Gloomhaven Brute Guide

The Definitive Gloomhaven Brute Guide 2023

The “primitive and barbaric race” of the Inox Brute is a fantastic yet undervalued character amongst the other starting classes.

This valiant character soaks up the damage for others, pushing dudes into traps, skewering fools and taking the hits like a true juggernaut. The Inox Brute is a standard tank class.

The Brute is your go to character if your focus is on mitigating damage and you can’t wait to Gloomhaven level up.

This article attempts to take a comprehensive look at the Gloomhaven Brute guide and take you through each of its nuances.

gloomhaven brute

Gloomhaven Brute Builds

This Brute offers two possible builds for a player. There’s “the Hero” build and there’s “the Meat Shield” type.

In short, the Hero focuses more on damage dealing and how to maneuver, while the Meat Shield is more of the tank type build.

The Hero

The Hero is a versatile build and a great choice if you want your character to be a skillful polymath of sorts.

The reason why it’s a versatile character is that it fits into the gameplay whether you are two players or multiple.

The Meat Shield

This is the most discussed tank build of an Inox Brute. The Meat Shield is not suitable for two player games but is a lot helpful when you are playing in a larger group with a lot of soft characters.

Brute Perks

brute perks

If you are going for the defensive theme, collect the perks which support tanking and damage in that order.

Take “ignore negative items effect” because the armour is essential for your character which is then followed by the shield.

Follow it and keep improving your attack modifiers so you can throw out as many negatives as possible. A pile of negative modifiers is something you really don’t want in combination to the low attack value.

Following this keep adding enemy buff cards to disarm, muddle and stun.

The Gloomhaven Brute strategy for getting the perks:

  1. Ignore negative item effects and add one +1 card.
  2. Remove two of the -1 cards
  3. Replace a -1 card with a +1 card
  4. Add two +1 cards and then one +3 card.

Gloomhaven Brute Cards

Brute Cards

Now that we are clear with the perks we can head towards discussing the Gloomhaven Brute cards.

All the cards I’ve discussed for your deck have their own backs if you build properly.

Level 1 Cards



Starting off with a high range super useful card with an initiative of 72, pierce 2 and attack 3. The Trample may be a top tier single attack action card to be used against shielded enemies.

However, it is better to play this early on in the game. Later the bottom holds back the card because of card loss.

Again, the card’s bottom ability is quite fun because it does give you a lot of movement so the loss is worth it.

The bottom ability is best used when you boost it with a +2 movement derived from the Boots of Striding.

Provoking Roar

Provoking Roar

The Provoking Roar comes with an initiative of 10 and the top abilities of attack 2 and disarm. This combination of a good initiative with the ability to disarm and attack isn’t very common amongst the Brute builds.

The attack skill of 2 is great against a small group of enemies. The bottom abilities for this card draws various reactions.

Some may feel it’s inefficient because preventing an enemy attack should be chosen over deciding about the damage dealt.

Some may say this card helps save allies from elimination.

Shield Bash

Shield Bash

The Shield Bash comes with top abilities of attack 4, stun and 2 experience. It has an initiative count of 15.  It’s great for top action but basically is a loss so you should probably hold on to this card until later.

Shield Bash and Provoking Roar almost give the same effect only you don’t lose a card for Provoking Roar.

When it comes to experience points, Shield Bash isn’t that great because you’ll earn more with cards that aren’t lost.

For bottom action, you have a shield 1,self and a round bonus. The shield and self abilities makes for a perfect combo in case of a tank build.

However, the bottom abilities do drag your movement and attack. So overall, this card isn’t much compared to other card options.

Grab and Go

Grab and Go

Grab and Go is a card which self explains itself. Its top ability is loot 1 (hence grab) and bottom ability gives you move 4 (hence go).

This is the highest movement you’ll possibly get at level 1 so I would say it’s good. But then that’s about it, this card doesn’t do anything other than this.

I believe there are other cards that provide a decent movement with other fancy abilities.

Eye For an Eye

Eye For an Eye

The Eye For an Eye has an initiative of 18. The top abilities include retiate 2, self, and you gain 1 XP every time you retaliate.

This ability looks cool at first but to retaliate you have to ensure the enemy attacks and then you will take damage upon you.

Hence it isn’t really a great choice. As for bottom abilities, you get heal 2, range 1, and to create earth. This isn’t all that great either.

The minor heal ability might be of some use. The ability to create earth, however, doesn’t help you. It might help some allies.

Warding Strength

Warding Strength

This card has an initiative of 32 and top abilities that include attack 3, push 2. The push ability may come in handy if you have a trap around you and there’s one enemy, you can push him in.

However, this isn’t a great ability if you have multiple enemies in your situation. The bottom action gives you a heal 6.

This protects you through 1 damage and the next 6 attacks. Also, you get 6 health and 3 xp from this so it’s a decent choice.

Spare Dagger

Spare Dagger

The Spare Dagger has an initiative score of 27. Top abilities include attack 3, range 3 and experience point 1.

Now this is a useful card based on your build. As a tanker, you’ll be the first to bust into a room and your enemy will probably be hiding. This is where the range ability helps.

The bottom ability of a Spare Dagger is attack 2. This is the most useful choice when you want to end your enemy.



The Skewer comes from the level X deck of your level 1 cards. It is indeed a useful card with 77 initiative. You can deal out limitless damage and there’s no loss, you rather gain experience.

This ability perhaps makes it one of the best cards. However, the bottom ability can make you lose a card and this kills the fun.

Wall of Doom

Wall of Doom

Another card from the level x deck. The Wall of Doom has an initiative of 20. Its top abilities include retaliate 2, self; shield 2, self; experience 2, round bonus, and loss.

We have seen earlier, to retaliate you have to take damage. However, for this card the shield allows you to take the risk of taking a few damages.

Unfortunately, it’s a card to lose so play it when absolutely needed. You can use the bottom abilities to boost your attacks.

Leaping Cleave

Leaping Cleave

The Leaping Cleave comes with an initiative of 54. A top ability of attack 3 allows the LEaping Cleave to take down two enemies and gets you 1 experience.

This is a decent card because even the bottom ability has move 3. This also helps you with air creation. The leaping Cleave pairs excellently with a low initiative card.

Balanced Measure

Balanced Measure

A Balanced Measure again comes from the level x deck. This card comes with a 77 initiative and has an attack 6 when combined with Grab and Go and Boots of Striding with no loss of card.

You even gain an xp. The bottom ability is not very strong, however, you can occasionally use the high movement.

A high damage would have been a better ability for a tank build though. 

Sweeping Blow

Sweeping Bow

The Sweeping Bow card comes with an initiative of 64. Its top ability includes an attack 2 and it isn’t a cool card as it may seem initially.

The damage this card deals is weak. The bottom ability gives you average movement and it has a push ability that will help if the enemy is near a trap.

This clearly isn’t a great choice of the card but it does keep coming to players through the course of the game.

Level 2 Cards

level 2 brute cards


The Juggernaut is a perfect fit for the tank build of a brute. It has an initiative of 34 and top abilities include move 2 and attack 2.

The card does not deal much damage but the bottom action is the star. It turns 3 sources of damage into 1 xp each. This comes in very handy for a tank.

Fatal Advance

The Fatal Advance card with its 40 initiative and the ability of instant kill is going to tempt you.

The bottom action gives you move 4 which is decent enough with no loss. So it’s going to be a bargain between this and Juggernaut.

Level 3 Cards

brute level 3 cards

Brute Force

Brute force has an initiative of 51. It is a good top ability card with damage 6 and muddle.

Also, there’s no card loss. The bottom abilities offer move 2, shield 1 which means we take damage. It’s a good choice considering its multi target attack with a muddle debuff ability.

Hook and Chain

Hook and chain have an ability of 42. The top ability, (which includes attack 3, range 3, pull 2) allows you to get to enemies within range.

The pull is helpful to save allies from enemies. The bottom ability can be used based on the situation to attack up to 4 enemies.

Level 4 Cards

brute level 4 cards

Unstoppable Charge

With an initiative of 84, and top abilities of attack 5 and 1 experience, this card can be a great select. Those top abilities come in handy and you don’t lose the card.

The bottom ability (move 4 and stun) come in handy situationally but can be very useful.

Devastating Hack

It has an initiative of 27 and has more negatives to it. Even though the top ability gives you 2 xp, using Unstoppable Charge about three times gives you the same or even more xp. The loot 1 as a bottom ability isn’t anything fancy either.

Level 5 Cards

brute level 5 cards

Skirmishing Maneuver

It has a low initiative – 29. Top abilities include attack 2, move 2. The top ability allows you to take an enemy’s health off.

The bottom ability is the real hero. An attack 3 and range 3 offers this card a lot of versatility.


This card can also be a good bet. It has an initiative of 28, top abilities include attack 4 which targets all enemies near you.

The bottom abilities – move 4 and push 3 add to the glamour of this card. You can trap your enemy or deal great damage.

Level 6 Cards

brute level 6 cards

Immovable Phalanx

Immovable Phalanx has an initiative of 17 and is versatile enough to fit in any build. An attack 4 and shield 1 top ability comes handy at this level.

However, the bottom ability involves losing the card. Overall, the low initiative and top ability make it a decent card.


Initiative of 57, this card offers a situation based kill as the top action and this won’t be useful much because there is a lack of consistent stun.

The bottom action – move 3, is more consistent and useful. Also, a coupled +1 attack makes it worth an attack 2.

Level 7 Cards

brute level 7 cards

Crippling Offense

With an initiative of 33, this card isn’t a bad choice at this level. It’s top abilities include attack 6, wound and stun 3.

This kind of top action is worth the card loss. Also, it has a solid bottom ability (move 3 and immobilize) and that only adds to the worth.

Defensive Tactic

This card has an initiative of 26. It suits a tank build but when compared, the Crippling Offense is a better option.

A top ability to immobilize 2 enemies and no card loss sounds good but you can get only 4 damage.

The bottom ability depends on the shield so unless you are paired up with a shield bearing character, it’s no good.

Level 8 Cards

brute level 8 cards

Frenzied Onslaught

With an initiative of 41 and top abilities of move 2 and attack 2, this card can become enticing.

However, this card works only with specific groups and build. The bottom ability does not add much value either.

It can deal damage but won’t be used much because we will be leveraging other abilities.

Selfish Retribution

It has an initiative of 12 and top abilities include move 1 and loss 2. It’s a good choice if you really want the loot. The bottom ability adds value to the movement.

Level 9 Cards

brute level 9 cards

Face Your End

Face Your End comes with an initiative 67 and it’s top action combines well with the bottom action. Now this may seem enticing but it doesn’t work out that well. You’ll be able to attack 3 enemies but not cause much damage.

King of the Hill

This has an initiative of 39. This is an excellent pick for the attack 6 and the experience gained for each enemy attacked. Also, the bottom ability heal 5 adds great value.

Final Words – Gloomhaven Brute Guide

The tank build is a great choice for an Inox Brute specially if your team has soft glass cannon characters.

The tank is a selfless character who is the valorous hero who helps allies perform to their best ability and take over.

However, if you are one who loves to deal huge damage on opponents, the low attack scores can get a little annoying.

If you love Gloomhaven, check out the upgrades to improve your experience. Hope this Gloomhaven Brute Guide helps you strategize your character well.

You can also check our Gloomhaven starting classes guide to know about more characters.

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