Gloomhaven Hatchet Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items

Last Updated on October 15, 2023 by Samuel Franklin

Gloomhaven Hatchet Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items

Exploring the power of the Jaws of the Lion hero known as the Hatchet this Gloomhaven Hatchet guide will help players master this ranged attack that relies on his favourite axe to attack enemy after enemy. Often considered to be one of the most popular options in the community of the Jaws of the Lions hero this mercenary is an impressive damage dealing archetype with a blend of ranged and melee attacks with minor aspects of the wind element and pushing enemies. In order to build the best Hatchet possible this guide includes all the necessary information across individual starting and level up card options with discussions of why you may want to make particular decisions. Rounding out these personal recommendations I’ve also included perks, enhancements and equipment options to provide the full spectrum of Hatchet information to succeed in both Jaws of the Lion and base campaign content.

Serving as one of the four Jaws of the Lion characters the Hatchet is an Inox character and unlike their other Inox that are known for brute strength and endurance the Hatchet has opted for the throwing axe as their weapon of choice instead that still requires these attributes although requires more finesse. The result is a fighter with the ability to unleash a never ending barrage of axes at medium to close range although your speciality is using your favourite axe for additional damage before retrieving it from your enemy (or the floor) to repeat the process. This playstyle is perfectly supported by your array of card choices to push enemies away, retrieve your axe in several ways and several multiple target attacks that reflect the store of axes you carry on your back hat can inflict status effects directly or once empowered with perks. The Hatchet is held back by their lower than average movement cards though which makes positioning critical to successful Hatchet play particular given your core mechanic of retrieving your hatchet.

For information and build guides on other Gloomhaven character options visit our Gloomhaven classes overview and the related Gloomhaven class tier list. Note that from this point onwards this guide contains full card spoilers for this class and minor item spoilers (general themes only and not specific non starting items).

Table of Contents:
Hatchet Cards, Perks, Enhancements and Items Overview
Hatchet Cards Detailed
Hatchet Perks Detailed
Hatchet Enhancements Detailed
Hatchet Items Detailed

Gloomhaven Hatchet Guide Overview

This quick portion of the Hatchet guide is designed to be a reference list for each of the individual sections that you can refer back to after reading the full guide or simply utilise quickly while playing Gloomhaven. Listing all of the decision points from level 1 up to level 9 it includes the full card choices you’ll want to make as your default selections. If you’re interested in exploring some of the alternative playstyles or adjustments based on your current mercenary group the detailed section includes information on when making different decisions may or may not be appropriate with the Hatchet having several of these options along the way to max level.

The decisions shown in this overview section are focused on optimising for your primary role of ranged damage dealer, ensuring you many have methods to acquire your favourite hatchet back and gives your team some light utility with your push actions that can make traps lying on the floor the Hatchet’s best friend. Importantly it looks to address a key weakness of the Hatchet which is your ability to move and be in the positions that you need to be while finding a balance between reliance on the favourite mechanic for a more consistent damage output regardless of its status. This means players are not just using the Hatchet for the killing blow but generally placing it within an enemy and then playing their cards that either retrieve it or deal additional damage to the enemy with the Favourite currently.


Hatchet Cards Overview

  • Level 1: Remove Double Throw, Extra Lift and Stopping Power to create your starting deck of cards
  • Level 2: Repeat Shot replaces Care Package
  • Level 3: Fearsome Efficiency Replaces Power Pitch
  • Level 4: Ripped From The Flesh replaces Retrieval
  • Level 5: The New Favourite replaces The Favourite
  • Level 6: Quick Turnaround replaces Fancy Hat
  • Level 7: Brutalize replaces Ripped From The Flesh
  • Level 8: Camaraderie replaces Second Wind
  • Level 9: Heart Seeker replaces Follow Through

Hatchet Perks Priority Overview

  • Remove two -1 cards (take twice)
  • Replace one +0 with one +2 Muddle
  • Add one +2 Wind (take three times)
  • Replace one +1 with one +3 card (take three times)
  • Replace one +0 with +0 Stun
  • Replace one +1 with +1 Stun
  • Replace one +0 with +1 Poison
  • Replace one +0 with +1 Wound

Hatchet Enhancements Priority Overview

  • Add Move or Jump to the bottom of Centre Mass
  • Add +1 Attack to Brutalize
  • Add Range or Target to Disorientating Barrage

Hatchet Items Priority Overview

  • Minor Stamina Potion
  • Eagle-Eye Goggles
  • Boots of Striding
  • Piercing Bow


Gloomhaven Hatchet Guide Detailed

In this detailed section to the Hatchet guide I explore some of the alternative decisions you can make along the way with the Hatchet having a decent number of these decision points that will be influenced by your playstyle and your Gloomhaven party composition. The most obvious consideration when playing as the Hatchet is the balance of loot cards versus cards that retrieve your favourite axe directly from the enemy that will be influenced by how damage orientated your team is. The Hatchet also has minor utility through healing and pushing of monsters which if your team lacks these entirely you may hold onto a healing card slightly longer to removed debuffs on your allies or push monsters into traps for maximum damage.

Hatchet Cards Detailed

The Hatchet detailed card section here breaks down the decision points from starting cards all the way to level 9 that provide some alternative considerations to the overview section you may wish to consider in designing your ideal Hatchet playstyle.

  • Starting Cards: Double Throw is an obvious removal for the Hatchet given it is a double burn card and while we are a 10 card hand character we will always have our Favourite card active that effectively reduces us to a 9 card hand character. Stopping Power and Extra Lift are both removed given they are weak attacks that don’t have particularly attractive bottom actions compared to our other options and we simply have better attack options that don’t need the Wind element to be useful given we have limited generation options as it is.
  • Level 2 Cards: At level 2 the Repeat Shot provides a high attack value of 5 on enemies that have our Favourite token which is well above the average of a level 2 card although it is conditional. Ricochet itself isn’t terrible if players enchant the top twice to boost it’s damage and feels fun to use in a thematic sense but simply can’t match the consistent unenchanted value of Repeat Shot. While I recommend removing Care Package at this point in the overview section if your team is short on healing it isn’t a bad card to keep around for a little longer to remove the pesky poison or wound you and your allies might accumulate and if this interests you then consider removing Power Pitch instead.
  • Level 3 Cards: With the Hatchet having plenty of other methods in time to apply wound the top of Sharpened Blades is not that attractive, especially given we don’t want to rely on burn cards with our smaller effective hand size of 9 after playing The Favourite. The bottom four move is tempting but if we can be hyper efficient with the move we do have you will see better results from selecting Fearsome Efficiency as this gives us a bottom attack that should be used when we have a solid position already and expect to kill an enemy for a 3 attack. We will rarely use the top of Fearsome Efficiency as it’s not particularly useful to us but is a good card to generate some experience towards the end of a scenario when we can afford the burn.
  • Level 4 Cards: Level 4 offers one of the few persistent burn cards I don’t mind utilising on the Hatchet in Overwatch as it can easily be 10 damage in a single turn depending on enemy numbers and their movement although it will be split damage. That being said I prefer the safety of Ripped The Flesh as it gives the Hatchet an easy method to reclaim their Favourite token while also providing some direct damage and wound utility to your team which is never a bad thing. If those reasons don’t align with your playstyle or team feel free to take the easy to use top attack and one of our better persistent burns in Overwatch.
  • Level 5 Cards: While I have experimented a few times with either not taking this card or keeping both Favourite cards for nearly all players I think level 5 is an easy select and replace. The benefit of a Wound and push on your Favourite is definitely nice added utility to deal with the various enemy threats you will face and there aren’t any particularly strong pre level 5 cards anyway. If you find yourself frustrated with a lack of jump (or need it for a specific scenario) you can always bring the level 1 Favourite card back for that purpose which has the added benefit of another low initiative card.
  • Level 6 Cards: The fast initiative of Quick Turnaround paired with the solid top attack and bottom that provides another method to recover our token makes it the obvious choice at this level and much stronger than the level 6 alternative that doesn’t really offer us much other than an average burn card that splits our attacks into 3. While Fancy Hat has served as well as a combo with Disorientating Barrage so far it’s generally around this level that our perks begin to carry our damage output so we can replace that card which was only there for that combo.
  • Level 7 Cards: Brutalize is a clear winner for me at the level 7 options as it adds a nice powerful melee attack for us to be able to move into an enemy that has our Favourite and hit them hard while retrieving it. The flexibility of this card is well above the alternative and provides a clear replacement for Ripped From The Flesh. If you want to hold onto the Wound and loot for party reasons then Follow Through which performs a similar role although at a distance could be replaced instead.
  • Level 8 Cards: A flexible level for the Hatchet where either is a viable choice and it will simply come down to your party and playstyle with the main primary factors being your role in the team and the allies you find yourself with. My default option is the Camaraderie card that gives a simple to use top heal that with some co-ordination provides a massive heal 6 to the team split across 2 heroes while the bottom provides a card that allows us to keep up with the scenario pace while even buffing our attack by 2 provided we have an ally to stand adjacent. If neither of these sound appealing for your current situation Shrapnel is not a terrible choice to give you another attacking option against two different targets while wounding them both.
  • Level 9 Cards: Executioner’s Axe might have a great theme for a level 9 card but it’s not our strongest option at this pinnacle level despite the large 12 guaranteed damage on the top and instant Favourite return if we killed an enemy given we already have an abundance of Favourite return options. Instead I prefer to take the reliable attack card that not only hits hard from a range of 4 but provides a guaranteed stun on a priority target that we need to disable for an entire round.


Hatchet Perks Detailed

The Hatchet is not particularly unique when it comes to perk choices in Gloomhaven although has some unique considerations with some +3 and a wealth of debuffs with poison, wound and stun that turn your axes into deadly weapons. Start with removing any negative perks before moving onto buffing your options with less +0s, some +2s that will generate the occasional wind and finally grab those delicious +3 perks.

From here I would recommend you grab the perks in order of stun, poison and wound as I would rate them in that order of strength for the Hatchet. This is because we are never disappointed when we pull out a stun given its ability to disable an enemy for a round and poison can be a great team debuff to boost everyone’s damage given we already have a decent array of reliable ways to trigger a wound if necessary.


Hatchet Enhancements Detailed

The Hatchet lacks significant enhancement opportunities but still has some critical options that simply add some quality of life to your experience playing as this axe wielding Inox. The first is adding additional movement or jump to your kit through the likes of Centre Mass as this is one of the few cards that stay with you from level 1 to 9 that has an enhancement available on the move action. While jump is generally not a huge priority for a ranged/melee hybrid the utility of being able to position around obstacles and/or traps is definitely welcome for usability. Another potential option to help with playability is to buff Disorienting Barrage with extra range of targets which translates to more damage or an easier time being in range to hit this attack. At larger party sizes I’d favour the additional target while smaller parties you may wish to get the added range to ensure you can maximise your targets hit at all times.

The last notable recommendation here is adding an additional attack to Brutalize given it’s a staple damage card in our kit and one of the few other enhancements we actually have available. Outside of this your options are mostly limited to either Close Cuts or Camaraderie but these flexible card in your hand may not always use the enhancement half reducing the value you gain from having them enhanced.


Hatchet Items Detailed

Starting item choices for the Hatchet in Gloomhaven are aligned with similar damage dealing focused party members with players benefiting from the Eagle Eye Googles in particular for our Fancy Hat and Disorientating Barrage combo early on. Adding in the always useful Minor Stamina Potion I suggest you grab the Piercing Bow to help deal with any shielded enemies for your team and the Boots of Striding to help counter our small movement speed values that make achieving the positions we want difficult.

After these starting items I recommend players look for items that allow you to convert your ranged or melee attacks into area of effect attacks given the Hatchet has some hard hitting cards and perks. Upgrades to out boots are always welcomed as the Hatchet as well alongside anything you can find that gives you more turns, extra range or brings back your items to ensure you have all you need for a devastating turn.

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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