What are Arcana Cards in Hades 2 & how do they work?

What are Arcana Cards in Hades 2 & how do they work?
Images via Supergiant Games

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Published 

7th May 2024 13:47

Contents

Highlights:

  • Arcana Cards give buffs that last beyond each run
  • You'll need to find and use Ashes to unlock more Cards

Arcana Cards are a new mechanic in Hades 2 that allows you to gain permanent and consistent benefits across your runs - but unlocking them all can be quite tricky.

You'll need to find the right items in-game, and you can't have them all equipped at once, so it's certainly a balancing act if you're looking to craft the best build.

How do Arcana Cards work?

Arcana Cards will unlock special buffs for Melinoë that enhance her abilities, stats, and more. These are not specific to individual runs and can be activated and deactivated at will depending on which ones you want to have on at any current point in time.

Image of Arcana Cards in Hades 2
Click to enlarge

Each Arcana Card has a 'Grasp' value, indicated by the turquoise hand icon in the top right of the card. Melinoë can only have a maximum Grasp value of 10 - and you'll find that this quickly reaches its limit when you're using the more powerful cards.

How to unlock Arcana Cards

You'll be able to unlock and select Arcana Cards by meditating on the arch just before the weapon selection area, and each card requires you to use a specific number of Ashes in order to unlock it.

Image showing you where to unlock Arcana Cards in Hades 2
Click to enlarge

Earlier cards only need a handful of Ashes, but I found that the later options quickly exceeded ten and beyond for each card - making me really decide whether I wanted more active cards earlier on, or stronger individual options.

Furthermore, you'll only gain access to additional cards once you've unlocked their neighbouring item, so you'll need to work your way down the rows in order to get the best ones.

How to get more Ash

The best and most consistent way to gain more Ash in Hades 2 is to clear Ash rooms, and I typically found that they are found in stacks of five. These rooms are designated by the item's silver/grey icon, and the Ashes will drop as a reward once you've cleared all of the enemies in the area.

Image of Ashes in Hades 2
Click to enlarge

Another reliable way to get Ashes is through the Wretched Broker, which can be unlocked from the 'Summoning of Mercantile Fortune' Incantation. They can be found by the water to the south of the cauldron in the hub area, and you'll be able to trade 15 Bones for one bundle of Ashes with them.

Image of the Wretcher Broker's wares in Hades 2
Click to enlarge

You can also buy Ashes from Charon's shop, and some NPCs do give them as a reward for progressing their characters.

I'd be surprised if you find yourself struggling for Ashes as you progress through the game though, as there are multiple different avenues to source the item, and it's never too far away if you're ever running low.

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 Make sure to clear our Hades 2 homepage as well, as we've got everything you need to beat Headmistress Hecate, and the rundown of how the game runs on Steam Deck.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
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