Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Gloomhaven Quartermaster Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items
This guide to the popular Gloomhaven Quartermaster explores how to optimise your play as this item themed character that can be a powerful solo or team mercenary depending on your card choices and associated playstyle. This Gloomhaven guide includes information on the individual card choices from starting choices and the level up options with discussion on the reasons behind each of these decision points. It also includes information and my personal recommendations in developing a full Gloomhaven build for the Quartermaster with perks, card enhancements and item purchases from the merchant where applicable.
The Quartermaster (Three Spears) is one of the many unlockable classes in Gloomhaven and presents themselves as a Valrath that specialises in equipping themselves and other fighters with the necessary gear to get the job done. Like other Valrath they are capable fighters but equally powerful when using their mind to solve problems, find solutions and utilise their merchanting network to locate or empower equipment. As a result when playing as the Quartermaster you’ll find a capable fighter that can deal reliable damage across ranged and melee attacks, decent area of effect options and the unique ability to bring back used items for themselves or allies that unlocks some truly devastating party combinations. With several options to loot and heal the Quartermaster is a trusty ally that can really do it all and is only held back by their slower than average initiative and small hand size although the latter can somewhat be overcome. With these minor drawbacks the Quartermaster is often considered one of the best Gloomhaven characters available.
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:
– Quartermaster Cards, Perks, Enhancements and Items Overview
– Quartermaster Cards Detailed
– Quartermaster Perks Detailed
– Quartermaster Enhancements Detailed
– Quartermaster Items Detailed
Gloomhaven Quartermaster Guide Overview
This quick overview section of the broader Quartermaster guide is designed to serve as a quick reference that players can use throughout their level 1 to 9 journey while playing the digital or board game version of Gloomhaven. It does not include specific detailed information on why the choices are made and potential alternative choices although these are explored further down the page in the detailed section for those dedicated Gloomhaven players that want that level of information.
This makes the overview section perfect for newer Gloomhaven players that want to follow a template to beat the various scenarios the game has to offer. These card, perk, enhancements and item selections focus on building a well rounded Quartermaster that can assist themselves and allies with primarily damage and light touches of healing and utility with the detailed section exploring how players can push the Quartermaster into a specialist utility mercenary should they wish. While this utility focused pathway can be strong and interesting to play it does require that you have a healthy number of powerful items unlocked and purchased across your team which is why I recommend the damage focused options below with healing and other utility a secondary focus.
Quartermaster Cards Overview
- Level 1: Remove Scroll of Recall, Oversized Pack and Proficiency to create your starting deck of cards
- Level 2: Bladed Boomerang replaces Reserved Energy
- Level 3: Scroll of Lightning replaces Restock
- Level 4: Giant Club replaces Cleaving Axe
- Level 5: Reinforced Steel replaces replaces Iron Bulwark
- Level 6: Catastrophic Bomb replaces Crippling Bow
- Level 7: Scroll of Judgement (level 5 card) replaces Bladed Boomerang
- Level 8: Portable Ballista replaces Impaling Spear
- Level 9: Scroll of Annihilation replaces Scroll of Judgement
Quartermaster Perks Priority Overview
- Ignore negative item effects and add two +1 cards
- Remove two -1 cards (take twice)
- Add one +0 refresh item card (take three times)
- Replace one +0 card with one +2 card (take twice)
- Remove four zeros
- Add rolling +1 modifiers (take twice)
- Add rolling stun card
Quartermaster Enhancements Priority Overview
- Add Bless or Strength to the bottom of Crushing Hammer
- Add Jump to the bottom of Hastened Step
- Add Move to the bottom of Scroll of Judgement
- Add Bless to the top of Sharpening Kit
Quartermaster Items Priority Overview
- Minor Stamina Potion
- Eagle-Eye Goggles
- Boots of Striding
- Minor Healing Potion
- War Hammer
- Hide Armour
Gloomhaven Quartermaster Guide Detailed
This detailed section of the Gloomhaven Quartermaster guide provides additional information on key decision points that will help you make decisions based on your party specifics. For example the Quartermaster’s utility cards are significantly increased in value when your allies have the best items from higher prosperity levels that may change some of your decisions away from the damage focused cards of the overview section. Regardless if you follow the overview section, the detailed section or create something entirely your own players should be careful as they build the Quartermaster given your small hand size of 9 cannot support a significant number of burn cards or more than one persistent effect.
Quartermaster Cards Detailed
The Quartermaster cards discussion below is shown in unlock order and explores the recommended cards, optional alternatives and potential traps to avoid to get the most out of your Quartermaster experience.
- Starting Cards: With many great level 1 cards it can be difficult to determine your starting hand as the Quartermaster as there are several cards that sound really powerful on paper but rarely work in practice as they require specific setups to be effective. It’s for this reason that we pass on Scroll of Recall, Oversized Pack and Proficiency in our kit which sound great but as a level 1 Quartermaster you are simply unlikely to have the best items for these to reach their peak and by the time you do you’ll have better cards anywhere. This also ensures you pick up some of the core cards that stay with you all the way to level 9 like Hastened Step (large move and good initiative), Sharpening Kit (great heal and ability to buff ranged attacks) and Crushing Hammer (our best initiative card that is sorely needed while also adding durability with the bottom and an experience farm in the top at the end of a scenario).
- Level 2 Cards: Just like the level 1 card options you have something that looks good when printed on the card but simply isn’t as powerful as it sounds when you are a level 2 Quartermaster. While players can definitely take Reforged if you want to push your build towards utility for the team I recommend that your standard pick is Bladed Boomerang given it’s flexibility as a ranged attack for wounding an enemy and providing a reliable movement option.
- Level 3 Cards: If you took Reforged at level 2 for utility purposes you have the opportunity to double down further with Continual Supply if your allies have some devastating consumable items on their mercenaries. Discarding cards at our hand size is dangerous though so this path is best reserved for an experience party that can close out a scenario quickly. For the majority of Gloomhaven players and Quartermaster builds you will want to take the powerful Scroll of Lightning that provides a powerful attack 5 at range and gives you some trap pushing potential with the move 3 and push 1 bottom.
- Level 4 Cards: Once again buffing your damage output your level 4 choice is an easy one as the Quartermaster with Giant Club that provides two attacks in a single card and surprisingly even comes with an experience point on the top that allows you to generate experience consistently. Fitting it into your hand is the harder challenge at this level with either Cleaving Axe or Iron Bulwark your best options given they are starting to be the weakest cards in your hand at this level.
- Level 5 Cards: Level 5 offers the Quartermaster two tempting choices which is why I recommend they are both added to your hand eventually. Reinforced Steel is the slightly better option though with the shield 2 bottom being a fantastic first room choice in a scenario with players generally being ambushed in the first rooms of many scenarios. The real strength though is the top once it is safe to play which is our best persistent option and allows us to consistently regain spent items to boost our attack or defence when the time calls for it. On the other hand the Scroll of Judgement top is not particularly useful but a bottom move stun is a nice addition to our kit and I recommend taking this at level 7 as your other cards at this level up are mediocre at best.
- Level 6 Cards: Depending on your party composition the Quiver of Arrows card at this level can be insanely powerful although does require careful team co-ordination to optimise. If you have at least 2 ranged mercenaries at this point and expect the party to not change any time soon it’s definitely a viable choice that you can make and is a satisfying utility support card to utilise. Predominately though players will be taking Catastrophic Bomb at level 6 with the ability to boost the 1 attack through items, perks and the bottom of Sharpening Kit which allows you to hit an entire room and potentially even draw one of your item refresh modifiers.
- Level 7 Cards: Level 7 is the weakest options for the Quartermaster to date and why I recommend going back to your level 5 options to select Scroll of Judgement at this stage. Exploring the level 7 options we will see that Refreshment is not particularly useful as we simply shouldn’t absorb another persistent loss or burn card at our hand size. Scroll of Blizzards is slightly better but we already have Catastrophic Bomb that fills a similar ranged attack role for us although the bottom can be interesting when used to stop away from a group of melee attackers that effectively stuns them for a turn.
- Level 8 Cards: Fortified Position can be tempting at level 8 given it effectively can be an improvement to Crushing Hammer bottom with a larger move and shield value with even lower initiative which is something the Quartermaster is always desperate for. While this path is tempting the ability to replace our Impaling Spear with a stronger variation that can reach further and provide added utility against shielded enemies is simply too attractive. This does mean we lose an important bottom move 4 card which will put extra pressure on using our boots appropriately and reclaiming them with Reinforced Steel as necessary.
- Level 9 Cards: If you’re playing the digital version of Gloomhaven (Guildmaster in particular) the Bag of Holding can actually be a great way to farm gold for your party with the largest loot in the game while also being a top action. Outside of this specific situation though the Scroll of Annihilation is the card you want given it provides an area of effect disarm (great candidate for a jump if you are swimming in gold) and the backup top action that can kill anything at the cost of a burn. The replacement card at this point is quite flexible as well based on your party dynamics and playstyle although given it’s similar role to Scroll of Judgement is the most obvious.
Quartermaster Perks Detailed
Like many mercenaries in Gloomhaven the perk choices are relatively straight forward for players although the Quartermaster does have the unique refresh item perks that play perfectly in your playstyle of getting items back by providing another way to return items to our inventory. I recommend taking these after you remove some of your negative attack values and the ignore item effect perk given we generally have an armour focused chest piece though. From this point onwards it is the typical pathway of buffing our attack values to boost our attacks (Catastrophic Bomb starts to feel powerful in particular at this point) and grab the rolling modifiers in the order of stun > target > muddle > pierce which is simply based on the usefulness you can expect when these randomly randomly appear.
Quartermaster Enhancements Detailed
In my experience it feels like the Quartermaster has one of the fewest enhancement slots available in Gloomhaven although I’ve never spent the time to count it. Thankfully the strong base values and utility of your cards means that enhancements are not really needed to play the Quartermaster optimally so consider saving the gold for your allies instead.
That being said if you have gold to spare I would always prioritise options that buff your movement with either additional movement or jump if you find that necessary in your party. The best options for this include Hastened Step or Crushing Hammer with Scroll of Judgement or Scroll of Lightning being secondary options depending on the hand you ultimately build. Other enhancement options are focused around Bless and Strengthen on your Crushing Hammer and Sharpening Kit cards that can empower our own damage or allies. Beyond these there really aren’t any other options other than empowering Portable Ballista attack with Wound, Poison or even Disarm depending on your wealth if your team lacks these sort of debuffs but is definitely not necessary.
Quartermaster Items Detailed
From the pool of starting items the Quartermaster benefits from the likes of the Minor Stamina Potion to help mitigate our small hand size and Boots of Striding to buff our terrible movement values with these being priority purchases. Building on this with defensive options like the Minor Healing Potion and Hide Armour will ensure when utilising your mostly melee attacks you’ll be able to survive a few hits alongside your parties other front line warriors. If your team lacks crowd control the combination of War Hammer and Cleaving Axe or Impaling Spear can also be quite effective while you have these cards. Players should of course take the upgraded variants of these items as and if they become available.
Beyond the starting items players will want to focus on items that can be refreshed through Reinforced Steel to add flexibility to your kit such as items that provide shields or add debuffs to your attacks as this will enhance your survivability and fill a hole in your kit around inflicting status like wound, poison or curse that all have their uses against enemies.