Gloomhaven Ultimate Cragheart Guide

The perfect guide for beginners, and experienced players too, looking to dominate with the Cragheart! I’ve played Gloomhaven for 100’s of hours and I have a popular Youtube Channel with 100+ Gloomhaven strategy videos. Make sure you check it out for tons of great content!

The Cragheart is one of the best classes in the game from a balance perspective and from a fun perspective and is one of my most fun classes. Check out this video where I rank all 22 classes in Gloomhaven to see which tier your favorite classes fall into!

The Cragheart is a bit of a jack of all trades. You have a lot of playstyle options and with a hand size of 11 you have a very high level of flexibility. The Cragheart is also great at messing with monster AI and targeting by placing obstacles and changing the nature of the battlefield, however placing obstacles and dealing with the Cragheart’s extremely poor initiative is going to take some skill and planning!

Remember: You cannot play obstacles in doorways! You can never completely block off part of the map.

Also if you are more visual and would prefer to watch my guide on Youtube here is the video

Level 1 Card Picks

Crater – This top attack is pretty standard for power and range at level 1. It is pretty easy for us to empower earth so the push can be used quite often and to nice effect, shoving monsters into traps or out of attack range. The bottom of this card isn’t great but can be useful at certain times to pull off a jump move and to do some extra damage. I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you can get 3+ monsters as you have other powerful losses you would mostly prefer to play instead, but if you are pinned in a corner sometimes you will need to use this to escape.

Rumbling Advance – 4 heal at level 1 is powerful but that power is offset somewhat by range 2 which is below average. The initiative at 29 is our 2nd fastest at level 1 and helps us to go first when we need to, although we would definitely prefer something lower! The bottom move 2 and all adjacent allies and enemies suffer 1 damage is quite nice though and I frequently use it to soften up shielded enemies when I decide it’s beneficial to be in melee range.

Unstable Upheaval – The top of Unstable Upheaval can be quite a powerful level 1 loss, especially in 4 players. Remember that if you consume earth it is all counted as a melee attack, which means the bottom of Forceful Storm can be used with this and you can do insane damage! Normally I don’t like double losses like this but because of initiative 13 we absolutely have to take this card no matter what effects it has. The bottom, another loss can be situationally powerful but really you will only use it when things go terribly and you are trying to save the life of an ally or maybe even your own. Try to keep this card around for a decent chunk of the scenario so you can rely on that 13 initiative, however if you can hit 3+ enemies at any time with the top go ahead and use it. Using your loss cards when they are most effective is generally preferred, even though it may cost you longevity. There is some really neat math and insights on when you play loss cards that I cover off in this Ultimate Stamina Guide video so make sure to watch it!

Earthen Clod – The top of this card is not overly powerful but it is quite useful. 5 range is very helpful in hitting monsters before they can get close and if you consume earth you can use this to immobilize the monster which could potentially stop a melee monster from moving into range to attack. Once in a while this may even allow you to pin a ranged monster where they stand stopping them from attacking as well. We actually have a pretty tough time getting experience so cards like this and Crater are quite helpful to allow us to level up. The initiative at 38 is also ok for us, even though it’s getting a bit slow. Be very careful about always gambling on initiatives like this as it can get you into trouble. I talk more about this in my 9 Essential Tips New Players Must Know Video. The bottom heal 2 is also really nice as we very often like to stand still and make ranged attacks and this is a nice flexible heal that we can use on ourselves or our allies.

Forceful Storm – The top of Forceful Storm is a very powerful loss attack and is the kind of card that can change the flow of the game by dishing out decent damage and by stopping enemies from attacking. Don’t forget that ranged monsters who are disarmed focus like a melee monster and will still move right towards their target! The bottom of this card is quite a powerful effect as well and is great for something like Unstable Upheaval top, Avalanche top or even reusable cards like Heaving Swing or Crushing Grasp. However you have to be very careful with your initiative as pairing Forceful Storm with cards like Heaving Swing means you will have middling initiative and no clue whether monsters are going before or after you.

Massive Boulder – A great top attack and it empowers earth? Yep, sign me up! In 4 player games, where there are more monsters, this card easily does 5+ dmg and some of it is suffer damage which cannot be stopped by shields. 87 Initiative is our latest and is great for when we want to go slow and you should sometimes be going slow. Don’t get caught in the trap of always gambling with middling initiative. The bottom move 4 is just a nice solid move for a level 1 card.

Heaving Swing – The top of Heaving Swing is a nice attack with a push 1 and a very nice upside where you can push the target into in 1 or more obstacles causing suffer 2 damage each time. Remember suffer damage cannot be reduced by shield so great for tough shielded enemies. It also pairs well with something like Forceful Storm bottom except that the initiative makes it difficult to go before enemies so make sure you account for that by having enough hp or by using the combo against really slow monsters where 53 initiative is enough to go before them consistently. The bottom is also really nice to power up ranged attacks and remember the +1 applies to every attack so if you hit 5 monsters with Dirt Tornado it’s worth 5 extra damage!

Backup Ammunition – The top of this card is pretty powerful but BEWARE this card can be a bit of a TRAP card as it can be fairly awkward to play and you risk losing charges if you make ranged attacks when there are is only 1 valid target. When using any ranged attack be very careful when you are planning your turns with your allies that there will be 2 monsters for you to hit otherwise you will consume a charge. Or if there is only going to be one monster left use a melee attack so that Backup Ammunition doesn’t activate. Remember too that there is opportunity cost when playing a top action that doesn’t actively do damage so remember that when playing this for the top. This card combos really well though with Massive Boulder and Blind Destruction as you will be able to hit multiple monsters and make them suffer damage each time. The final part about the top is that when you use it with a card like Dirt Tornado you do not recast the whole effect, you simply add 1 more hex to it! The bottom is ok, just a standard 3 move.

Dirt Tornado – The top of this card can be very powerful when you have earth to consume and you pair it with the bottom of Heaving Swing but again pay close attention to your card combo initiative! This top is one of the best cards in the game to enhance. Put curse on it and you will be able to dominate pretty much every scenario as you have a massive AOE curse that you can use every single rest cycle. This card is so easily abuseable it has a name – Cursenado! Check out this video where I talk about it and why it basically BREAKS THE GAME. The bottom is ok, just a standard 3 move which is fine for level 1.

Crushing Grasp – Top is a decent attack but immobilize is usually more effective when you can go quickly so pair this with a fast card to immobilize a melee monster first and then move out of harm’s way(you will need to have gone late the turn before to be in adjacent position most likely, or the monster may have hit you last turn). Empowering earth is also really nice for us and the bottom loot 1 is ok to help us get some extra coin, even though we won’t use it often.

Avalanche – The top of Avalanche is a very nice powerful attack that is great for when we are in close and need to dish out some big damage, although the initiative at 75 is a bit slow. The bottom is also very interesting and is our primary way of placing obstacles until level 4. When placing obstacles be very careful around as to your positioning. We don’t have any move on the top of a card until level 4’s Kinetic Assault and so you will need to be in the right spot the turn before you play this card. Pay really close attention to what enemies you have and whether they are melee, ranged or flying and if you place obstacles the right way you can very often make melee enemies waste a turn going around, or attack a different target than they would normally.

Current Hand at Level 1


Rock Tunnel – The top of Rock Tunnel is pretty bad. Using a top action to simply destroy an obstacle is almost never worth it; just go around with a bottom move and use a top to attack. Always consider the opportunity cost of a card when you play it and this basically stops you from attacking for a round. Once in a while this can be useful but the majority of the time it is not. The bottom move 5 jump and immobilize is actually pretty good but very situational and because it is a loss, and it is paired with this very situational and mostly useless top, it really drops in value. Let’s say a good opportunity doesn’t present itself for multiple rest cycles to use the bottom action. The top action is also very situational and you may not want to use it either. This leaves you with a card that must be used for its basic action multiple rest cycles, which is not very helpful.

Opposing Strike – The top of Opposing Strike is very difficult to pull off and when you do put yourself in that type of position very often you are going to be getting attacked more than you want as you are basically sandwiched by enemies. The bottom is decently powerful but doesn’t really align with what we are trying to do, which is kill monsters without taking a lot of damage. If you use all 6 retaliates it’s worth 12 damage but to dish out that damage you will need to take 6 attacks. At lower level enemies attack at about 2-3 so you are going to have to take 12-18 damage to do that 12 retaliate damage. If you are more focused on healing, or have an ally that can heal or shield you this card can actually be quite good, but in a standard build I would leave it behind.

Nature’s Lift – The top of Nature’s Lift is a nice strong heal, but healing is the worst ability in Gloomhaven so even though it’s a good heal we won’t very often want to use it to heal. Doing damage is almost always preferable to healing in Gloomhaven and it’s how you really beat the game on the highest difficulties. Here is a gameplay video of me beating some insane level content! The bottom is just not strong enough to play for a loss and I would recommend basically never playing this bottom. First you have to have air to consume and then all it does is add range.

Level 1 Summary

The #1 problem you are going to have with the Cragheart is managing his extremely poor initiative. So how do you get around this? Well first of all we are going to make sure to take our fastest cards like Unstable Upheaval and Rumbling Advance. Next when you are making plans do not get caught up in gambling with your initiative. Cards like Earthen Clod with initiative 38 are very often going to get you in trouble if your plans rely on you going first. Instead make plans that don’t require you to go first and often try to go late one turn, then fast the next so you can avoid some attacks and then attack quickly to kill monsters before they can get another attack.

Also Cragheart looks like a tank and a melee class but you should be using more ranged than melee as you don’t have much to protect yourself, outside of reactively healing. However, you do have 11 cards in hand so if you do need to be in close you can occasionally lose a card to mitigate damage without it completely wrecking the scenario.

Card Picks Levels 2-9

Now we are going to go level by level and talk about which cards to pick and which cards to remove so that you have a nice powerful template to reference as you level up. Make sure to bookmark this page so you can come back to reference it whenever you need! Also I have done a video guide on every single class in Gloomhaven, Jaws of the Lion and Forgotten Circles so if you want check out this playlist! Don’t worry the thumbnails in this play list are spoiler free so just select the one you are currently looking for!

Level 2 Cards

Sentient Growth – The top of this card is pretty awkward although if things work out perfectly it can be fairly decent. Attack 2 with a 3 hex AOE pattern is about average power for a level 2 reusable card but just remember to use the healing there must be at least 1 monster targeted. This question has been specifically covered by the creator of the game Isaac Childres. Initiative is ok as its reasonably late and can allow us to go last. The bottom of Sentient Growth is actually pretty good as long as you don’t worry about getting the attack off and just use it as a move and a free heal that can remove wound and poison quite effectively.

Explosive Punch – Top is not going to be very good as enemies don’t really group up well around obstacles and we have to move up and melee the obstacle. This is of course much easier to do with 3 hex tree obstacles, etc, vs 1 hex obstacles. The bottom though is pretty useful for us to grab some extra move and we are a little light on move right now so it’s quite helpful

Level 2 Card Choice – Explosive Punch. We really need this 28 initiative at this point as our 2 other fastest are 13 and 29, which is abysmal. I can’t state how important it is to have some decently quick initiatives and we would almost take this card just for the initiative. Luckily it has a nice 4 move on the bottom and so we are happy to take it and play it almost exclusively for the bottom and for the initiative. If you are in a 4 player party and you are playing more of a ranged damage dealer though you can take Sentient Growth.

Card to Remove – Crushing Grasp. Explosive Punch gives us more move and better initiative and more burst damage although we do lose a little bit of longevity as we have removed a reusable attack. Still though we have enough other attacks that we will mostly use this card for the initiative and the move.

Our Current Hand at Level 2 looks like this:

Level 3 Cards

Blunt Force – The top of Blunt Force gives us a nice strong single target attack when we consume Earth, which we can easily make. This is also a nice top to pair with the bottom of Forceful Storm for a strong 10 damage melee attack. Initiative at 21 is also amazing for us. The bottom is not great but can help us to get some xp and add a little bit of damage via retaliate.

Clear the Way – The top of Clear the Way is quite awkard. To utilize it’s potential you need to first be adjacent to an obstacle and then you need to consume Earth and have monsters grouped around a hex. However, even though it’s awkward it can be quite powerful, especially when you are playing 4 players and there are more enemies. Also it is basically our best XP generator, very often netting 2 XP with each use. The bottom is ok and having a move 5 with jump is pretty good for getting you out of a sticky situation where you are pinned in by enemies, but overall you don’t usually want to just destroy traps and obstacles. Most often you will want obstacles around to push monsters into with Heaving Swing or something similar. Same with traps you would way rather push them into a trap with Crater vs just destroying the trap for no effect.

Level 3 Card Choice – Blunt Force. This is actually really close and you can go either way, however I am going to recommend Blunt Force for a few different reasons. First, the initiative, for the Cragheart, is amazing. 21 at this point will be our second fastest card and I can’t stress how much easier this makes your life. Next it allows us to have single target burst damage for tough elites or bosses and, at level 3, 8 dmg is pretty strong, and it’s 10 dmg with Forceful Storm bottom which is way more viable since we can play it with initiative 21. Also Blunt Force is way better at 2 player counts and about equal at 3/4 players with maybe Clear the Way slightly better at 4, if you have the right party and setup.

Card to Remove – Earthen Clod. Attack 2 is starting to become a lot weaker and even though we are going to miss the bottom 2 heal that is also starting to become pretty weak. we can still heal with the top of Rumbling Advance and that heal is twice as powerful, even though it takes the place of a top attack. I recommend healing with Rumbling Advance in between rooms when you are using a bottom move and then the opportunity cost is a lot lower.

Our Current Hand at Level 3 looks like this:

Level 4 Cards

Rock Slide – The top of Rock Slide is insanely good. Remember though that a monster can only suffer damage from it one time, so you can never do more than 2 suffer damage per use to a single monster. Still though because it is 4 range and you can place the rocks anywhere within that range you can basically always hit every monster in the room and do 6+ unblockable damage every single time. The utility this card has is phenomenal and it is absolutely simple to use. It is also great for generating XP and earth. The bottom is actually very good in its own right although the top is so strong you will only use the bottom in a life or death situation.

Kinetic Assault – The top of Kinetic Assault is our first top move action and it allows us to attack 4 which at level 4 is about average or maybe a little below average. The initiative though is amazing at 19 and is our 2nd best overall initiative. The bottom retaliate 3 range 3 is ok, but a loss retaliate is somewhat risky as sometimes monsters heal, or shield up and do not attack. If you ever do plan to play a loss retaliate card make sure you have a good backup plan in case monsters don’t cooperate.

Level 4 Card Choice – Rock Slide is the card we take with no hesitation. It is one of the better cards in the game and the second best overall for the Cragheart.

Card to Remove – Avalanche. With Rock Slide we can now attack and create 3 obstacles with ease. This completely outshines the awkward obstacle creation of Avalanche. Also we just took Blunt Force, which is another loss attack at level 3, and so we need to balance the scales a bit and make sure we don’t load up with too many top losses.

Our Current Hand at Level 4 looks like this:

Level 5 Cards

Petrify – The top of Petrify is ok, but a bit situational. We can’t target elites or bosses with this and so sometimes that can limit your options. However this type of card scales really well and the higher level you are the better the card is. A high level normal enemy can get up above 20 hp so this could theoretically be worth that much. However it will rarely be that good and is worth quite a bit less, especially if you are using this at level 5 which would be scenario level 3 on normal difficulty. The bottom is ok, but immobilizing AFTER you move is far worse than immobilizing BEFORE you move. Normally you need to be able to immobilize and then get away from melee monsters so that the immobilize works like a weak stun. The only way this card can work is if you use something like Kinetic Assault top move to get away after you move in and immobilize with this card. Remember though that if you do move in and immobilize ranged monsters they will at least be at disadvantage when attacking you.

Stone Pummel – The top is funny because if you do get into the right position for this card to be really effective then you are probably going to get annihilated by attacks. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do in Gloomhaven it’s throw yourself into the middle of a bunch of enemies unless you have shield or you are going to kill them before they mangle you. This card does neither of those things for you. It does at least muddle but that is equivalent to 1 shield at the most so it’s not a lot of protection at higher levels. The bottom of Stone Pummel is just awkward and is very often not worth the loss. Sure it can add a decent amount of damage but very often the monster you want to attack won’t be close enough to an obstacle to use a charge, which means targeting the right monsters is quite often a pain. If this was for ranged attacks it would be quite a bit better. Another way it can be wasted is if the monster you want to kill is beside an obstacle, and you are forced to attack while adjacent to the obstacle, you will consume a charge even if the monster only has 1 hp.

Level 5 Card Choice – At level 5 neither choice is good for us as they just have too many problems and neither helps us in the quest for decent initiative so we go back and take Kinetic Assault. If you are taking the Cragheart at very high levels, say 7+ Petrify top is usually worth playing so you could theoretically take it.

Card to Remove – This is where it gets really tough as every card you have right now is good and has a purpose. However, we have to narrow it down and the card that makes the most sense to remove right now is Crater. The push 2 is nice but Massive Boulder and Forceful Storm work way better with Backup Ammunition. This does limit us a little bit when it comes to ranged attacks so if you are in a party where you play more ranged then you can remove Explosive Punch. Just be aware though that when you remove Explosive Punch it’s a pretty big blow to your movement. You also might be thinking at this point, why not remove Backup Ammunition? Because we are going to be using it with Blind Destruction later on and these 2 cards are crazy together! If you want to you can swap out Backup Ammunition for a few levels but I prefer to keep it in and mostly use it with Massive Boulder as they work so well together and you can easily use up all the charges in a scenario.

Our Current Hand at Level 5 looks like this:

Level 6 Cards

Dig Pit – The top of this is just abysmal, for any level of card, let alone a level 6 card. Enemies do their absolute best to avoid traps and they are mostly useful for just pathing enemies around and messing with their focus. The bottom move 2 invisible is pretty decent as invisibility is overpowered. Watch this video on house rules to see how to nerf invisibility.

Cataclysm – This top is really powerful and when combined with the bottom of Forceful Storm and consuming earth is is an attack 8 on 6 hexes. You will pretty much never hit 6 enemies with this so 48 damage is a bit of an overstatement but you can consistently hit 3 monsters with this, maybe 4, in 4 player and so its worth easy 24+ damage each time. On top of that, it immobilizes monsters(and allies – sorry team!) which is not amazing but sometimes useful to pin ranged monsters in place or stop melee monsters from attacking. The initiative while not great is very good and 26 is going to allow you to go first often enough that playing this with Forceful Storm is going to be amazing the vast majority of the time. Also the bottom move is very good. We empower a lot of earth and so getting 6 move with this is easy.

Level 6 Card Choice – Not even close. Dig Pit’s bottom is nice but not nearly as nice as both halves of Cataclysm.

Card to Remove –Explosive Punch. It’s always hard to remove a card you have taken recently but Explosive Punch served its purpose by giving us reasonable initiative and some extra move and now it’s overstaying its welcome. Cataclysm has equal or better move, a way better top and slightly better initiative.

Our Current Hand at Level 6 looks like this:

Level 7 Cards

Brutal Momentum – Brutal Momentum top is poorly worded and because of that there is official errata which changes how it works. Normally when you push you have to push into an empty hex. If this was the case for Brutal Momentum it would not be very effective so instead you get to choose to push into an obstacle or wall even if there is a valid empty hex. This means it is very easy to get 7 damage out of this card(attack 3+4 suffer damage) and if you have anything that can increase push it becomes a very good card. Don’t forget though that if the enemy is flying you can only push them into a wall to get the damage. The bottom of this card is also pretty good, although it does have anti-synergy with Dirt Tornado as you can already consume earth to power up Dirt Tornado. Functionally this means for Dirt Tornado, the bottom of Heaving Swing is just as good. But still, if you have Backup Ammunition out and you play this bottom with something like Massive Boulder you are going to have a very powerful multi-target ranged attack.

MeteorPay close attention to the wording on the top of this card because it specifies “empty” hexes. Empty hexes have no figures, tokens(money or otherwise), or overlay tiles of any kind(except corridors, open doors and pressure plates) present. What does this mean? A single money token in a hex can stop you from playing this card and especially at higher player counts, where this card would shine, it can be almost impossible to play the card due to monsters, allies, obstacles, and tokens. As well, obstacle rules dictate that you can’t block off the map completely which is another hindrance to properly playing this top. Because of all the restrictions very often there is simply no legal spot for you to place the obstacle in the entire room. And often the legal spot can be completely ineffective. On top of all that all 3 hexes of the obstacle have to be within that 3 range. This card has more caveats than most legal documents. The bottom of Meteor though is pretty good. Move 4 jump is always going to be nice and useful.

Level 7 Card Choice – The changes to Brutal Momentum push it over the top as a reusable and consistent 7 damage attack, with 4 of the damage being unblockable. To top it off the bottom can power up our ranged attacks and makes Blind Destruction utterly devastating. Meteor top is far too awkward, even though I love its initiative and the bottom move 4 jump.

Card to Remove – Heaving Swing. Brutal Momentum top and bottom are now straight upgrades to Heaving Swing so this is an easy choice.

Our Current Hand at Level 7 looks like this:

Level 8 Cards

Rocky End – The top of this card can get some pretty insane damage numbers but at times it can also be very underwhelming. It also requires setup so often you will need to play Rockslide the turn before and then follow it up with this card. If you can get 5+ obstacles it’s probably worth it. The bottom is pretty decent as well. Non loss move 6, even with this caveat, is pretty good and you will often be able to end up near an obstacle.

Lumbering Bash – The top of this card is a straight upgrade to Kinetic Assault but it has terrible initiative and that really detracts from the value of the card. If you play Kinetic Assault top with Forceful Storm bottom you mostly go before monsters. When you go before monsters you have a chance to kill them before they attack which means you are preventing damage as well. Nothing is better than quickly killing a monster and stopping them from attacking. If you take one thing away from this guide it’s that damage in Gloomhaven is king. The bottom of Lumbering Bash is ok but problematic. If you are low on health you don’t want to take 5 turns to get back up to full health. And if you are not too low then you have potential to waste the card as its charges will activate regardless what you or your parties hp is. Yes this can be used on allies but range 2 is a bit of a pain. That being said, in a 2 player party where you have limited healing this bottom is actually useful.

Level 8 Card Choice – At this point we are going to take Lumbering Bash, but an equally good choice is not taking either of these cards. For Rocky End to be better than Blunt Force we need to consistently destroy 5 obstacles. Sometimes you will be able to destroy more and sometimes less so to me the power comparison to Blunt Force is pretty comparable. To get those really crazy turns you usually have to play Rock Slide at least once the turn before, which means it will take an additional turn of setup over Blunt Force. The final piece as to why I don’t recommend taking Rocky End over Blunt Force is the initiative. 21 is drastically better than 37 and makes all the difference in the world when trying to combine with the bottom of Forceful Storm. So why am I saying Lumbering Bash is no better than keeping our current hand? Well, simply put, the initiative. We already have a bunch of 80+ initiative cards for when we want to go late and losing our 19 initiative card Kinetic Assault makes us way slower overall. We can get around this but you can totally forego both of these level 8 cards and be just as powerful.

Card to Remove – Kinetic Assault

Our Current Hand at Level 8 looks like this:

Level 9 Cards

Pulverize – The top of Pulverize is actually fairly decent and can be situationally good, although I wouldn’t consider it powerful for a level 9 card. Even if this card wasn’t a loss it would not be ridiculously overpowered for level 9. The bottom is also not very good. First, if you are in a great position to hit a bunch of monsters with the first attack, why would you need a move 5 jump for the second attack? The card does not make a lot of sense because if the jump is useful then the first attack was probably ineffective, and vice versa. This card would have been way better served being two powerful single target attacks and then it might have been worth it.

Blind Destruction – And now is the time to break your game and it’s the reason I didn’t take out Backup Ammunition a few levels ago. The top of Blind Destruction is simply insane and will totally break your game. It is one of the best cards out there, especially when combined with Backup Ammunition. Let’s do some quick math. Backup Ammo is already out and played for the top. Now play Blind Destruction top with Brutal Momentum bottom and consume Earth. Let’s say your target has 2 adjacent monsters and they are all adjacent to each other. That is attack 6 on Monster 1, suffer 6 on Monster 2 and suffer 6 on Monster 3. Now Backup Ammunition procs and we have attack 6 on Monster 2, suffer 6 on Monster 1, suffer 6 on Monster 3, for 36 damage, 24 of which is unblockable and if you save your charges of Backup Ammunition for this top action then it is game over for any scenario, even on the hardest difficulty. The bottom of Blind Destruction is actually quite good but you will play it for the top the vast majority of the time.

Level 9 Card Choice –

Card to Remove – Massive Boulder. Blind Destruction is just drastically better and we want to save the charges of Backup Ammunition for it so we take out Massive Boulder.

Our Current Hand at Level 9 looks like this:

Playing Strategy

As we move through the levels with the Cragheart we have a good mix of melee and ranged attacks. Depending on your party composition you may spend more time in the back or more time in front but don’t forget to utilize late initiative on card like Lumbering Bash to move in late and attack after all monsters have finished their turns and then pull a big combo out the next turn like Unstable Upheaval top with Forceful Storm bottom. This will allow you to attack multiple times in a row without the monsters getting a chance to attack you back and is one of the main keys of the Cragheart.

Backup Ammunition is a trap card, even though it is good so just be very careful that you keep melee attacks around for those situations where there is only 1 monster so you don’t waste charges. If you waste even 1 charge of it at lower levels it is not worth it as on average the extra attack will be worth 3. Now you might say to me but that is still 9 extra damage for a level 1 loss and that would be true, however it is delayed damage and that means it will take you multiple actions to apply that damage. It is far better to do 9 damage with one action.

Once you have Blind Destruction, Backup Ammunition becomes insanely powerful and playing them together is ridiculously powerful. Make sure you move the difficulty up because the game is about to become easy for you.

If you can create obstacles properly with Avalanche and Rock slide you can really mess with melee monsters and make them waste turns moving around obstacles before they can attack. If you can do this consistently it really adds up and will make scenarios far easier for you and your party. Obstacles are your unique mechanic so make sure that you understand how monster AI works. Here is a video of my favorite Gloomhaven resources where you can learn the ins and outs of monster focus rules and more!


Perks are pretty straightforward so take them in this order.

  • Replace -1 with +1 x3
  • Add one +2 muddle x2
  • Add one +1 immobilize
  • Remove 4 +0 cards x1 – Always make sure you make your deck better before removing all of the +0’s, so generally this perk should be taken after you have removed -1’s and added in some +1’s and 2’s. This applies to all classes.
  • Ignore negative item effects x1 – This becomes better the further on you go especially at mid-high levels where you may have to be in melee range more often and you need some protection from armor.
  • Ignore negative scenario effects
  • Take anything else that makes sense for your build but try to stay away from rolling modifiers as they can cause problems with advantage. Check out the 20 most common rules mistakes. It will be worth your time, I promise!

Starting Items

Because Gloomhaven is a game about mysteries I will only talk about Prosperity 1 items here. Let’s go slot by slot for the best items for the Cragheart! If you want to see videos on how items work and which ones are best check out this playlist!

Head Slot – Eagle Eye Goggles. These are great for the Cragheart to use with Dirt Tornado, Forceful Storm, Cataclysm or even something like Avalanche top to make sure you don’t miss on your big loss attacks.

Chest Slot – Nothing is great for you at early levels so choose Hide Armor if you are playing in 2 player game, or Cloak of Invisibility if playing with more. Going invisible in a 2 player party and leaving your partner alone to take hits is not very nice! If you do find yourself taking the Hide Armor you should move the ignore negative item effects perk up in priority.

Hand(s) Slot – At early levels take Piercing Bow so you can make sure to maximize a Dirt Tornado on a large group of shielded enemies. Once you get Cataclysm at level 6 the War Hammer is insane! Being able to stun a 6 hex area is amazing.

Small Item Slot – Minor Stamina potion. Always the recommended starting small slot item, it allows you to do crazy broken things like play Blind Destruction 2 turns in a row. If you can’t buy it because other classes have the item, get a Minor Power Potion so that you can play big Dirt Tornados.

Legs Slot – Boots of Striding. You will definitely a little extra move at times with the Cragheart and these are a great item for that.


Add Curse to Dirt Tornado. This is one of the strongest enhancements in the game and will make every game super easy by allowing you to AOE curse and fill the monster attack modifier deck with misses. Google Cursenado and you will see!

Add +1 move to Rumbling Advance bottom. Rumbling Advance stays with you the majority of your journey so enhancing that move 2 on the bottom is cheap and effective. You can also increase the power of the top heal and add +1 to it!

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