Gloomhaven Classes & Characters – Selecting A Class Guide

Last Updated on June 12, 2022 by Samuel Franklin

Gloomhaven Classes & Characters – Selecting A Class Guide

This guide to Gloomhaven classes will help you pick your ideal party characters from starting classes, Jaws of the Lion characters, Forgotten Circles and unlockable classes. Including an overview of each class option this page is suited to first time players, intermediate and even veterans looking for a Gloomhaven character reference page. This article is to help you pick a class based on their theme and function rather than a tier list that defines them based on their power in the Gloomhaven meta alone.

Available as a physical board game and digital version Gloomhaven is an experience that offers hundreds of gameplay hours alone and with friends. With the character retirement mechanic that kicks in when you complete a personal quest Gloomhaven is a game that encourages players to experience multiple classes as you progress through the various campaign scenarios. It’s for this reason that while your starting classes selection is important you’ll likely have two or three other opportunities to select a class over the course of the entire game.

Note that the below Gloomhaven character guide includes spoilers for the game which get increasingly significant the further you read this page. It includes spoilers for the base Gloomhaven game, Forgotten Circles expansion and Jaws of the Lion expansion.

Gloomhaven Classes Overview

The sections below are dedicated to providing players with a basic introduction to the various starting classes, Jaws of the Lion characters and unlockable classes. It includes a high level overview of what you can expect when playing the character and their role in your party. It is designed to be detailed enough to help players select a character while being basic enough to not spoil your individual cards, strategies or overall strength of that character. For information on these character elements refer to specific class guides and our Gloomhaven class tier list.


Gloomhaven Starting Classes

There are six starting classes in the base Gloomhaven edition that are the first introduction most players will have to potential characters. Within these six you’ll find a diverse roster of options that ensure there is something for all tastes to build your initial party although the expansions definitely take this diversity to another level if you have them available.

The starting classes in the base Gloomhaven game and a brief summary of what to expect when playing the class is as follows:

  • Brute: A melee tank class that offers high health and various methods to mitigate damage that comes their way through. The Brute is still capable of outputting damage though with some area attacks and pushing enemies around.
  • Cragheart: A balanced jack of all trades character that offers players a little bit of everything with damage, tanking and support in a single character. Capable of attacking from range and melee the Cragheart has a core theme of creating obstacles to limit movement.
  • Mindthief: A vulnerable character that relies on crowd control to allow them to utilise their single target melee attacks without receiving significant harm. With the Mindthief you’ll be focused on dealing major damage to your focused targets and pairing it with stuns and disarms that make it difficult for enemies to retaliate.
  • Scoundrel: Serving as the traditional rogue inspired character the Scoundrel is similarly focused on single target melee damage. With careful positioning you can utilise poison and invisibility to deal the highest damage of starting classes to a single enemy while easily acquiring the loot they drop.
  • Spellweaver: A mage that primarily calls on the powers of fire and ice to attack enemies from behind the front lines to single and multiple enemies. The Spellweaver is themed around recovering lost cards that allow you to use your high power cards more freely than other Gloomhaven starting classes.
  • Tinkerer: A supporting character that is capable of healing allies and providing other team utility through traps, summons and status effects. The Tinkerer has a mechanical theme and can still output some damage for the team when required although this will rarely be your primary role.


Gloomhaven Forgotten Circles Characters

The Forgotten Circles expansion released in 2019 added a single new class for players to select at the start of their adventure. The content added within this expansion campaign encourages use of this character in particular.

  • Diviner: A supporting class that controls the battlefield through various rift powers and the ability to gain knowledge you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. While you won’t be dealing a significant amount of damage yourself the information you have available and the ability to debuff enemies is valuable to a party.


Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion Characters

A larger Gloomhaven expansion released in 2020 that adds four new characters for you to play at the start of your adventure.

  • Red Guard: A durable character who primarily serves a tank role through their ability to utilise shields to absorb damage and crowd control enemies. Despite this the Red Guard can also deal a surprising amount of consistent damage over the course of a scenario to help the party.
  • Hatchet: A character that wields hatchets but prefers to use them from ranged position. Your role when playing this character is to output as much damage as possible which can be enhanced by throwing your axe although you’ll have to then pick it up.
  • Demolitionist: A melee damage dealer that has large powerful fists to literally punch enemies and obstacles while buffing themselves in the process. While the Demolitionist has some health they are not there to absorb damage for the team.
  • Voidwarden: A class that walks the line between damage dealer and support class with their ability to control the game board. This is achieved through various negative effects and the ability to command enemies to attack each other. While you have some healing abilities these often have a trade off and are not your primary role.


Gloomhaven Unlockable Classes

Locked classes in Gloomhaven can be obtained once you complete a personal quest with one of the characters above and come in eleven different varieties. On average these are generally considered stronger characters by the community that are well equipped for the later scenarios although by no means necessary to use. Like other Gloomhaven characters each has a symbol that represents them and is included in brackets below as this is central to unlocking them.

  • Beast Tyrant (Beast Face): A unique Gloomhaven character that includes both a traditional low health character and a bear summon designed to tank damage and maul single enemies. While the bear will primarily perform its own actions players can direct it with certain cards when required and support it with crowd control abilities that further enhance the bears durability.
  • Berserker (Lightning Bolt): This class image can be slightly deceiving as it offers players something they might not expect with a melee focused fighter. While durable and able to tank damage when required the major mechanic of the Berserker is that they deal increased damage at lower health. This sees them having cards that hurt and heal themselves to maintain the ideal balance.
  • Doomstalker (Angry Face): The Doomstalker offers an interesting mixture of mechanics although is primarily a single target ranged fighter which is supported with crowd control and a medium health pool. A core element of this class is persistent debuffing effects known as Dooms that linger on enemies while you continuously attack them from range beyond most other Gloomhaven classes.
  • Elementalist (Triangles): Master of all elements players have an array of cards to create and spend elements for deadly crowd control and damage against groups. The result is a greater focus on combining turns together requiring players to plan ahead with their team for maximum effect.
  • Nightshroud (Eclipse): As the name suggests the Nightshroud prefers to stay in the shadows when possible while combining it with powerful physical attacks. This class is all about devastating damage on single targets and using the dark element in order to do so. While you might mistake this archetype for a fast moving assassin the Nightshround actually has relative small areas of movement in their deck of cards.
  • Plagueherald (Cthulhu): Debilitating enemies with curses and poison this class is master of debuffing across a wide area of attack. Like other support classes the Plagueherald needs to carefully manage their health while allowing time for their damage to take effect.
  • Quartermaser (Three spears): This locked class offers great flexibility with elements of tanking, support and physical attacks (ranged and melee). Supporting this variety with a keen interest in Gloomhaven items and snapping up loot in scenarios also ties into their merchant heritage in the lore.
  • Sawbones (Saw): While the name might suggest a fighting focused class the Sawbones is actually a deadly support and crowd control specialist known for their ability to grant players temporary cards for their turn. This character offers an abundance of healing, stuns and disarms that allow them to work on the front line effectively.
  • Soothsinger (Music Note): Filling a supportive role in Gloomhaven the Soothsinger plays their instruments like a bard to those around them to buff the team and debuff enemies. Based around the playing of songs this playstyle is also supported by elements of crowd control to ensure the team can succeed while staying out of harm’s way.
  • Summoner (Circles): The name of this Gloomhaven character gives you instant insight into their playstyle with the class based around summoning allies into battle for the party. With these summons offering a mixture of melee, ranged and utility the Summoner can confidentially walk the line between both damage dealer and support although you are at the mercy of the randomness of summons.
  • Sunkeeper (Sun): The ultimate tank of Gloomhaven with a sun themed character that brings high health and reliable methods to obtain shield when fighting and reminiscent of a paladin in design. The trade off for this durability is limited movement options that means you will often not have significant time to use your attacking cards between moving between enemies to soak up damage.

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.

  1. A correction: the Plagueherald actually does not have a large health pool, they have the same HP as the “mage/support” characters do, aka Spellweaver/Soothsinger/etc.

    • Thanks D! We’ve corrected that error.

      Games Finder Team


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