Shadowrun Returns – 8 Best Mercenaries
The first campaign of the Shadowrun Trilogy, the Dead Man's Switch, doesn't have a static team of shadowrunners that sticks with you through thick and thin. Sure, some principal characters can be hired a few times, but mostly your teams will be filled with strangers – mercenaries.
You'll find mercs to fit any role you might need, with the majority falling neatly into one of the six archetypes you're introduced to during character creation. Once you've unlocked the Nephilim Network, however, it's time to delve into some hybrid builds, for better or worse. Does specialism or versatility win the day? Let's find out.
8 Tom – Unarmed Physical Adept
If you're looking for two fists of fury backed by magical powers, Tom is your guy. He's one of the Nephilim Network mercenaries – so he's a little expensive – but he will deliver results.
Notably, he comes with two copies of the Mana Fist spell, meaning he can shred through heavily armored enemies like a hot knife through butter – something you'll deeply appreciate in the later stages of the game where the armor is stacked on quite heavily. In addition, the Counterstrike spell makes him valuable even during the enemy phase, something that cannot go unmentioned.
7 Tusser – Spirit-Focused Shaman
A Shaman's most significant utility is their ability to put more bodies on the field, and they do this through Spirit Summoning. A spirit's most significant utility is its ability to put bodies in the ground. Making a Shaman your player character is a pretty expensive path, so hiring a mercenary like Tusser is the way to go in Shadowrun Returns.
With a ton of Fetishes to use for Spirit Summoning and access to the great Haste and Fog spells, you don't need to look much further for a fantastic support character. Haste, especially, is enough reason to grab him – adding one AP per round to a tougher ally is an incredible power.
6 Alexey – Jack Of All Trades
If you want just a little bit of everything, Alexey is a good merc choice. His description in-game is "Trained to be inserted by the Network when the job calls for anything and everything." This is an accurate blurb.
Alexey can cast spells of both disciplines (including the vital Haste spell), wield a pistol with some efficiency, and even deploy a combat drone when another body on the field would be useful. Alexey will be most useful to newer players who don't know what to expect in an upcoming mission.
5 Maerska – Utilitarian Rigger
There's much to say about how valuable Drones are in the Shadowrun Trilogy. When deployed, they're basically extra combatants under your control with all the utility that entails. They can get through vents, serve as more expendable scouts, and some of them can even administer healing or buffing items.
Maerska comes with two Drones and a whole lot of items – grenades and medkits both. While she's hampered by her dedication to the sword instead of a more useful gun, she'll certainly make her presence known with her mechanical friends.
4 John Hellar – Flexible Physical Adept
John Hellar is a good choice if you're looking for a Physical Adept. While his Machete isn't going to do the raw damage of a massive sword, it can reduce your target's AP and flush them from cover as well as any other knife can.
What you might miss is that John is an Unarmed-focused Physical Adept, meaning he'll shine when you put him front-and-center, letting him soak up hits and become a flurry of fists. He's worth hiring at least once, if only to prove that weaponless builds (if you don't count fists as a weapon) are genuinely viable.
3 Jenny Hex – Mage Extraordinaire
There are many magically-inclined mercenaries to choose from, and Jenny Hex is undoubtedly one of the most useful. She's decked out with fantastic spells, both supportive and offensive.
On the supportive side, Jenny can heal allies, buff their armor up, and boost their accuracy – all three things you want a Mage to do. Offensively, however, Jenny shines with multiple AoE spells that can be used to great effect whenever enemies bunch up – which is quite often. She even comes with medkits! She's the perfect support merc.
2 Alexander Falk – Support Hybrid Magician
Hybrid Mage/Shamans are very powerful in Shadowrun, and this is a quality you'll find in Alexander Falk. He's another Nephilim Network character, but historic bugs make him cheaper than even Coyote to hire, so take advantage of that whenever you can!
His spell repertoire is impressive enough just looking at the Shaman side – Haste is always good, and the barrier spells are fantastic for blocking off enemies where you want them. His Mage spells, however, let him truly shine as a support mage – he can heal, shred armor, and significantly boost his allies' accuracy. He's like a Swiss Army Knife of magic spells.
1 Coyote – Street Samurai Pal
As you might expect, there are more than a few benefits to taking Coyote along with you on as many missions as possible. First of all, she's cheap – capping out at 1,200 nuyen per mission, Coyote is amongst the cheapest mercenaries you can hire without actually being bugged.
In addition, Coyote has a pretty good Street Samurai build. She has high Strength and even higher Quickness, and she has plenty of points put into Throwing Weapons to make her a decent grenade user, too. She even has a few points in Biotech, so hand her some spare medkits, and she makes for a decent medic in a pinch.
Coyote's greatest benefits, however, are that she's a story-important character. Taking her on missions makes her feel like an actual party member, and it's easy to get used to her playstyle – so you might as well take advantage of her availability!
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