Lost Ark's new card-throwing arcanist class is basically Gambit from the X-Men

The latest class to join Korean fashion-fantasy MMO Lost Ark is the arcanist, a third advanced class for mages alongside the existing bard and sorceress. Arcanists are part of July's Spells in Spades update, which also adds support effects to make climbing the item levels faster, higher difficulty levels for the Valtan Legion Raid and Abyssal Dungeons, a pool party event with water pistols, and beach-themed cosmetics.

The arcanist's skills are all about throwing hails of explosive cards around, with spells like Unlimited Shuffle, which picks up enemies then slams them back down again. The class is designed around either using skills that build stacks and then following with a Ruin skill, which does more damage the more stacks you've piled up, or relying on random draws from your Card Deck. This set of higher-powered effects can be accessed once you've filled up the arcanist's specialty meter by landing attacks, and includes the Ghost Card, which disables collision with monsters while buffing your move speed and reducing damage by half, and the Mayhem Card, which increases your attack speed every time you use a skill.

To help you get an arcanist to the endgame, or level up any other characters in need of it, the Spells in Spades update comes with a powerpass to immediately boost a character to item level 1302 and place them at the end of the Punika storyline. To get access to that you'll have to finish Punika with another character first. The update also adds a 'Hyper Express Event' that you can enroll one character of item level 1302 in, which gives missions whose rewards will help get them to item level 1370 faster.

That still won't be enough to get you into the new inferno difficulty version of the Valtan Legion Raid, however, which demands item level 1445. Unlike the normal or hard difficulty raid gate, progression is disabled, so if you stall part way through you can't come back later in the week to pick up where you left off. It doesn't count against the weekly Legion Raid limit though, so you can try again often as you like. The rewards for inferno difficulty completion are all about bragging rights, with titles, achievements, structures to show off in your stronghold, and the like.

This month's limited-time event is the Maharaka festival at Waterpop Arena. Every two hours a PvP battle takes place in Paradise Pool, splitting players into two teams armed with Water Pro guns to push their opponents out of the arena with. As the match goes on the arena shrinks, battle royale-style. The rewards for taking part are Maharaka Leafs, which can be spent at an event vendor.

Fitting with the summer theme are the new cosmetics in the item shop, which include a fetching bucket-hat-and-budgie-smuggler combo for men and other beach gear. There's a  hermit crab mount and set of starfish pets, including one who wears a tiny pirate outfit. Expect to see that, and the bikinis of course, everywhere you go in Lost Ark for the next few weeks.

The Spells in Spades update is scheduled for July 20 at 12am PST / 7am UTC / 5pm AEST, and will probably mean about four hours of downtime. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.