Gloomhaven Starting Classes

The Ultimate Gloomhaven Starting Classes Guide and Characters Overview

Every board game hobbyist has heard of Gloomhaven. This game has been a favorite among the members of the gaming community since the time it was released in 2017.

It has been called the highest rated board game of all time and rightly so. Each class in the game has been designed with great depth to it. This is one of the major reasons why gamers enjoy it so much.

Here’s an introduction to Gloomhaven starting classes if you are getting started with this legendary role-playing game.

To begin with, there are 6 Gloomhaven starting classes:

  • Brute
  • Spellweaver
  • Tinkerer
  • Cragheart
  • Mindthief
  • Scoundrel

General Gloomhaven Class Guide

Before we get into a detailed discussion about Gloomhaven character classes, it’d be better to go through the general Gloomhaven class guide and get an idea.

Firstly, each class has:

  • A miniature
  • A deck of character ability cards
  • A deck of attack modifier cards
  • A character mat

To begin playing the game, choose an individual quest. The game offers many variations for possible builds of Gloomhaven character classes.

Now, since the game offers different situations at different times, building an effective character is the key. Your character will be based on how you play these situations.

You need to take the circumstances into consideration when going through the Gloomhaven classes.

Tips for a 2-player Game

When playing a two-player game, take your time to think well before you make a class choice. For a game with only 2 key players, each one is on his own and has got to pull his own weight.

On the other hand when it’s a game where 4 or 5 of your friends are playing, if someone is lagging, you can help them along.

Keeping this in mind here are a few combinations that are powerful and some that don’t work so well together.

Power Combos:

  • Spellweaver and Cragheart
  • Scoundrel and Brute
  • Brute and Mindthief
  • Spellweaver and Brute

Dysfunctional Combinations:

  • Tinkerer and Scoundrel
  • Scoundrel and Spellweaver
  • Cragheart and Scoundrel

The other combinations which aren’t mentioned here fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

Gloomhaven Starting Classes Symbols and Overviews

Let’s dive right into the actual guide.


gloomhaven brute symbol

From among the group of Gloomhaven classes, the brute is the tank and often useful for some early success in your quest. The tank can deal out quite some damage and put enemies in harm’s way.

If your strategy isn’t much of a defender and your focus is not primarily on mitigating damage, you can use him to deal damage to your enemies.

I would say, for groups with 4 players, tanking abilities aren’t really worthwhile.


gloomhaven cragheart symbol

Cragheart is best at versatility. It has a lot of scopes when it comes to the builds and various playstyles. 

It presents a good mix of melee, elemental ranged attacks and has some healing abilities too.

All these attributes give it the option to be played in different ways. Also, Cragheart’s hand of 11 gives it good stamina.

It does not excel at tanking like a brute but can put out a lot of ranged damage.


gloomhaven mindthief symbol

Mindthief is a good choice for solo scenarios since it is a  melee damage dealer with some ranged utility.

It also comes handy because of the summons (ally attack) and mind control ability. This can cause enough damage and weaken the enemy.

She is another example of versatility in the ways she can be played.

She has a hand of 10 and a low hp. This makes it difficult to get close and personal with enemies.


gloomhaven scoundrel symbol

Scoundrel is a rogue character best suited for single target attacks. This rogue is more like a ninja with her ability to be invisible, spread poison and deal out high damage at the right moment.

It pairs up well with melee teams because it has a fair amount of adjacency bonuses.

However, stamina is a problem for Scoundrel with a hand size of 9 cards only and no way to get it back. This calls for you to be cautious with card losses.  


gloomhaven spellweaver symbol

The Spellweaver is a mage type class. She is capable of manipulating the elements with Gloomhaven to ward off enemies who can summon an ally attack.

She is like a glass cannon with low health and can easily be exhausted. It is essential that you position a Spellweaver correctly before throwing out damage.

She has a hand size of 8 which explains the low stamina.


gloomhaven tinkerer symbol

The Tinkerer is often devalued because it is not tough enough to be a tank or a glass cannon.

The Tinkerer can be played aggressively using her debilitating abilities and her abilities as a healer of the starting classes.

She can heal, buff, do decent damage. This comes from the Tinkerer’s abilities of recovery and healing combined with its powerful traps and buffs.

It also is high on stamina with a card hand size of 12 gives. This also allows the scope of losing cards.

Gloomhaven Classes Ranked

Gloomhaven Classes Ranked

Here is a more detailed overview of each class and how to play them.

The ranking is based on a more personal evaluation of how these classes work while delivering damage, how you score experience points, how good is the class at looting, their health score, movement, stamina et cetera the class has.

Rank 6: Scoundrel

Scoundrel Character

The rogue Scoundrel is more of an assassin whose attacks can cause immense damage if and when she acts from the right place and time.

As the name explains, the Scoundrel is great at looting and can get to it before anyone else does. 

When you are roleplaying the Scoundrel you begin to feel like an actual assassin.

The scoundrel is quick on its feet, it runs in, loots and would dash out before anyone could catch up.

You will mostly be operating in invisibility to strengthen the damage you caused by attacking in stealth.

  • When it comes to damage, the Scoundrel is known to be able to deal out immense damage but at an opportune moment. However, the attack she perpetuates is only average when and if the enemy she’s attacking isn’t close to an ally.
  • Talking about experience points, these are easy to collect when playing a Scoundrel. You just need to strategically position yourself to be able to use the Scoundrel’s full abilities and then it gets easier to collect points and level up.
  • As I mentioned earlier, Scoundrel is good at looting. She can collect loots from quite a bit of distance.
  • This attacker, the Scoundrel, has a mere amount of  8 points for health, which isn’t ideal. A low score for health makes you play her the way it is designed to be – prepare to attack at once and run!
  • As a Scoundrel, movement is key. You are really quick and probably the first to reach a loot. And this obviously makes it quite obvious that Scoundrels can cover quite some distance in one turn.
  • She’s dashing around with a limited count of cards (9 in her case). It is obvious she is low on stamina and gets exhausted easily. Spellweaver has fewer cards but with Spellweavers, being able to recover cards is a valid option. For a Scoundrel that isn’t an option. 

Now, Scoundrel is ranked sixth because it can get frustrating to play as a Scoundrel. To inflict even the least damage upon your enemy, you will need the situation to support you.

You will have to pray your enemies are next to an ally. And people don’t announce their moves out loud. doing.

Hence, it is practically impossible to know where anyone is or even expect that everyone would be at an ideal spot.

When you are trying to play a game where this happens for several rounds, you would begin to feel frustrated. And since the Scoundrel has a low hand limit, you’ll be exhausted before you even notice.

Rank 5: Spellweaver

Spellweaver Character

As I mentioned earlier, Spellweaver is the mage among the Gloomhaven classes.

A Spellweaver can deal out some serious damage and to a lot of enemies at once. But the glitch remains when it comes to her poor health.

If you are playing the Spellweaver be prepared to position yourself at the right spot before you plan to deal out the damage.

You will also, perhaps, be supporting your team from the back. This is to keep yourself from the damage a melee causes.

But, guess what? As a Spellweaver, you can cause potential damage.

You are capable of drawing up elements and then turning them into deadly weapons.

  • To cause a plausible amount of damage, the Spellweaver may need to call upon their ally groups. This acts like a booster for the Spellweaver’s performance every turn. As a Spellweaver, try to use the right spells at the right time and you can consume your enemies. Your power to spell casts from far away also helps.
  • A Spellweaver levels up when you deal with the cards like a pro. That is the easiest way to level up. Play your cards effectively – gain the experience from the buff cards. You could try casting spells using the elements.
  • For a Spellweaver, looting isn’t a speciality. She has one weak card for looting. Now this allows a spellweaver to attempt a loot from one hex away in addition to the regular.
  • I would say a Spellweaver’s health could be called neutral with 6 points for health. She has the lowest hit points among the classes. However, a Spellweaver takes zero damage even after two attacks. Also, Spellweaver has 3 heal abilities out of which you will probably need to use only two based on the situation.
  • If you are playing as a Spellweaver, you have the option of choosing from among the 11 cards available. 6 cards of these 11 offer you movement abilities. However, all 6 cards do not offer a fast pace. Only one of these 6 offers you to be fast enough. The movement cards for a Spellweaver basically support her to keep up with the gang and not fall too behind.
  • A Spellweaver has a limited amount of 8 cards. This feels like a weak stamina for the character. However, Spellweaver special ability allows you to be able to recover the lost cards.

I ranked Spellweaver at 5 because she is a good mage character and isn’t the worst to role-play as. She has healing abilities and can deal out a fair amount of damage.

But to play a Spellweaver, you have to know the elements and how to make them work in your favor.

Rank 4: Cragheart

Cragheart Character

The Cragheart can be called one of the flexible classes among the 6. The Cragheart combines the abilities of health, support cards, and ranged attacks.

The Cragheart makes a great character to play, it has a card hand of 11 and can calm a collateral damage scenario. However, it suffers at tanking and can’t compete well enough against a Tinkerer and Brute.

Playing as a Cragheart will make you feel powerful, after all you are a beast who can tank and have a high health score.

But be careful, don’t tank just because you are tempted to since you lack the abilities to reduce the damage you take.

If you keep using your melee attacks often, chances are you’ll end up being the one who needs support later.

  • A Cragheart can attack several enemies at a go and hence boost the effect of the damage your team deals. However, the damage caused is only average and a cragheart’s abilities may also cause damage to allies sometimes. A Cragheart mainly has ranged attacks and a few melee.
  • When it comes to experience points, a Cragheart unfortunately levels up slowly because there’s not much scope of getting experience. Sometimes when the scope presents itself, it becomes conditional to the presence of an earth element in the scenario.
  • Craghearts can loot at a normal rate. One of their starting cards gives them the ability to loot from a hex away. But it is more useful if you trade this card for a more useful ability.
  • Craghearts have good health. They are actually as good as the Brutes when we talk about health. And Craghearts also possess minor healing abilities. A brute lacks this. The Cragheart’s healing abilities allow them to heal after a melee attack or use it for allies when they face the brunt of his damage.
  • A Cragheart moves slow. In fact you have to be careful while playing or you could risk falling behind your teammates. Once you lag, it will take you several rounds before you catch up. With the starting ability you could catch up faster but once you lose the card it’s done with.
  • Cragheart has average stamina with a hand limit of 11 cards. You won’t get exhausted quickly if you are careful with the ability cards.

The reason why a Cragheart is at rank 4 is that it is more of an average character. It can be called a jack of all trades but excels at nothing specifically.

Its attacks are ranged but be used for tanking style combat too. It can heal but not the way other classes can. It is truly versatile and can adapt to situations.

Rank 3: Mindthief

Mindthief Character

A Mindthief can be introduced as a vermling who can cause single-target damages. The Mindthief is packed with weird abilities and she can even use some of these psychic abilities to weaken her enemies.

A Mindthief is low on health, so while playing as a Mindthief you will have to get in quick fights and then scoot off as fast as possible.

To be able to deal melee attacks or manipulate with mental abilities, you will need to know about the position of your allies and enemies.

Your summons would be an essential weapon for you. Keep an eye so you don’t fall behind the others.

  • A Mindthief can achieve a lot in terms of causing damage. Simply buff yourself and stack the negatives on your enemies Some of Mindthief cards even give you bonuses for damage on enemies with active negative conditions.
  • Playing as a Mindthief allows you to level up quickly because almost every starting card has experience point gains.
  • Like a Scoundrel, a Mindthief is good at looting. She is one of the fastest loosters thanks to loot cards among the starting cards.
  • Mindthief scores low on health. She has only 6 health points and is hence fragile. However, she does have a minor shield and can immobilize enemies to move them away while she dashes away. She has 2 healing cards and so can heal only herself.
  •  A Mindthief will have to keep moving if they wish to stay in the game. And most of the Mindthief’s cards (7 of 13) include movement abilities in conjunction with abilities like stunning or healing.
  • The hand limit for Mindthief is 10 cards hence she gets exhausted at a normal pace.

The Mindthief is an interesting and complex character to play. In fact it can even be difficult to play a Mindthief. This melee attacker has low health points makes the game challenging.

But you are going to have fun trying to role-play a Mindthief and manipulate the minds of your enemies and allies.

Rank 2: Brute

brute character

If you want to deal out immense damage, an Inox Brute is your go to character. This tanker will smash enemies even when in a close combat.

Though this character is primarily all about dealing out loads of damage, you can include lots of variation and specialize it.

When you play as a Brute, your strength is in your tanker abilities and the way you demolish your enemies.

You have minor healing abilities that can help you and allies, but you are not a complete healer.

A Brute is not complex, your abilities are pretty simple and understood. You stun, stall, disarm and reduce the damage taken.

Plan your moves and you can make most of your abilities.

  • A Brute is made for dealing out damage, it is obvious that Brutes are good at damaging. Some of the starting cards for a Brute let you attack several enemies at once and this helps improve the impact. Mostly, Brutes are made for close combats, however, one ranged attack is also available.
  • As a Brute, leveling up is easy. This is because you are expected to reduce damage and shield at almost every scenario and using these cards gives you experience.
  • Brutes are not good at looting. Just an average looter who can attempt looting from one hex away. It is hereby wise that you trade this card for something more useful.
  • Like I had mentioned earlier, a Brute is tied with a Cragheart for health points at level 1. The Brute has a minor healing ability but nothing too great. You can heal yourself or others. But you could end up relying on others to heal you as well.
  • At level 1, for a Brute, there are 9 out of 15 cards that allow movement. However, they don’t give you the ability to be super quick. At max, you will get a quick boost.
  • Brutes have a hand limit of 10. Hence you can get exhausted if you are not careful with the cards.

The simple Brute is really powerful when it comes to tanking. The Brute shields and reduces the damage taken – makes it an important character to have in order to protect the gang.

Rank 1: Tinkerer

Tinkerer Character

A healer with lots of stamina – the Tinkerer is one of the champion characters. This character is of the supporting class and keeps your team going.

A Tinkerer powers your teams performance by buffing allies and weakening enemies with potions and mad contraptions.

Feel proud if you are playing the Tinkerer. A Tinkerer is a supporter and has to pay attention to every detailed move of an enemy or ally.

As this character, you support your teammates, but since you lack health, you’ll be hanging out at the back.

Your character uses all kinds of contraptions, potions, healing abilities to boost your allies and weaken the enemies.

  • Damage caused by a Tinkerer is only average. However, at level 1 a Tinkerer has 3 areas of effect ability that helps to boost your damage. Keep in mind that these cards are lost once used. Even the one high potential attack card is lost once used. As a supporter, 4 of your starting cards allow you to stun, wound, poison et cetera and help your team deal out the damage more effectively.
  • Most of a Tinkerer’s abilities cards come with some experience points and hence it is fairly easy to level up as a Tinkerer.
  • Tinkerers, they use cards to lose it. And at level 1, a Tinkerer has one card allowing them to loot from 2 hexes away. This card also awards them an experience point. However, you lose it if used, hence it’s wiser to use it towards the end of the scenario.
  • The Tinkerer is low on health with only 8 health points and a weak shield. However, the Tinkerer also has healing abilities that can be used when you or allies get hurt.
  • The Tinkerer can move around quickly when needed. This helps you to dash away from sticky situations.
  • As a Tinkerer, you have a 12 cards hand limit so you wouldn’t get exhausted too easily. However, upon increased damage and use of the area of effect cards, along with blood lust can get you exhausted.

Tinkerer deserves to rank 1 among the 6 Gloomhaven starting items because it’s a character that supports and heals and the characterizations can be done so intricately.

Playing this character can get really interesting thanks to the components of the theme.

You will be experimenting with the various contraptions – like you can summon decoys, or throw smoke bombs.

The versatility of this character along with her power to heal makes her one of the best preferred gloomhaven characters.

Final Words – Gloomhaven Classes

To sum it all up, the different starting classes have their own charms. Hopefully, this guide to Gloomhaven starting classes has been helpful.

This board game has been a hit among hobbyists, the reason being the depth and intricacies make it extremely fun to play.

Now that you have the basic insights from this Gloomhaven guide, gather your friends and get started!

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