Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Gloomhaven Cragheart Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items
Our Gloomhaven guide to the Cragheart provides players with assistance to build this flexible character with details of card choices to make as you level up and turn this master of Earth into a powerful ally. In this guide we cover the full build choices with perks, enhancements and items that are detailed with reference to party size and your overall preferred playstyle to give you clear guidance on when to take certain upgrades. With the Cragheart being a jack of all trades class in Gloomhaven they have the most diverse build choices of any starting class and while this can be daunting at first it’s actually a great asset as players will generally do okay regardless of how you play this mercenary.
The Cragheart can literally do it all in Gloomhaven with the ability to deal area of effect attacks at range or melee while also being able to support their team with tanking, crowd control and various utility. Blended between these card choices you’ll find primarily Earth generation and usage to buff your abilities along with themes around rock obstacle creation and destruction. The latter part in particular is heavily impacted by your party size as larger party sizes means more allies and enemies to contend with. This rock theme is also a visual aesthetic of the Cragheart with the lore of this character race tied to their ability to command elements and exiled if they are unable to reach the necessary level of mastery established by their society.
Despite being a jack of all trades and the ability to get through the early stages with any focus your best option is generally going to be one that avoids tanking all the time by hanging back and dealing your primary damage from range while literally throwing obstacles around the scenario map and casting other support abilities. This is because much of your tanking effectiveness comes from a small number of utility cards and your natural health pool rather than traditional tank tools that other classes like the Brute possess. Achieving these goals also helps to counter your main weaknesses of later initiatives across your cards and some general movement difficulties until you progress through levels.
If you’re still considering if the Cragheart or another Gloomhaven character is your next mercenary of choice visit our class summary article or our Gloomhaven class tier list.
Gloomhaven Cragheart Guide Overview
Serving as an overview when playing the Cragheart this section offers summary information to building this Gloomhaven class that can be referenced while in the digital version or playing the physical board game. The path shown is one that will work in most situations and doesn’t account for specific party combos which are instead discussed in the detailed section. This means ensuring players have a balance of healing, damage and durability with a lean towards area of effect damage that is most effective in larger party sizes. If you want to hone in on a single strength of the Cragheart or are playing in a small 2 player party size refer to the detailed section for specific considerations in these situations.
Cragheart Cards Overview
- Level 1: Remove Opposing Strike, Rock Tunnel and Forceful Storm to create your starting deck
- Level 2: Sentient Growth replaces Crushing Grasp
- Level 3: Clear The Way replaces Nature’s Lift
- Level 4: Rock Slide replaces Avalanche
- Level 5: Blunt Force (level 3 card) replaces Unstable Upheaval
- Level 6: Cataclysm replaces Earthen Clod
- Level 7: Brutal Momentum replaces Heaving Swing
- Level 8: Rocky End replaces Sentient Growth
- Level 9: Blind Destruction replaces Crater
Cragheart Perks Priority Overview
- Replace -1 with +1 (take three times)
- Remove four zeros
- Add one +2 muddle (take twice)
- Add one -2 and add two +2
- Ignore negative scenario effects
- Add one +1 immobilise (take twice)
Cragheart Enhancements Priority Overview
- Add curse to the top of Dirt Tornado (optional expensive option)
- Add +1 move to the bottom of Rumbling Advance
- Add strengthen to the bottom of Blunt Force
- Add +1 attack or wound to the top of Massive Boulder
Cragheart Items Priority Overview
- Boots of Striding
- Minor Stamina Potion
- Eagle-Eye Goggles
- Piercing Bow
- Minor Power Potion
- Leather Armour
Gloomhaven Cragheart Guide Detailed
This detailed section discusses all of the specific decision points you will have during your progression when playing the Cragheart. With the Cragheart having many close decisions given their jack of all trades design reading the below detail will equip you to create this character as necessary for your own playstyle and party dynamics. It is quite likely that your personal Cragheart will be different from others in the community and players may find themselves regularly swapping cards in and out for the scenario at hand and any associated party member shifts. That being said I still recommend that your Cragheart primarily focuses on ranged area of effect damage with a splash of healing as necessary and taking cards that on face value might seem weak but provide invaluable initiative or move as this is a weakness that this mercenary regularly faces.
Cragheart Cards Detailed
The Cragheart cards are detailed below in level order and includes discussion related to party sizes, personal playstyles and other considerations of when each card should be considered for your deck:
- Avalanche (Starting): We take Avalanche in our starting hand although it doesn’t generally stick around for long as its just an average card, while we are themed around creating obstacles the Cragheart has better options to create them later that are simply better either due to range or initiative in addition to the creation.
- Opposing Strike (Starting): An average level 1 attack with 3 damage, while the concept of attacking enemies either side of you is a unique design of the card and fits into the Cragheart theme this is rarely a situation you will want to place yourself in given the damage you would take. For this reason if it does make it into your hand you should view this simply as a single attack 3 on one enemy but given the weak overall bottom and awkward to use initiative you simply have better options at level 1.
- Backup Ammunition (Starting): A solid card in our arsenal with the top providing an ideal setup before we unleash all of our ranged attacks in a final room to effectively double our damage output. While there are many potential cards to utilise this Massive Boulder is generally your best option and players should be aware that any ranged attack will spend the four charges so plan carefully. The bottom move also gives this card plenty of utility until the point you want to active this and provides another potential enhancement if you want more move although lower in the priority list compared to other enhancements.
- Crater (Starting): Crater gives us a reliable top action attack as the Cragheart that will be a staple of our rotation for a while, the bonus push when we have Earth available also provides added utility and damage through trap pushes. The bottom is situational useful in the final rooms of scenarios for the potential 2 experience or when high shield enemies are giving your party trouble.
- Crushing Grasp (Starting): Another typical level 1 attack 3 option with the benefit of having immobilise and generating an element for us although is likely to be replaced before that is a real factor. The loot 1 is also okay utility early on when we are looking to maximise gold gain although still gets quickly replaced when we have better options but may float in and out of your deck for loot based scenarios if we lack allies with loot cards.
- Dirt Tornado (Starting): One of the best cards in our arsenal for utility and the ability to impact a large area of effect. The low base damage does mean we will want to be empowering this with Earth whenever possible but even without that the muddle is fantastic team utility to reduce incoming damage although you need to factor in your ally positions. Be cautious around the high initiative of this attack and if the enemies have a perfect position at the start of the round you need to be pairing it with one of our few low initiative cards. It’s also one of our only solid move cards at the start with move 3 although that means we won’t be able to use the top attack for that rest cycle so use with caution.
- Earthen Clod (Starting): While not the best card available to the Cragheart this gives us reliable top and bottom actions that aren’t bad by any means and an early candidate for burning during a rest cycle. The long range on the top is perfect at locking down a melee enemy at the back of a room but does require our favourite element while the bottom gives us an easy to use heal that while small can top off allies or remove status effects before a larger heal.
- Massive Boulder (Starting): A fantastic card that does so much for the Cragheart overall as it gives us a strong move 4 when necessary and a reliable ranged attack that has some area of effect direct damage to both enemy and ally while generating our core element for us. With two great actions this is a staple card for the Cragheart’s progression from level 1 to 9 and you want to prioritise using the top in a scenario which can be later enhanced with a status effect to help it stay relevant.
- Rock Tunnel (Starting): Perfectly on point as far as Cragheart theme goes but not particularly useful as either a top or bottom action. Destroying an adjacent obstacle is not really required in scenarios despite the experience gained and the bottom is simply not worth a loss so you won’t be taking this card at all during your journey.
- Rumbling Advance (Starting): Rumbling Advance is one of our core Cragheart cards with one of our better initiatives at 29 combined with useful top and bottom actions that will always have use. The top heal is solid for ourselves when we take damage and also has sufficient range to easily heal an ally if necessary. Alternatively the bottom is a reliable movement that can inflict okay damage on a group of enemies but is most suited to low health targets that have shield and in time is a good candidate to enhance from move 2 to move 3. Both actions also generate Earth for us that make this card a staple in many combos we will utilise as we progress through Gloomhaven.
- Unstable Upheaval (Starting): Double losses are rarely good in Gloomhaven but this one is surprisingly fantastic although not for the top and bottom actions. Instead with this card you’ll regularly be playing the default action for 2 movement at 13 initiative which helps to setup our other attacks when we want to act before the enemy has the chance to move. Only ever play this as a default move and expect this card to stay with you for a while until you gain another card that provides similar utility.
- Forceful Storm (Starting): An extremely powerful top loss for a level 1 card that gives you an area of effect damage potential of 9 and disarm at good range. As with most area of effect cards though on average you’ll probably be only getting 2 enemies with this even in a full party that reduces the value of the loss overall. With the weak bottom component of this card as the Cragheart isn’t a fantastic class to setup strong melee attacking turns it will be living on the sidelines for the entire game.
- Heaving Swing (Starting): Building on the Cragheart theme further this is a melee focused card that can come in handy when you do get into melee fights with an enemy to push them back into a trap, one of your own obstacles or ruining their turn in general with the push. Later on when we have some better options to create obstacles (like level 4 Rock Slide) this becomes a staple combo for aggressive combos where you’ll be moving into an enemy and shoving them back into an obstacle for extra damage. The bottom is nice to pair with some of our powerful area of effect ranged attacks although the uses are few and far between given the initiative of this card and the cards we want to pair it with just make it too much of a gamble unless you co-ordinate with a party member to hold enemies in place until your turn. Note we also need to be in a position where we don’t mind not moving that turn as well which are similarly rare occurrences as we are already a slow character.
- Nature’s Lift (Starting): The bottom has too many variables to be reliable and isn’t really worth the lost card even though it is effective for 5 turns as the additional range is hardly needed. The top is definitely useful in larger party sizes and like our other low heal (Earthen Clod) is primarily for wound or poison removal and depending on your party composition you might want to hold onto this a little longer.
- Explosive Punch (Level 2): The top fantasy of this card is fantastic in theory and most players can picture this attack in their mind causing significant devastation to those around the Cragheart. Unfortunately with this card being a loss and too many variables required for this setup to work your other level 2 option is simply better across the board. The move 4 and good initiative is a shame to miss out on though but only a few more levels and we will be able to solve some of those weaknesses for our slow rock themed Cragheart.
- Sentient Growth (Level 2): Offering superior consistency over our other level 2 option Sentient Growth gives us attack and healing across both bottom and top that makes it quite a unique card. The best situations you’ll encounter for the top is a melee ally that is staring into the eyes of two enemies that gives you the opportunity to deal damage and heal. The bottom ability allows us to perform 3 actions in a turn with move, heal and attack is a nice quality of life although none are particularly powerful.
- Blunt Force (Level 3): The top loss provides the Cragheart with one of their few single target attacks and when enhanced by our element can be a powerful single burst hit in the final room of a scenario either on an elite or boss. The real value of Blunt Force though is the relatively quick initiative of 21 and providing us with an extra move card which we are lacking and can be further enhanced for extra power. For all intents and purposes you can ignore the retaliate on this card as we should not be regularly up close with enemies and retaliate in general is a weak Gloomhaven mechanic.
- Clear The Way (Level 3): Another perfectly themed card for the Cragheart that has us literally throw a nearby obstacle across the map to deal some area of effect damage for experience and when enhanced with element can quickly add up in overall damage. The bottom loss is generally never worth using though outside of the opportunity to gain experience at the end of a scenario when it has already been won but there are some scenario moments where we might desperately need a jump.
- Kinetic Assault (Level 4): While a move and attack top card with low initiative has some benefit to the Cragheart the bottom is a lacklustre loss outside of a small number of scenarios with particular enemy types that can be countered in other ways. Competing against one of the Cragheart defining cards in Rock Slide at level 4 also means you’ll simply be never be taking this card.
- Rock Slide (Level 4): One of the cards that the Cragheart has been waiting for and allows us to start using our obstacle theme with greater ease and efficiency. The top does a lot for the Cragheart with elemental production, damage on obstacle creation (with 4 range) and a point of experience for our efforts. While two damage doesn’t sound like much when first reading this card you have to keep in mind that this is direct damage that can bypass shields, the attack itself works in an area of effect and with the ability to create 3 obstacles you have plenty of obstacles to use for other attacks. Players do need to be careful of their allies when casting this with teams that are heavy on melee characters and those lacking heals are particularly vulnerable. The large move is also a nice situational to have but I wouldn’t recommend giving up the powerful top for it during a rest cycle in the vast majority of situations.
- Petrify (Level 5): Petrify lacks any redeeming features for our intended Cragheart build across the top and bottom actions. The top is a poor loss action with many other classes having vastly superior instant kill enemy cards although ours can be done at 4 range there is rarely a situation this is needed. The bottom doesn’t really work for us either given the intended use of this card is to dive into enemies and immobilise them so they can’t move which is a better suited role to a pure tank with better initiative.
- Stone Pummel (Level 5): Stone Pummel gives players the opportunity to build further towards a melee build and is an upgrade to Opposing Strike with it adding muddle and additional targets to the attack. The bottom also suits this playstyle by giving 12 damage over the course of 4 attacks. If you find yourself fulfilling a melee role in your party this might be one to consider given the additional utility of muddle but a ranged Cragheart has little need for this and you have better use of your level 5 unlock to go back to previous levels and obtain a much needed card in Blunt Force that will pay dividends into the future.
- Cataclysm (Level 6): Offering huge top loss melee action that when empowered by our familiar element can be game changing to the final room of a scenario in terms of damage and some immobilise utility. Up until this point the bottom move and the initiative are a perfect addition to our Cragheart’s kit to move across the scenario battlefield and position ourselves as necessary and can even be empowered up to move 6 if we fall behind our allies.
- Dig Pit (Level 6): A top action that is lacking in general particularly when you consider this is a level 6 card as traps are difficult to utilise across Gloomhaven. While you could in theory place these down and use some of your limited push options this is a lot of setup for low damage and a stun that is simply not worth your trouble. Mechanically the bottom is a little more interesting with a basic move and the ability to go invisible but this isn’t worth losing Cataclysm for at this level and can be replaced with an item instead if we really want to be able to go invisible (although items lack the repeatability of this card).
- Brutal Momentum (Level 7): Brutal Momentum is yet another card that builds on our obstacle theme and also allows us to empower our ranged attacks for extra damage on top of that to create some even deadlier combos. In regards to the top you’ll need some setup to use this effectively but nothing that the Cragheart isn’t capable of and the damage is a decent payoff for your efforts. Alternatively a push value of 2 makes it equally viable to just use any trap that is already included on the scenario floor for damage or utility instead.
- Meteor (Level 7): A solid card from a move, initiative and jump stand point Meteor is not bad by any means and can be useful for a Cragheart that likes to get into the thick of things and needs that jump to bypass enemies (such as for Stone Pummel). The top is just an average loss although fun to use given the size of the obstacle feels powerful to create. Overall these combined actions don’t offer enough to consider over our other level 7 option unless the jump is vital to your build such as a melee brawler build.
- Lumbering Bash (Level 8): A strong melee card that combines attack and move in the top action resulting in a flexible combination that will also generate an element. The bottom isn’t that fantastic though especially by the time we get to level 8 as the heal value is smaller than we would like. For melee focused builds though the top outweighs the weak bottom and gives us a fantastic addition to our Cragheart card choices.
- Rocky End (Level 8): The top requires some serious setup but the payoff is well worth it and allows us to strike down significant damage on a single foe when necessary. For most of a scenario though you’ll be using this for the bottom move and decent (for us) initiative though that makes it your go to for most Cragheart’s at level 8.
- Blind Destruction (Level 9): Your ultimate Cragheart card that turns you into an even greater threat to enemies and without a doubt the clear choice of your level 9 options. From the top action that gives you a long range attack and reasonable base damage that also impacts those around your target to the bottom that provides a solid move and another source of direct damage against multiple enemies. It’s primarily the top action that gives Blind Destruction its power level though but you must be careful when using it around allies as the high damage card is equally as deadly against friends.
- Pulverise (Level 9): While not the worst level 9 card available in Gloomhaven across characters it is possibly quite close given its a double loss of mediocre actions that just require specific situations to be effective and the payoff for those is still low.
Cragheart Perks Detailed
Like most perk choices for characters in Gloomhaven the Cragheart has fairly straight forward decisions in terms of order. Your first priority is to clean up your attacks of -1 and add some healthy +1 options which the Cragheart can take three times before removing our zeros to ensure most of our attacks start to hit above expectations. Follow this up with the +2 muddles which gives our consistent area of effect ranged attacks some potential utility when activated reducing the damage that our team takes.
At this stage you can either continue one building damage with +1s or if you are tired of scenario effects ruining your day you can look to take this now. If you do plan to use an armour with negative effects don’t forget to also grab the remove negative item effects perk as appropriate so you aren’t adding negative modifiers into your deck and reducing your important damage output. I wouldn’t rush to take the negative -2 but two +2 perk as it can have a significant impact on your plans each turn although should be obtained eventually given that it’s an overall net gain to damage.
Cragheart Enhancements Detailed
The Cragheart has one of the most broken enhancement options with Dirt Tornado able to have curse added to the top that gives you an area of effect curse that will dramatically reduce monster effectiveness throughout the scenario. Often referred to in the community as “Cursenado” saving up for this provides you with a powerful area of effect option that like your other area of effect actions excels in full party games where there are simply more enemies. This is not a cheap upgrade though so while it is the strongest if you plan to retire your Cragheart relatively early or find acquiring gold slow you’ll probably have more fun playing the Cragheart by grabbing other convenience enhancements as opposed to saving up for something you might only use a few times.
Your other enhancements focus on giving you some additional movement on the likes of Rumbling Advance with a few other core movement cards (such as Backup Ammunition) also good candidates for an extra. Second to this strengthen on Blunt Force bottom is incredible given we are using this as an initiative setup card from the time we unlock it and provides a consistent damage boost. Further damage can be added directly to Massive Boulder given it is an efficient cost option for either raw attack or wound depending on the party members you have with you.
Cragheart Items Detailed
The Cragheart items are focused on addressing your movement weaknesses with Boots of Striding early and then augmenting that with options to buff your damage such as Minor Stamina Potion and Eagle-Eye Goggles as your core. These latter two items give you more consistent damage output while building up your foundation of perks and allow for some devastating back to back turns with some planning. For a melee focused Cragheart in particular the Iron Helmet can be a viable alternative given it can significantly cut down on damage received.
After these core items your choices from the starting items are less clear and start to become party dependant. Piercing Bow for example can be good in shielded enemy scenarios if you don’t have another suitable class to deal with them although you do have your own sources of direct damage to bypass shields so definitely not a must have. The Minor Power Potion is similar in this regard in that the extra damage does wonders for an area of effect attack in each scenario but is not an urgent buy. The choice of armour as a Cragheart is possibly the hardest choice of all with Leather Armour, Hide Armour and even Cloak of Invisibility being perfectly viable depending on playstyle and party needs. If taking Hide Armour it should be taken only after you have the respective perk to remove negative item effects though.