Gloomhaven Best Class Guide Tier List & Party Combos

Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by Samuel Franklin

Gloomhaven Best Class Guide Tier List & Party Combos

What is the Gloomhaven best class? With this class tier list guide you’ll be able to build an ideal party to tackle the harder Gloomhaven difficulties. With a total of 11 potential starting classes in the base and expansions with a further 11 that can be unlocked by playing through the campaign understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each class is useful before you commit your time to playing a Gloomhaven class until retirement.

While every character class in Gloomhaven is capable of beating the campaign content there are some class options that simply offer a greater chance of success, particularly when you factor in the difficulty and your party combo. This guide is equally applicable to the board game and digital version of Gloomhaven and containers various class spoilers. If you’d rather choose a class based solely on an overview of their party role without significant class spoilers or any references to their power level visit our Gloomhaven classes overview instead.

Gloomhaven Best Class Factors

Overall Gloomhaven is a balanced game experience and outside some particularly difficult 2 party sized combos most characters can contribute to the campaign scenario with a capable player controlling them. That being said there are still some classes that either have an easier time at being effective or have a higher potential when played at their peak which is the basis for this tier list. When rating characters for this Gloomhaven tier list the following factors have been the primary considerations with an attempted balance view across class levels (so not solely level 9 characters at their peak power levels).

  • Damage: Without damage you won’t be able to defeat enemies that you encounter and continue moving through the scenario at hand. Gloomhaven often encourages offense over defence so characters with reliable and direct sources of damage are often more powerful as a result.
  • Utility: Not every character needs to deal damage though and in the large parties in particular having utility can significantly help a party on their quest. Be it creating obstacles, forcing enemies to move or inflicting status effects these can give players options to fight back whatever encounters are before them.
  • Flexibility: There are some Gloomhaven characters that excel in particular scenarios while they feel weak in others do to the setup of the terrain or enemy types. Top tier classes though have the flexibility to be useful in a broader range of scenarios and can fulfil multiple roles in a team when called to do so. Ease of use is also a factor here with a flexible character not requiring turn perfect strategy to reach their peak potential.

gloomhaven

Gloomhaven Best Class Tier List Summary

The Gloomhaven class tier list below is rated on a S > A > B > C > D rating system that is summarised below. Each party size (2, 3 and 4) is individually rated as this can have a dramatic impact on character effectiveness and allows you to build the best 4 player party, best 3 player party and best 2 player party. For further detail on each rating for each particular character refer to the end of this Gloomhaven tier list guide. I also recommend you refer to this expansive thread on BoardGameGeek that includes a community pool with over 600 votes on how powerful a class is.

  • S Tier: The pinnacle of Gloomhaven classes that bring the greatest flexibility to scenarios and can even make the highest difficultly levels feel like a walk in the park when in the right hands. This class simple performs better in the given party size and should be strongly considered as either the best starting class or best unlockable class.
  • A Tier: Another powerful tier to consider in your search of the Gloomhaven best class. While not reaching the ranks of S tier these characters are still above average in the pool of characters and a worthy addition to any team at the right party size.
  • B Tier: Your average baseline for character power in Gloomhaven that is neither powerful or weak and provides a normal level of challenge through scenarios. When selecting these for a party you can expect the difficulty option you set to feel as intended.
  • C Tier: While a C tier Gloomhaven class can still be used effectively in specific or niche situations having one in your party can create additional difficulty over the course of a campaign. Needing either specific setups or simply having another class that performs a similar role but better these are the classes you’ll choose for aesthetic rather than power.
  • D Tier: For those seeking an additional challenge the D tier classes of Gloomhaven have various glaring weaknesses when played at the specific party size. Expect your scenarios to be significantly more challenging when using this class with others having to pick up the slack.
Class Source 2 Player 3 Player 4 Player
Brute Starting B B B
Cragheart Starting A B B
Mindthief Starting A A A
Scoundrel Starting C B A
Spellweaver Starting B B B
Tinkerer Starting D C B
Diviner Starting (Forgotten Circles) D C B
Red Guard Starting (Jaws of the Lion) A A A
Hatchet Starting (Jaws of the Lion) C B A
Demolitionist Starting (Jaws of the Lion) C C B
Voidwarden Starting (Jaws of the Lion) D B A
Best Tyrant Unlockable A A B
Berserker Unlockable A A A
Doomstalker Unlockable B A A
Elementalist Unlockable C B B
Nightshroud Unlockable S S S
Plagueherald Unlockable A A A
Quartermaster Unlockable S S S
Sawbones Unlockable B A A
Soothsinger Unlockable B S S
Summoner Unlockable C B B
Sunkeeper Unlockable B A A

Gloomhaven Best Class Tier List Detail

The following section of this tier list provides further details on the table above.

  • Brute: In terms of starting classes the Brute is in fact a fantastic contributor across all party sizes and while not to the point of being overpowered should not be overlooked when building your ideal party combo especially at the start. With a good balance of dealing and absorbing damage with tanking utility like shields and moving enemies the Brute fits nicely in various scenarios but is simply overshadowed by other Gloomhaven characters that do some part of his job better.
  • Cragheart: On the stronger side of Gloomhaven starting classes the Cragheart is another class that can do a lot through their cards. The Cragheart is of particular value in smaller parties where you can make good use of the obstacle related cards as hexes are less filled with allies, summons and enemies. This aspect aside he still brings good utility and damage to larger party sizes although is held back slightly on the damage front by a large reliance on loss cards to inflict maximum pain on enemies.
  • Mindthief: While slightly difficult to use as a newcomer those that utilise the Mindthief’s potential will quickly find a top tier pick once you obtain some core cards in the mid game levels that give you the right mix of tools for the playstyle you need to adopt. Even before this though the blend of strong damage, crowd control options and invisibility are potent as you can deal damage with little opportunity for retaliation when you master the mechanics available to you.
  • Scoundrel: Offering high damage that rivals that of the highest tiers of Gloomhaven damage dealers the scoundrel can generally find a comfortable home in the larger party sizes where they have the tools and allies necessarily to focus solely on the damage they bring to a scenario. In smaller parties though the Scoundrel’s focus on damage becomes more problematic than beneficial to the point where other damage dealing classes with more utility might be a better option depending on your 2 player party combo.
  • Spellweaver: A class that fills a typical mage archetype and brings all the pros and cons you would expect as a result. This places the Spellweaver in a balanced situation where you can out put great damage with the right setup and maximising the usage of your recovery card mechanic but is offset by your fragile health and low hand size. While you’ll no doubt have some flashy moments of high area of effect damage turns you simply don’t break scenarios with your presence.
  • Tinkerer: The Tinkerer is one of the worst 2 player combo party options as they really need a team of characters to utilise their support skills to maximum effect which are unfortunately still average at best. There are simply better starting support class options (like a Cragheart) for these small party sizes when starting out that can provide similar support alongside damage or durability. This is made worse as unlockable classes become available where there are some truly overpowered support options that quickly leave the Tinkerer forgotten and only made worse by the fact that levels on a Tinkerer don’t really bestow much in terms of useful cards or power.
  • Diviner: Another class that is simply not designed for the needs of a 2 player party so best avoided when playing with that party size as your mechanics often require someone else to hold ground for you. That being said it’s a quick curve upwards in power as the number of players increase as more allies (and enemies) give you the opportunity to take advantage of your mechanics and shine.
  • Red Guard: The tank character for Jaws of the Lion that fulfils their role perfectly and one of the better starting characters in this role as a result. Flexibility is quite high for the Red Guard as well with an array of options to shrug off damage, heal damage or disrupt the enemies. While you won’t lead the team in damage when playing as the Red Guard they still bring enough to the table with careful use of your disruption tools.
  • Hatchet: A powerful damage dealing hero that can take out a single foe with high burst damage from an unexpected range. That being said the Hatchet does come with weaknesses because of this and generally wants a well rounded team to provide support. Of note is the high focus on loss cards and small deck size that might see you exhausting before your friends if not played carefully. The Hatchet pickup mechanic also balances out your ability to deal damage.
  • Demolitionist: A melee class that finds themselves in an awkward space where they have to get in the middle of the action to deal damage and utilise utility although don’t have the health to consistently be there. With careful planning and card usage the Demolitionist is still an effective contributor to the group although needs a little more attention than other characters to reach that point and isn’t quite as self sufficient either.
  • Voidwarden: A difficult class to master that for many simply won’t be worth the effort as the payoff isn’t even close to some of the S tier rated classes on this Gloomhaven tier list. If you enjoy the aesthetic or design mechanics of this class though the supporting and indirect damage style of the Voidwarden prefers larger class sizes where you’ll have to carefully plan ahead to maximise your strong hand size advantage and not be regularly forced on the move.
  • Beast Tyrant: One of the few classes in Gloomhaven that has an inverse relationship to party size with the Beast Tyrant being a wonderful 2 player party member with a slight drop off at larger party sizes as you’ll find limitations in being able to use your bear abilities to the fullest. Even in these large sizes though the class can fall back on it’s healthy damage output that keeps it an above average pick despite not being able to operate at full potential.
  • Berserker: Offering the party impressive damage output, damage absorption and some forms of crowd control allow the Berserker to slot perfectly into all party sizes. They can look after themselves and their party without a clear weakness against most enemies and is in fact one of the best boss fighters that Gloomhaven has to offer across the board.
  • Doomstalker: Offering fantastic range and surprisingly high damage for that amount of range the Doomstalker works well in many scenarios, compositions and team sizes. While this is toned down due to the extent of loss cards you have to play to achieve this damage dealing fantasy your tools are still above average to the point that most enemies will be dead before you find yourself near exhaustion.
  • Elementalist: Another class that struggles with the smaller party sizes due to the squishy nature of this character which is particularly evident at lower class levels and can make the Elementalist difficult to use and rarely achieve their potential. That being said as an unlockable class you’ll generally be at a higher level which is where the Elementalist starts to offer significant power through level up cards and items although is noticeably better at larger group sizes.
  • Nightshroud: Considered by many in the community to be the pinnacle of Gloomhaven character power the Nightshroud does not care how many other characters are in your party and is capable of doing everything themselves and scales well throughout your encounters. They only noticeable weakness is low level large parties where you might not have all the tools available to you although even in that state you are above most other classes.
  • Plagueherald: Given the Plagueherald is a master of area of effect attacks and derives some power from the number of allies you’ll find yourself performing significantly better in these large parties. Even in smaller parties though you’re consistent sources of ranged damage quickly add up to help the team although will be wasted in some rooms that are simply sparse of enemy spawns.
  • Quartermaser: Another one of the Gloomhaven best classes on this tier list that almost trivialise the entire game once unlocked. With no weaknesses in sight the Quartermaster can always adjust to the scenario at hand with little issue. It’s this versatile nature that makes them hard to pass up on with damage, tanking and support all within a single class that can adjust to party size, party dynamics and enemy dynamics.
  • Sawbones: A reliable front line fighter that pairs it with fantastic hard crowd control with light support functions that ensure the Sawbones is always contributing to a team in some regard. Sawbones is not quite as strong in smaller parties as the Sawbones favours larger groups of enemies to ensure they maximise their deck options.
  • Soothsinger: Once unlocked there is little need for any other support class with simply broken ally buffs and the ability to prevent most incoming damage to your allies. By removing significant risk from scenarios your need to plan carefully is diminished by this class almost to the point where your entire party can be lazy with their turns. You cannot expect the Soothsinger to be a major damage contributor to the team though so small party sizes simply don’t suit your plans.
  • Summoner: Any class that has an over reliance on summons is generally giving themselves up to luck in Gloomhaven and that is exactly the position that the Summoner finds themselves in. You’ll have great moments when the stars align but experience equally frustrating ones that are heightened in smaller parties where you can’t rely on other characters to pick up the slack when the bad luck randomness comes your way.
  • Sunkeeper: Filling the tank archetype as close as any other option in Gloomhaven the Sunkeeper thrives on keeping allies safe and absorbing damage for the team. The result is that they have a slightly weaker experience in smaller parties where she has to branch out into a damage role that is not her speciality. As a dedicated tank in a large party though she is a powerful ally that also offers nice supporting utility as well.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Gloomhaven is one of Sam’s favourite board games and he finds himself regularly playing the convenient digital version alone and with friends. He enjoys the tactical turn based combat and unique characters that Gloomhaven offers with his favourite being the Spellweaver.

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