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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!

Other Articles of Mine You May Like

Gloomhaven VS Jaws of the Lion

Gloomhaven Sleeving Guide

How to Play Gloomhaven with 5 Players

Ultimate Spellweaver Guide

Can You Discard Cards or Resources in Catan?

Catan can get pretty competitive and invariably someone trying to avoid the Robber asks if they can discard cards(resources), give cards away or throw cards away. Let’s quickly dive into how the game works and in what situations you can or cannot discard your cards.

So just to be clear, in Catan you are not legally allowed to discard cards, give away cards or throw away cards unless you have 8+ cards and a 7 is rolled. Being able to discard, give away or throw away cards would allow you to preemptively avoid the Robber and creates a host of other problems. Discarding cards freely promotes King Making(helping one player to win over another) causes a lot of hurt feelings and is not in the general spirit of the game.

The Robber

In Catan, anytime a 7 is rolled any player who has 8 or more cards must discard half of their resource cards rounded down. You do not randomly discard the cards, you get to choose which cards to discard.

When the Robber is rolled if the current player who rolled the robber has more than 7 cards they must discard BEFORE they steal a card. This is very clear in the rules.

Can you steal from yourself? Sometimes stealing a resource card may put you over the 7 card limit and you may not want to steal the card. You cannot steal from yourself but you can place the robber on a hex that is not adjacent to any other player thereby making sure you don’t have to steal a resource from anyone and avoiding going over the 7 card hand limit.

Trading Resources in Catan

Trading resources is an integral part of Catan and is one of the ways you can get resources you don’t currently have. If you are worried about having too many cards you can do a trade where you trade away more resources than you receive in return. For example, if you have 8 cards in your hand and you have a lot of wool but you don’t have any brick you could offer to trade someone 2 wool for a single brick thereby bringing your hand size down to 7.

Can you trade when it is not your turn? On your turn you may trade resources with anyone at the table but when it is not your turn your may only trade with the player whose turn it currently is.

You are also not allowed to trade the same resource type for another resource of the same type. Example you cannot trade 3 brick for 1 brick.

Can you make deals for resources later? You cannot make a deal with someone for future considerations like them giving you resources at a later date.

Can you trade resources to buy services like avoiding the Robber? You cannot make any deals or trades that involve the Robber or any other aspect that is not trading resource cards.

My Favorite Catan Expansions!

Expansions can really increase your enjoyment of Catan. These are my 3 favorite so make sure to check them out!

Play Catan with 5-6 Players!

Catan Seafarers Board Game Expansion

Catan Explorers and Pirates Board Game Expansion

Giving Resources Away For Free

You absolutely cannot give resource cards away for free in Settlers of Catan. This is covered directly in the rulebook.

Do You Discard Development Cards?

You do not discard development cards. After you have played a development card keep it in your area so that you can keep track of it for longest road and victory points.

When discarding because of the Robber you do not need to discard development cards. Development cards are separate from your hand of resource cards and do not count against the 7 card hand limit.

Do you reshuffle development cards once you run out or the deck is empty? Once all cards in the development deck have been drawn you can no longer play development cards. You do not reshuffle development cards ever.

Remember that you cannot play a development card in the turn that you purchased it, unless it is a victory point. Victory points are not played, they are revealed immediately when you draw one. To play any development card, except for a victory point, it must be in your hand at the beginning of your turn.

Other Articles of Mine You May Like

Gloomhaven VS Jaws of the Lion

Gloomhaven Sleeving Guide

How to Play Gloomhaven with 5 Players

Gloomhaven Ultimate Spellweaver Guide

The perfect guide for beginners, and experienced players too, looking to dominate with the Spellweaver! 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!

This Spellweaver guide will allow you to have a nice powerful synergized build with card picks and card removals for every single level. It is not a min-maxed build but it is powerful with nice flexibility and some margin for error and it will allow you to beat Gloomhaven on the hardest levels.

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

Level 1 Card Picks

Frost Armor – Early on we need the top attack of Frost Armor so we have another nice reusable top attack other than Mana Bolt. Even though we can get back Fire Orbs and Impaling Eruption with Reviving Ether having enough reusable top attacks is crucial. The initiative of this card also helps us a lot as the Spellweaver struggles with quick initiative early on and we need this and Mana Bolt to go fast. The bottom of this card is not too bad but mostly we will use it for the top. Remember you can always lose a card to mitigate all damage from one source so really this only works on 1 extra source of damage. The Spellweaver is generally in the back slinging ranged attacks so not very often will you use it, unless you are playing 2 player and need to protect your Mystic Ally summon. Also whenever you play a card you have to account for the opportunity cost. When you play the bottom of Frost Armor it stops you from moving into the right position with a move card or it stops you from doing more damage by playing the bottom attack of Flame Strike.

Reviving Ether – Reviving Ether is a core card for the Spellweaver and you can never leave home without it, you must take it 100% of the time. The class is designed around this card and is the reason why the Spellweaver only has 8 cards so if you don’t take it you will have seriously impacted longevity. You will use this card for the amazing move 4 jump on the bottom until you are low on cards, then play it and get back up to full strength. Whenever you short rest make sure that you throw away any card that is NOT Reviving Ether. You cannot risk losing this card so if another card comes up DO NOT take the point of damage to redraw because your scenario can come to an end quite quickly if you have to lose this card and not get the opportunity to play it and refresh.

Mana Bolt – Mana Bolt doesn’t look like much but it’s amazing and for one reason: It is your go first card when you need to go before other players or the monsters. Dealing with middling initiative often means your plans go awry when monsters go when you don’t expect them to and having a card where you can reliably go first most of the time – unless a Scoundrel is around – is crucial. The top attack is not powerful but is ok and is fine at level 1 and the btm heal is reasonably useful but overall this card is taken because of the initiative.

Fire Orbs – At lower levels Fire Orbs is a very good card. The top attack is quite powerful; 9 damage at level 1 is great and if you can add a little bit of attack to this card it adds up fast. It is also nice and flexible because it is not an AOE pattern like Cold Fire, or Icy Blast so it has great ease of use when trying to hit the maximum number of targets. The fact that it creates fire is nice and pairs well with Flame Strike and Cold Fire, even though you can only use it twice per scenario. The bottom move 3 is just a nice standard move that you can use until you fire off that big top attack. I think a lot of beginning players worry about longevity but if you can hit 3 targets with Fire Orbs make sure you go ahead and do it. Losses should be played when you can use them to maximum effect. Here is a video I created on managing stamina that will teach you a lot about managing loss cards: Ultimate Stamina Guide

Aid From the Ether – Summons in Gloomhaven can be problematic unless they have range. Fortunately the Mystic Ally has range and its 3 damage attack is quite powerful at lower and middle levels. The top heal 3 is fine but you should be trying to play this summon early on so that you can up your total damage output for the scenario. Your average damage at level 1 is probably 4-5 per turn and so adding a 3 damage attack from the summon every turn is going to be a powerful boost to your overall damage output. One word of warning though in 2 player the summon is a bit harder to keep alive so it may change how you play as you will need to adjust to keep the summon alive and from taking a hit. This is much easier to do in 4 player with more allies to take aggro and stand in front of monsters.

Impaling Eruption – Our second very powerful loss attack at level 1. This card can hit 4 targets and you can hit them in any pattern. You can zig zag, you can go in a circle, you can hit in a square. Remember though because this is a ranged attack if you are adjacent to any of them you are at disadvantage. The move 4 on the bottom is a nice strong move for level 1 and will help you get around.

Flame strike – This is a good reusable top attack and if you play it after Fire Orbs you will be able to wound the monsters. The range 2 is a bit of a pain but you can usually work around it. The bottom attack 2 is also nice because you can pair it with a top attack to do burst damage and up your turn damage output. Doing damage in Gloomhaven is king because a dead monster can’t damage you! Here’s a video of Essential Beginner Tips that will seriously up your game in just a short few minutes!

Hardened Spikes – The top is super situational but can be very powerful if you plan it right and talk to your party making sure they don’t move, can tank the hits, etc. What you really need this card for though is the bottom move. Fire Orbs and Impaling Eruption mostly get used for their tops, although you can use one of them for the bottom in your first rest cycle. So why take this over Crackling Air? First Crackling Air top is not very good. It is at best, when we consume air, worth 8 extra damage and our only way to create air at low levels is Ride the Wind which is a situational loss. Also the bottom of Crackling Air is retaliate and for the Spellweaver retaliate is not going to be very good, especially at lower levels because we are just too squishy; 6 hp is not a lot to take attacks with.

Current Hand at Level 1


Crackling Air – The top is just not that good. You must have air, and consume it when this card is played to make it even somewhat worthwhile. Never play this card for +1 damage per attack! that is not a very good effect for a loss card. And if you compare against something like Fire Orbs which can be 9+ dmg this is maximum 8 and then its 8 delayed damage. Delayed damage is no good, you want to do direct damage and kill monsters so that they don’t even get a chance to attack you. When you play cards that have delayed damage you are not directly killing monsters. The bottom, as I explained with Hardened Spikes, is just slightly inferior due to us wanting shield over retaliate.

Ride the Wind – This card is not bad as sometimes it can be extremely useful in longer scenarios where you have a lot of distance to cover. Go and surprise your friends by doing a huge move and stealing a treasure chest from them! Make sure you have a Cloak of Invisibility though. The top loot 1 can be useful to sneak some treasure but often you won’t have a good opportunity as you are pretty slow initiative wise and often you will be in the back making ranged attacks, which means other classes are closer than you are. If you do take Ride the Wind get sideboard Frost Armor.

Freezing Nova – The top of this card is situationally quite powerful even though it doesn’t make it into our hand. If you do want to use it go late the turn before and get into position near a bunch of melee monsters. Then the next turn go early, say with Mana Bolt or another card if you think 21 initiative from Freezing Nova will be enough, and attack immobilizing the monsters and using movement to move away so you don’t get attacked. The bottom of this card is awful. 4 heal for a loss is never going to be good.

Level 1 Summary

So for level 1 we have a range of cards that allow us some flexibility and give us balance to thrive in a variety of situations.

Low and High Initiative – It’s more important to be able to go fast but always make sure you have at least 1-2 cards that are 75+ so that you can go late when you need to. Beginning players often underestimate the power of changing up your initiative to manipulate monster AI or get yourself into position AFTER monsters attack so you can go fast the next turn and play cards that would otherwise be very difficult to use.

Loss Cards – Spellweaver can play more loss attacks than other classes due to Reviving Ether but we still have to make sure we don’t get too crazy and burn out early. Also be very careful when you get low on cards that you don’t get badly damaged and have to lose Reviving Ether(because it’s one of your only cards left in your hand) or burn 2 cards from your discard.

Non-Loss Cards – For longevity it’s important that we have a good mix of non-loss cards to balance out our loss cards.

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

Flashing Burst – Top is a solid, useful attack that creates an element for us. Initiative at 26 is another decent initiative that you will need so that you can have a good chance at going first. The bottom move 4 is nice as well as having multiple moves for the Spellweaver

Icy Blast – The top is a decent AOE but is functionally inferior to Fire Orbs and Impaling Eruption. Remember always focus on damage first and also cards like Fire Orbs and Impaling Eruption will hit as many, or more monsters on average vs most AOE patterns. The bottom of this card is ok but the main problem here is that both effects are situational and are losses. When you have a double loss card like this it is usually a problem unless both top and bottom actions are very powerful. If you don’t have an opportunity to use the top and there is nobody to heal with the bottom, this card will very often have to be used as a basic action in your first rest cycle and that means that your overall effectiveness in a scenario is reduced. Whenever you see a double loss card be very wary about taking it unless the losses are very powerful.

Level 2 Card Choice – Flashing Burst. Flashing burst has a solid top attack and a useful move 4 which will help us quite a bit. The initiative is also needed because of the card we are removing.

Card to Remove – Hardened Spikes. With Flashing Burst we have a better move, identical initiative and a better overall top so we don’t need Hardened Spikes anymore.

Our Current Hand at Level 2 looks like this:

Level 3 Cards

Cold Fire – Cold Fire is an amazing card! It is our second best card overall behind Inferno. Why is it so good? Well the top is repeatable 3 target AOE that can do some serious work by stunning multiple enemies and doing pretty decent damage as well! Also the bottom is awesome to use in the last few turns of a scenario to snag all of that sweet loot in the final room! At this exact point it is pretty tricky for us to use because we don’t have consistent non-loss element generation for fire and ice but don’t worry we will fix that shortly. If you do have access to items or allies that can produce ice and fire this card becomes even better!

Elemental Aid – This is a pretty good card but overall healing is the weakest ability in Gloomhaven as it is reactive and you are almost always better served by doing damage and killing monsters. The bottom if you can empower and consumer air regularly is very strong though and can prevent some serious damage to the party. Not worth it at all though if you don’t have air.

Level 3 Card Choice – Cold Fire is just too strong to take Elemental Aid.

Card to Remove – Frost Armor. We don’t need the top attack of Frost Armor anymore as we have now added 2 reusable top attacks at levels 2 & 3. We will suffer a little bit initiative-wise but we can fix that shortly.

Our Current Hand at Level 3 looks like this:

Level 4 Cards

Forked Beam – Forked beam has a decent repeatable top attack. It isn’t overly strong but it can be useful for us when there are multiple non-shielded enemies. Also we need the 20 initiative and the bottom 4 move is nice. Most new players don’t factor in that as you play you lose cards. Sometimes you end up having to burn a bunch of your move cards and that means your mobility at certain times later in the scenario may be seriously hampered. Having a little more move than you think you need is a nice way of making sure that you don’t end up basic moving 2 for the second half of the scenario.

Spirit of Doom – Another double loss, but the abilities aren’t really powerful enough unless you are close to max level. The top of Spirit of Doom is actually more powerful the higher level you are as it can instantly kill a normal monster and the higher level you are the more hp the monster will have, hence the damage of this card increases. NEVER play this card for a single curse. A single curse for a loss action is an extremely poor return and is absolute never worth it. The bottom of the card is somewhat similar as the higher level you are the higher level your allies will be and you can heal a pretty insane amount with this card in max level party.

Level 4 Card Choice – Take Forked Beam. It is not super powerful but it is useful and it helps us with longevity, initiative and move.

Card to Remove – Flame Strike. Forked beam does as much dmg, has better range and doesn’t need an element which will now be used by Cold Fire, and it gives us an XP.

Our Current Hand at Level 4 looks like this:

Level 5 Cards

Chromatic Explosion – Because this is a beginner guide I think Chromatic Explosion just makes your life so much easier. Play it for the bottom with the top of Fire Orbs and generate ice and fire for a next turn Cold Fire. And once you are level 6 and you start summoning your Burning Avatar it becomes so easy to create ice and fire and play a full power Cold fire. Play it for the top when you think your party can really use a lot of elements but mostly you are playing this for the bottom so you can get Cold Fire going easily.

Engulfed in Flames – If you can create ice consistently via items or party members, taking Engulfed in Flames can help you output more damage while creating the elements you need to buff up Cold Fire. The bottom retaliate ability can be powerful but only if you play a completely different type of Spellweaver. I created a CRAZY Spellweaver melee retaliate build so make sure to check it out.

Level 5 Card Choice – Take Chromatic Explosion. For 99% of players the ease of use and flexibility of Chromatic Explosion will be superior vs the theoretical optimum damage output from Engulfed in Flames. However if you can create ice easily you may want to take Engulfed in Flames.

Card to Remove – Impaling Eruption. To maximize the attack from Impaling Eruption we need to get close to monsters. It is less flexible than Fire Orbs and is harder to hit maximum targets. It also doesn’t empower an element that we need. You may have noticed we are moving away from our loss cards and you would be right! See down near the bottom for more explanation and strategy.

Our Current Hand at Level 5 looks like this:

Level 6 Cards

Living Torch – The top of Living Torch is a pretty good reusable attack and gives us a use for the light created by Flashing Burst. However we are mostly going to use this card for the bottom summon. So why would we use this when we have Aid From the Ether? Well first it has more movement so it will be able to keep up better. Next it has greater range. 3 range means it will stay further back than the Mystic Ally and will get itself into trouble far less often. And finally it empowers fire every single time it attacks. This is amazing for Cold Fire and Inferno. For Cold Fire having fire every single time you play it is worth 4-6 extra damage every single rest cycle. Not to mention the Burning Avatar attacks all adjacent monsters on death and that is just an extra bonus!

Frozen Night – Frozen night is good but it’s a bit awkward to play as it’s a melee attack. That being said it’s still a good card that can usually do 8-12 base damage and it empowers ice, which is nice. The bottom is also pretty good and I would say extremely good if you have at least some way to empower dark via items or allies. Invisibility is pretty overpowered!

Level 6 Card Choice – Take Living Torch. The summon is so good. Even if you don’t want to use the summon the top is quite good for us!

Card to Remove – Aid from the Ether. Keeping just 1 summon is enough as you only have an 8 card hand size and even though your stamina is good from Reviving Ether, it’s better to just have the 1 summon. Also the Burning Avatar is easier to keep alive.

Our Current Hand at Level 6 looks like this:

Level 7 Cards

Twin Restoration – Twin Restoration is better than most people give it credit for because it allows you to abuse certain loss cards more often. It works really well with this build. However in a standard build it is not really what you want as we are moving away from loss cards and we already have Reviving Ether. The bottom heal 3 on 2 targets is pretty good but Spellweaver should generally stay away from healing and focus on AOE damage and crowd control with Cold Fire.

Stone Fists – The top is pretty good if you have a source of earth but we removed Impaling Eruption so really only Chromatic Orb can empower earth and we will probably be using it to empower ice for Cold fire. Also this top is melee and in a standard build we are not going to be in melee range often. The bottom is kind of the same story. We don’t often need shield as we are in the back slinging AOE spells.

Level 7 Card Choice – Go back to level 6 and take Frozen Night. Neither of these cards really works for us and Frozen Night gives us another source of Ice, does good damage, and has a nice bottom ability where we can move and potentially go invisible. It is superior to either level 7 card.

Card to Remove – Fire Orbs. Frozen night will do more damage at later levels because of shield. Also it’s better for us to empower ice over fire because we have the Burning Torch making fire every time it attacks.. Not to mention the bottom of Frozen Night is objectively better than Fire Orbs; invisibility is awesome.

Our Current Hand at Level 7 looks like this:

Level 8 Cards

Zephyr Wings – The ultimate side board card! Top is really fun for grabbing money and the bottom is an amazing move to blast across a scenario, steal a treasure chest, etc. So use this when you know you will need a lot of movement in a scenario and remove something like Flashing Burst.

Cold Front – Top is ok but a straight line pattern like that is inferior to a more rounded pattern like Icy Blast or Frozen Night. The bottom is not very good in a standard build as we don’t get hit a lot and we would almost never want to play a loss like this. You could take this in 2 player if you needed to absorb some hits though. The other problem this card has is that it’s a double loss which means you either have to play it early or play it for a basic action.

Level 8 Card Choice – Zephyr Wings. This card goes directly into the sideboard

Card to RemoveNOTHING. Zephyr Wings is the ultimate side board card so put it in for Flashing Burst or Forked Beam when you have a large scenario where you need a lot of movement but you won’t really need it in a standard size scenario.

Our Current Hand at Level 8 is exactly the same as at level 7!

Level 9 Cards

Inferno – One of the most powerful cards in the entire game, if not THE MOST POWERFUL. The top is ridiculous and if you focus on items and strategies that add damage to it, you will dominate every single scenario, bar none, even on +2 difficulty. The bottom is… there, but you will probably never use it…

Black Hole – This is actually a pretty good card. When you consume dark you can kill normal enemies and often you will get 2 normal enemies. At higher levels this is good. The bottom is not very good but can be semi-useful in some situations.

Card I’m Taking – Inferno. Black hole just doesn’t stand a chance against possibly the best card in the entire game.

Card to Remove – Forked Beam. Frozen Night gave us some extra move which is one of the reasons we took it over Cold Front and because of that we can remove Forked Beam without causing us too many movement issues.

Our Current Hand at Level 9 looks like this:

Playing Strategy

You may have noticed that as we go along a lot of the early powerful loss cards are removed and replaced by repeatable attacks. This means that your strategy changes as you get to higher levels and gives you an incredible amount of longevity. Once you get to higher levels you want to make sure you play Cold Fire and Inferno as much as you can.

Be aware of your longevity but if you can get max effect out of a loss you should play it most of the time. Because of Reviving Ether you have a lot of longevity and are meant to play more losses than other classes.

This guide is built so that you can sometimes afford to short rest but you should mostly be long resting if you do rely on combos. You can never lose Reviving Ether to a short rest or it will destroy your life so if any other card comes up during a short rest you have to take it.


These are the perks you should take for the Spellweaver, in order! Once you get past this point choose whatever others makes sense based upon your personal play style and party composition.

  • Add one +2 ice x2
  • Add one +2 fire x2
  • Replace -1 with +1 x2
  • Add two +1 cards x2
  • Remove  four +0

Stay away from rolling modifers as they can really cause problems and you don’t really need them.

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 Spellweaver! If you want to see videos on how items work and which ones are best check out this playlist!

Head Slot – Eagle Eye Goggles – Eagle Eye Goggles apply to the entire attack action so they are great for AOE attacks which we have a decent amount of.

Chest Slot – Cloak of Invisibility – The cloak is amazing for if you need to put yourself in harms way to get in range for a big attack. Go invisible after the attack and stay alive! Don’t forget to use the go fast go slow manuever with invisibility. Go fast and go invisible then the next turn go really slow so you will say invisible for functionally 2 turns! This is one of the reasons why you need late initiative cards.

Hand(s) Slot – Piercing Bow – The Spellweaver struggles with high shield enemies due to her attacks being largely medium damage with multiple targets. Piercing bow allows you to ignore all shields and can really make that big AEO attack effective against those annoying shielded monsters.

Small Item Slot – The Minor Stamina potion is one of the best items in the game. A lot of beginning players don’t realize this and take Minor Healing Potion or Minor Power Potion, but take the Minor Stamina potion and use Cold Fire or Inferno twice in a rest cycle!

Legs Slot – Take the Boots of Striding if you can. These are not necessary but they are better than the Winged Shoes as you already have Reviving Ether and you can Jump with it.


Mana Bolt – The most common and cost effective enhancement for the Spellweaver is to enhance the bottom heal with strengthen. This allows you to go fast, and give yourself advantage on this rounds attacks and the next rounds attacks, adding up to some serious damage! Cost 50 Gold

Cold Fire – Add a hex onto Cold Fire – Make one of your best cards even better! Not quite as cheap as Mana Bolt but still very much worth it! Cost 116 Gold

Reviving Ether – Add empower element to the bottom Move 4 Jump to help you create even more elements. Only do this if you really need elements though as it is pretty costly and you will only use the bottom of Reviving Ether for about half the scenario(ish). Cost 100 Gold

Other Articles of Mine You May Like

Gloomhaven VS Jaws of the Lion

Gloomhaven Sleeving Guide

How to Play Gloomhaven with 5 Players

How to Add Expansions to Kingdom Death Monster

If you have the base game of Kingdom Death Monster and you absolutely love it, you are thinking which expansion should I buy first (AKA which is the best) and how do I add it to my current base game? The expansions are often out of stock and I struggled with figuring out how to actually make a decision because the expansions are EXPENSIVE and I didn’t want to waste money buying expansions that did not work with each other. In this guide I will give you step-by-step instructions so you can make the right decision on which expansion(s) to buy first to modify your base game campaign (People of the Lantern)

Understanding Expansions

Expansions are a bit of a mixed bag in Kingdom Death Monster in that they don’t always follow consistent logic. Some are quarry monsters, some are nemesis monsters, some have their very own campaigns built into them, like the Dragon King and it’s campaign variant The People of the Stars; some are not even monsters…

If you don’t own any expansions, you will be sitting there scratching your head, thinking, how do I actually add these? How many should I buy and add to create a new campaign? To help you with that I created this guide which will walk you through exactly what you need to do.

I have created a handy table below for each expansion, the corresponding event and Lantern Year they are added in.

Step 1 – Full Campaign Variants

Some expansions have full campaign variants in them that should be played as is without adding any other expansions. This is the simplest place to start as it provides a very different experience and is simple to run.

The full campaigns are:

People of the Stars – Dragon King Expansion

People of the Sun – Sunstalker Expansion

People of the Bloom – Flower Knight Expansion – You may come across this in your research about KDM but it is not a full campaign, just a campaign variant. The only reason I put this here is to warn you, so you don’t spend a bunch of time trying to figure it out like I did.

Step 2 – How Many Expansions Should You Add?

The recommendation from the creator of the game, Adam Poots, is to add maximum 3 expansions per campaign so that the campaign stays relatively balanced. You can technically add more but nemesis monsters reduce the amount you can hunt as they take up blank spots on the settlement timeline. Also you won’t be able to effectively hunt a higher number of quarry monsters for their gear as there will be too many and it can take quite a few hunts to be able to build a proper gear set from a single quarry monster. It is more effective to hunt less monsters more times each.

Step 3 – Quarry vs Nemesis Monsters

Quarry monsters are monsters that you fight multiple times – usually – and farm for gear. You can choose when to fight them and at what level. Nemesis monsters are like mini-bosses and you are supposed to fight them at a higher level each time you face them. Adding more of them can definitely makes the game harder.

Step 4 – Choose Full Campaign Or Customize People of the Lantern Campaign

The easiest way to choose an expansion is to buy one of the alternate full campaigns in step 4A. If you want to customize a campaign see step 4B. Below they are listed by category and are numbered in the order that I recommend you buy them.

Step 4A – Full Campaigns

1 – Dragon King Expansion (Quarry monster if you add to a custom campaign) – BoardGameGeek Info Page

This one is a classic and contains a campaign variant called People of the Stars. Start here and do not add any other monsters to this one unless you are very experienced as it will be unbalanced. You only need this expansion to run a completely different campaign. Recommendations for customization at bottom of this article.

2 – Sunstalker Expansion (Quarry monster if you add to a custom campaign – BoardGameGeek Info Page

The second expansion that contains a full campaign variant the People of the Sun. Do not add any other monsters to this one unless you are very experienced as it will be unbalanced. You only need this expansion to run a completely different campaign. Recommendations for customization at bottom of this article.

Step 4B – Customize People of the Lantern Campaign

Choose 3 of the below expansions to add to your People of the Lantern Campaign. I recommend 3 quarry or 2 quarry and 1 nemesis.

Quarry Monsters

These should be added to the base game campaign the People of the Lantern(note you can also add Dragon King and Sunstalker instead of using them in the alternate full campaign format)

3 – Gorm Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

The Gorm is a great beginner expansion, nicely balanced, and adds another early quarry to hunt. Great for less experienced groups. You will still have to fight the White Lion in the prologue, but after that you can farm Gorm easily and shouldn’t cause any problems. You do not need to remove the White Lion, leaving it there as simply an option. Simple and easy to add.

4 – Flower Knight Expansion – BoardGameGeek Info Page

This is Kingdom Death Monster on easier mode. You can play the Flower Knight 2 ways. There is a campaign variant, even though it’s not a full campaign variant. Also you can insert the Flower Knight as Quarry when not playing the variant campaign.

5 – Dung Beetle Knight Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

The only reason this isn’t the #1 quarry to add is due to the difficulty and complexity. If you are experienced and like a really fleshed out experience you may want to move this up on your list as it is hard, complex and contains a ton of content; this is creator Adam Poots’ favorite expansion.

7 – Lion God Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

Quite hard and comes into the game very late LY13(see table below). Great for experienced groups, not great for beginners.

12 – Spidicules Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

Spidicules is a fairly early game quarry and is one of only 2 monsters that are direct replacements. You are supposed to replace the Screaming Antelope with Spidicules if you add it into the campaign. Instructions in the expansion will tell you exactly what to do. However this actually causes some problems, due to it making large parts of the game irrelevant. Here is a link to a very well done pack that shows you exactly how to fix all of the problems that Spidicules causes. If not just add it in addition to the White Lion. Because of this issue I think it’s the worst expansion.

Nemesis Monsters

6 – Slenderman Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

Slenderman’s event directly replaces Armored Strangers which is the King’s Man nemesis monster. Getting rid of the King’s Man? Priceless.

8 – Manhunter Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

You add the Manhunter to LY 10,16,22 so it reduces the quarry you can hunt by 2 and removes 1 nemesis choice encounter in LY 16.

9 – Lion Knight Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

One of the least favorite expansions, outside of Lonely Tree and Green Knight Armor. Takes up extra hunt time as well like the Manhunter expansion.


10 – Lonely Tree Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

The Lonely Tree expansion has its own section because it is neither Nemesis or Quarry and adds an event that can lead to a special showdown.

11 – Green Knight Armor Expansion BoardGameGeek Info Page

The Green Knight Armor expansion has its own section because you need multiple expansions to actually craft the gear set. It is comprised of 5 armor gear cards and 2 weapon gear cards. The required expansions to use the Green Knight Armor Expansion are:

  • Gorm – Resources/Gear Cards/Innovations
  • Flower Knight – Innovations/Disorders/Secret Fighting Art/Gear Cards/Resources
  • Dung Beetle Knight – Resources/Gear Cards/Special Timeline Event
  • Manhunter – Gear Cards
  • Lion Knight – Gear Cards
  • Spidicules – Innovations

At an absolute minimum make sure you have at least Gorm, Flower Knight and Dung Beetle Knight before you get this expansion! If you want the full experience you will need all of them though.

GormThe Approaching Storm1
SpidiculesYoung Rivals2
Flower KnightA Crone’s Tale5
ManhunterThe Hanged Man5
Lion KnightAn Uninvited Guest6
SlendermanIt’s Already Here6
Dragon KnightGlowing Crater8
SunstalkerPromise Under the Sun8
Dung Beetle KnightRumbling in the Dark8
Lion GodThe Silver City13

This table will help you to decide but be careful when adding monsters that share same year or are similar! And remember adding more isn’t always better!

Customizing People of the Stars

If you really, really want to add expansions to the People of the Stars the best 3 monsters to add to the campaign are:

  • Gorm
  • Dung Beetle Knight
  • Sunstalker

Customizing People of the Sun

If you really, really want to add expansions to the People of the Sun the best 3 monsters to add to the campaign are:

  • Dragon King
  • Lion God
  • Dung Beetle Knight

Campaigns of Death

This is new content that is not yet out and will lay out in detail exactly, via a nodes system, how to add every single expansion and to create custom campaigns. Once this is out it will be much clearer but until then we need to do something right!

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Why is Kingdom Death Monster so Expensive?

It seems like board games get more expensive and more elaborate every day. They often have copious amounts of miniatures and thousands of individual components.

Why is Kingdom Death Monster so expensive? It’s a big game with a lot of content, great art work and complicated miniatures. It also has a ton of expansions which can run you well over $2000 all-in and which contribute to it’s very high cost. Read on to see why exactly it’s expensive and whether or not it is worth it for you to buy!

Content in Kingdom Death Monster Base Game

235 page Game Book

400 Unique Pieces of Art

90 Full Page Illustrations

Over 1000 Cards

18 Full Sprues of Miniatures

8 Monsters to Hunt or Fight – Base Game People of the Lantern Campaign

  • White Lion
  • Screaming Antelope
  • Phoenix
  • King’s Man
  • The Hand
  • The Watcher
  • Butcher
  • Gold Smoke Knight


#1 Miniatures

Kingdom Death Monster is known for having large, detailed models. The Phoenix for example is extremely large, has a ton of fine detail and to create the sculpts for this quality of mini costs a lot, which of course is going to push the overall price of the game higher.

The miniatures for the survivors can be assembled in various different poses and with different weapons and armor so that you can really bring a lot of customization to your survivors. Having miniatures that reflect your game state is a great way to increase engagement and make you feel more invested in what happens to them…so it will hurt more when they die! Kingdome Death Monster is one of the hardest board games you will ever play. It teaches you a lot about sacrifice and is not like any other board game I have ever played.

#2 Hard Cover Game Book

Kingdom Death has some story aspects to it. When you first start out you will read all about your first fight with the White Lion and how your settlement starts. The book is very high quality and filled with beautiful and detailed full page illustrations. The book is 235 pages and brings a lot of atmosphere and storytelling to the experience.

#3 The Game Box

Kingdom Death Monster has one of the best looking boxes around. It’s large with a great looking logo and is made of high quality materials. It is a show piece in and of itself!

#4 Art Work

The artwork in Kingdom Death is amazing even if it is controversial. I personally find the art very well done and it adds to the overall immersion and atmosphere of the game. However it may not be for some people as it does include some non-sexual nudity. There is not a lot of nudity but the art can be pretty graphic even when there isn’t any nudity. Monsters are often grotesque or suggestive and some of the poses and aspects of them can be pretty hard to look at!

#5 The Cards

The cards in KDM number about 1000 and are made from high quality card stock. Nothing worse than paying a lot for a game and getting terrible quality components, but that is definitely not the case for KDM. I will say though that some of the card colors can sometimes be off due to them being pastel shades, but the feel of the cards is great.

#6 Killing Monsters

Kingdom Death Monster is one of the most unique games that has ever been created. It will teach you things about life. You have to play it completely differently than most board games, especially dungeon crawler type games, as it has perma-death. I love how dangerous the monsters are. They each have a ton of AI cards that make them totally unique and deadly and you can hit them in various spots on their body, using hit location cards. Depending on where you hit them different reactions and or conditions can occur.

Failure – When you hit a monster but fail to wound it, bad things can happen. Usually it will attack you back or do something else nice and dangerous

Wound – If you hit the monster and you manage to would it, which is generally pretty hard, then it can react to you wounding it. Usually this is bad, monsters don’t like being cut up by some uppity survivor.

Critical Wound – When you critically wound a monster(mostly quarry’s) you may injure it for the rest of the fight or cause some very specific and interesting status effect applicable only to that monster. Also you very often harvest resources from it when you score the critical. Nothing makes me happier than getting a critical and getting those resources as they will allow you to get your gear built quicker.

#7 The Gear

I love the gear in Kingdom Death Monster. When you critically wound quarry monsters you have a chance of obtaining resources from them. Also when you fully defeat a quarry monster you will get resources depending on what level of monster you faced. this will allow you to build various gear sets. The gear sets from the monsters look great and make you much more powerful so you can progress and fight even tougher foes. It is some of the most thematic and overall interesting gear in any board game I have ever played.


Last but not least as to why KDM can be very expensive is that, unfortunately, sometimes things cost more because there are less of them; The Law of Supply and Demand. At certain times Kingdom Death Monster has been ridiculously expensive because there weren’t any copies available directly from the company and so the secondary market prices went way up.

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Is the 7th Continent Replayable? What You Need to Know

I’ve played a lot of 7th continent and one of the major questions people have is… how much replayability does the game have? It’s a valid concern when playing a game of this type and one that I will answer completely in the rest of the article!

Is the 7th Continent replayable? The 7th Continent is completely replayable and has a lot of variation due to multiple curses and expansions adding great new content, not to mention the world changes in subtle ways each time you play the game. However, after 100’s of hours, most likely, you will have seen most of what the 7th Continent has to offer and you will probably shelf it until you buy more content expansions.

Even if you do shelf it after 100’s of hours it will still totally have been worth it! Let’s talk about what impacts replayability.

Exploration Cards

Exploration cards are separated into separate tiers, sections 1-10, and depending on where you are geographically on the island you will pull a different tier of card. Every single time you flip over a new terrain card you will have to load these exploration cards up and so even if you are re-exploring the same area in the same curse playthrough the exploration events will be different.

This mechanic alone adds a lot of replay value to the game and makes retreading familiar ground feel different.

Hidden Information

The 7th Continent has a lot of hidden items and events. Some terrain cards have hard to see #’s and you can easily miss them if you aren’t watching diligently. You may travel to an area you’ve been before and a hidden # will catch your eye on the 3rd time, changing your experience.

A lot of terrain cards have flora on them that you may or may not recognize. There are actions in the game where you can learn botanical information about the local flora and it will allow you to do different things, create items, and much more(don’t want to spoil it for anyone reading). This will make it so that you can perform different actions on the same terrain cards depending on your current level of botanical knowledge.


Some areas may have a little banner symbol on them with a blank space in the middle of the banner. That banner symbol corresponds to another card in the game that will have a number on its banner. This card may be an item or even an animal; it can be almost anything. When you add the # in the banner to the corresponding card # that contains the blank banner it will take you to a hidden card that you previously could not access. This will drastically alter how that area plays out.


The 7th Continent has a lot of curses and a lot of expansions. Each of these is going to drastically change the base experience of the core box set. So, on top of replayability, it has a very large amount of content for you to play through.

Base Box Curses

  • The Bloody Hunt
  • The Voracious Goddess
  • An Offering to the Guardians
  • The Dark Chest of the Damned

What Goes Up Must Come Down

  • A Prison of Clouds
  • The Veins of The Earth
  • A Beacon in the Night
  • A Crystal’s Song
  • Armageddon

2015 Kickstarter Expansion Pack Curses

  • The Icy Maze
  • The Swamps of Madness
  • The Forbidden Sanctuary

Combining Curses

Another way to vary up your experience, and to make it harder is to combine curses. You will have to take actions in a different order and the difficulty compared to playing with one curse is increased for each curse added. You may have played an area with an interesting event but you didn’t have the exact right item to progress because it was related to another curse.

The Continent

You will not see everything on the continent on your first playthrough or even your 10th. Some areas are segmented off and gated for progress so as you play more curses and you traverse the continent more times you will see more and more of it.

The Sheer # of Cards and Amount of Content

If you add up all of the expansions and curses you are at around 2000 total cards in the 7th Continent. It takes quite a while to play through most curses and if you play this game over years the sheer amount of content and the time it takes to play through it will help with replayability because you will end up forgetting some of it.

Many terrain cards have multiple instances for the same action. So the hole you put your hand into last playthrough may have something different this time!


There are many different explorers to choose from when you start each playthrough. Each explorer has 5 unique cards that can completely change how you approach various situations. One explorer, or character/class, as they are called in other games, may be better at fighting while another is better at hunting or fishing.

The explorers strengths and weaknesses will change your approach to surviving on the 7th Continent and taking different explorers, or combinations of explorers, can really make a new run feel fresh as you tackle familiar areas in very different methods.


One of my favorite parts of the game is the puzzles. Some of the puzzles are static but some actually have different solutions depending on your current curse and different items. This means you might solve a puzzle differently on each playthrough!


The 7th Continent is a survival game first and as you play you craft various items. Each explorer brings unique items, as part of their 5 cards, and also you will have the chance to find new items to make as you play. Make sure to check out my Ultimate Item Guide so you have a good understanding of how items, and especially food, work!

Ultimately the 7th Continent has quite a bit of replayability thanks to so many great, interlocking mechanisms which provide a variable experience every single time. The $ value per hour on this game is phenomenal!

Need to Know More About the 7th Continent? Make sure to read these articles as well!

How to Play the 7th Continent Solo: The step-by-step guide

Is 7th Continent Worth it?

Is the 7th Continent a Legacy Game?