be ignored – particularly when firing from behind a wall of melee attackers. Ability cards, on the other hand, are essential to really make Lily’s archery skills shine. Nevertheless, since the rifle cannot be kept between chapters, you will never have to choose between it and another item, and it can be beneficial as a secondary weapon. Keep in mind, however, that warriors or tinkerers might profit even more, since they usually lack means to attack at range.


  • Enchanted Bow

Extra attacks can be game changers, and the odds for Lily to profit from this bow’s property are solid: nearly 40%! If played in conjunction with Aimed Shot, chances are that the archer gets a free attack every second round! This effect is limited to once per turn but still a terrific incentive to equip this enchanted weapon.


  • Longbow

Large minions are in the vast minority, which is why the additional battle bonus of Longbow is rarely triggered. If it does, however, the extra die is most welcome!


  • Toothpick

While the toothpick does not improve the archer’s defense value, it is one of the few defensive option available to her. Equipping it via free action after attacking can be beneficial. However, Lily can only benefit from the Toothpick every other round, since mice are limited to one equip action each turn. Certainly not an item to keep between chapters once Lily finds another bow, but the toothpick holds some value during a chapter.


Head gear 

Lily cannot use any head gear at the moment.


Body gear


  • Tattered Threads of Reason (Promo card)

This item is only as good as the ability card granted by it. I only list those I consider to synergise with the particular hero in spotlight. The rating after each ability card name reflects my rating of the Threads of Reason with the chosen ability card in mind. In general, Lily can rarely afford to forgo her battle action and profits much more from keeping a bow than any other item. My following thoughts assume the Threads of Reason as item for a single chapter, only. 

* Dodge

Lily has no access to armour, so staying out of minion’s melee reach is simply fantastic. Dodge is played outside of your turn and an amazing ability (see Hero Spotlight: Filch, the Scamp for details). If nobody in your group is playing Filch, Dodge makes the Tattered Threads of Reason a fantastic item.


* Give Order

Lily has cheese at the start of virtually every encounter and could provide an extra action for a fellow mouse. It would come at the cost of not augmenting her own shot, however – unless you unsuccessfully tried Exploding Shot. Solid but hardly the best item to carry over between chapters.


* Invisibility

See Hero Spotlight: Maginos, the Mystic if you are interested to read why this is one of my favourite ability cards in the game. Lily typically has fewer cheese than Maginos, so using her ranger skills to hide from view might not be as potent as the mystic’s magical camouflage. Still, if Maginos is not in your group, Invisibility can save your fur! I rate it slightly below Dodge, since it is played on Lily’s turn – thus preventing the use of archery powers.


Single use items


  • Arrow of Truth (Heart of Glorm)

This item allows for the most reliable attack in the entire game. Lily can ensure that Exploding Shot triggers, that she gains an extra attack when using her Enchanted Bow or defeating a large minion in a single attack with Powerful Shot.


  • Fungus Bits (Heart of Glorm)

A great item to use when you cannot afford to miss! Most helpful when using Exploding Shot!


  • Lore Rune (Heart of Glorm)

No reason to trade this for cheese unless every mouse in your group has obtained all available ability cards.


  • Whiskerfroth Elixir

A great item, which can help you or another mouse out of a tight spot and potentially turn a battle in your favour.


Bows and Ability Card combinations 

As mentioned earlier, I find that the effectiveness of Lily’s ability cards strongly depend on her equipped weapon. The table below summarises my bow-specific rating of ability cards.




Lily’s Bow

Long Bow

Accurate Bow

Enchanted Bow

Accurate Shot

Aimed Shot

Exploding Shot

Power Shot

Preemptive Shot



Synergies with Lily’s companions


  • Melee combatants


These mice commonly stand between Lily and the game’s bad guys. If you position yourself carefully, melee minions will commonly ignore you. This becomes more important once Collin, Tilda, Nez or even Filch have acquired armour to make them less vulnerable to attacks.


  • Collin


Collin may make a wonderful target for any excess cheese you have in Lily’s stash. Think about the following options:


a) You can use 1 cheese to roll 3 attack dice instead of 2 with Aimed Shot or b) you can make an additional out-of turn attack on Collin’s turn (if he uses Give Order on Lily). 


a) You can spend 3 cheese to roll 4 dice instead of 2 via powerful shot or b) every mouse in the party could have an extra action if Collin uses your cheese to play Inspire.


It surely depends on situations such as positioning (e.g. minion cluster for explosive shot), initiative order (e.g. how important is it to take a minion out on Lily’s turn), etc…. However, in most cases I found an extra action / attack more useful than extra dice.


  • Neré and Maginos


The two mystics can clear a bunch of minions in no time. I recommend keeping an eye out for the initiative order. If those two act after you, but prior to minions, it might be smart to save your cheese instead of using it to clear a minion who is unlikely to bother anybody.


  • Filch

If Lily has the “Keen Eye” ability card and Filch “Find”, the sneaky scamp and calm archer can make sure your party won’t miss a thing. You could give both cards to one mouse, but the limit of a single successful search per tile can ensure you find important story items with Lily and get the most of regular loot via Filch.


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