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Gloomhaven Spellweaver Guide – Cards, Builds, Perks, Enhancements & Items
In this Spellweaver guide you’ll learn how to masterfully command the elements of fire and ice for maximum Gloomhaven carnage. Covering cards, build, perks, enhancements, tips and items for the Spellweaver you’ll be well equipped with knowledge to tackle the various dark and gloomy scenarios of the Gloomhaven universe. Whether you’re a new player seeking a simple reference guide to follow or a veteran wanting to dive into the detail and experiment with your options you’ll find both on this Spellweaver guide below. Given this strategy build guide covers all elements of Gloomhaven up to level 9 you can expect spoilers for the Spellweaver class and Gloomhaven in general throughout.
Fulfilling the mage archetype the Spellweaver is a powerful magic user that contributes to a team with fantastic ranged damage with a flair for area of effect as well. While the Spellweaver brings a few other tricks with basic healing, utility and summons your primary role in the vast majority of situations is to constantly outputting damage while managing your own class limitations to prevent exhaustion. Most notably this is your low health pool, weaker movement options and a small hand size although you have the unique Reviving Ether card available which recovers all burned cards when played and allows you to effectively cycle a second time through all of your burns. Staying outside of melee range is thus of course key to your success and having allies stand between you and enemies helps dramatically with this.
If you’re still on the fence about playing as the Spellweaver you can read more on our Gloomhaven class overview guide or a detailed comparison of character power on our Gloomhaven best class tier list.
Gloomhaven Spellweaver Guide Overview
This overview section is intended to cover the basic formula to playing the Spellweaver and provides a quick reference section while playing or ideal for the beginner that wants to follow a step by step process. If you’re an advanced player or simply looking to learn more about specific decisions then dive into the advanced section at the end of this page. The advanced section also provides information to allow you to make your own decisions where there are two viable options to take based on your playstyle preferences and party composition. The below priority section is merely what will be most effective in most situations.
Spellweaver Cards Overview
- Level 1: Remove Hardened Spikes, Freezing Nova and Crackling Air cards to create your starting deck from the remaining starting cards.
- Level 2: Flashing Burst replaces Ride The Wind
- Level 3: Cold Fire but leave it out of your deck for now
- Level 4: Forked Beam replaces Frost Armour
- Level 5: Chromatic Explosion replaces Impaling Eruption. Add Cold Fire to your deck now which replaces Flame Strike
- Level 6: Living Torch replaces Aid From The Ether
- Level 7: Engulfed In Flames (Level 5 card) replaces Fire Orbs
- Level 8: Zephyr Wings but leave out of your deck outside of niche scenarios
- Level 9: Inferno replaces Flashing Burst
Spellweaver Perks Priority Overview
- Replace one -1 with one +1 card (take twice)
- Add one +2 ice (take twice)
- Add one +2 fire (take twice)
- Remove four zeros
Spellweaver Enhancements Priority Overview
- Add any element to the bottom of Reviving Ether
- Add strength to the bottom of Mana Bolt
- Add hex to the top of Cold Fire
Spellweaver Items Priority Overview
- Eagle-Eye Googles
- Minor Power Potion
- Minor Stamina Potion
- Invisibility Cloak
- Piercing Bow
- Boots of Striding
Gloomhaven Spellweaver Guide Detailed
This detailed section dives into the reasons behind all of the above decisions and also discusses when you may want to take alternatives based on party and your scenario objectives.
Spellweaver Cards Detailed
The Spellweaver’s cards are as follows and shown in level order:
- Mana Bolt (Starting): A fantastic card throughout your Gloomhaven adventure as the Spellweaver as it brings not only a fast initiative of 7 but also a reliable way to acquire experience and heal yourself or allies. This will stay a staple of your deck with both top and bottom options having their use throughout the campaign.
- Frost Armour (Starting): Similar to Mana Bolt this offers great initiative for the Spellweaver and a reliable source of experience throughout the game when elements are available. While the bottom is a burn that you’ll rarely use given you should be avoiding places where you will take damage the vast majority of the time the top and initiative mean this is still a regular in the deck.
- Flame Strike (Starting): A solid card for our starting hand although it is 2 range that will mean we have to get closer than we like to deal the damage. That being said it’s on the higher end of the initiative range we have available and still enough opportunity to use it in scenarios. With the double attack on top and bottom it’s also a flexible option and one of our few bottom attacks overall that give us a burst option for use with a top attack.
- Fire Orbs (Starting): One of our strongest cards if not the strongest at level 1 and is appropriately a burn card because of this. With our burn recovery mechanic though you’ll get to use two of these in a scenario which gives us great area of effect damage and experience. Opening with this and closing a scenario with this is likely to be a regular occurrence given the flow of your card usage and the often stacked starting rooms in many scenarios.
- Impaling Eruption (Starting): A similar card to Fire Orbs although slightly more difficult to use effectively in practice as it relies on enemies being in some sort of targetable path. That being said you’ll still use it in your deck for most of your journey as it gives us great damage and another source of mostly easy experience acquisition but is given up before Fire Orbs due to the need to be closer to enemies for maximum effect.
- Reviving Ether (Starting): The core card of the Spellweaver this card is extremely powerful allowing us to bring all our burn cards back from the dead to be used a second time and helps make up for our small hand size. Given this you’ll obviously want to be using this top action as late as possible when you have burned everything else to maximise the gains. This also means you’ll be using the move multiple times a scenario which is why many consider this card a great candidate for any elemental enhancement. The move itself is also quite powerful with 4 and jump included that allows you to move around the map as required.
- Ride The Wind (Starting): The weakest card of all that sneaks into our starting hand and won’t be used long because of that. While loot can be good to have given we can often find it difficult to acquire gold given our ranged focus it is simply not worth giving up something else. The bottom as a burn also simply doesn’t offer as much so you’ll be defaulting to the default move 2 more often that not. There are some super niche uses for this burn to dive deep into the enemies to acquire a chest or unload damage and pair it with invisibility cloak but this is hardly a playstyle you’ll want to rely on.
- Aid From The Ether (Starting): Summons can be hit and miss in Gloomhaven but ranged attackers are definitely stronger than melee summons. Mystic Ally is a fantastic addition to your team and while the 2 range does sometimes mean that they will be the target of attackers they are still a significant contributor to your damage output even after only a few turns. This will be replaced with a different summon later as while it is fun to temporarily run dual summon it’s not your best strategy as the Spellweaver. Summoning this early on in a scenario (generally first turn) is often your best bet so while the heal top and slow initiative to act last is nice it won’t see significant usage for those purposes.
- Hardened Spikes (Starting): With this card being melee focused it doesn’t really offer enough to warrant being included in our hand given our focus should be on damage rather than boosting our ability to take hits (or buffing our allies to do so). Having the appropriate elements is also key to getting the most out of this card which simply aren’t going to be available early often enough and have better uses if they are. You can consider using this instead of Ride the Wind at level 1 for the 26 initiative and 3 move if preferred as it’s the best of the worst cards we are leaving behind at level 1.
- Freezing Nova (Starting): Again this card is melee focused and not something we should be prioritising and the heal burn simply isn’t worth the space in our deck. While the initiative is pretty solid at 21 the top and bottom of this simply don’t work for us.
- Crackling Air (Starting): Offers us little with a top burn that is unnecessary and a retaliate bottom that we simply shouldn’t need if playing the Spellweaver correctly from range. This means it will live to the side of the game board for your entire Spellweaver career.
- Icy Blast (Level 2): A double loss card is rarely a great option in Gloomhaven and that is also the case here given we already have plenty of deadly burn cards we’d rather use instead. You do get a powerful heal and a reasonably good area of effect attack but Flashing Burst simply offers superior usage and longevity for us to even consider this card at level 2.
- Flashing Burst (Level 2): Another nice initiative card for the Spellweaver but most importantly it adds an easy method to gain an element that can be either used for Mana Bolt or Frost Armour and create a fantastic cycle of experience gaining. 3 attack and 3 range is also our bread and butter attack for a while. The 4 move and initiative also give this card fantastic utility in our Spellweaver deck of cards.
- Elemental Aid (Level 3): Elemental Aid is a pretty decent support card all things considered but it is unfortunately competing with one of our best cards at level 3 for the Spellweaver. That being said Elemental Aid can still be a decent pick in the right party where you feel your team needs the extra heal or shield ability and has methods to generate the necessary elements (like a 3-4 player Cragheart party). If this is the case you’ll still need to obtain Cold Fire at some stage though at the cost of something else so factor that in.
- Cold Fire (Level 3): Our best card (that isn’t Reviving Ether) and one you’ll be using plenty towards the mid to late game although at level 3 it is not reliable given it can be difficult to create fire or ice at this stage. When you have consistent methods to self generate fire and ice this becomes a fantastic utility card or a damage card depending on the situation and perfect to use on hexes alongside your front line fighters. This generally applies from level 5 onwards but depending on your allies can be as early as level 3 when it is available so consider your own party circumstances to decide when this gets added to your deck.
- Spirit Of Doom (Level 4): Another double burn loss that if taken is simply going to load us up with too many burn cards and unnecessary given both options really aren’t that great to begin with. Killing a normal target sounds great on paper but these are rarely an issue in scenarios or worth the burn and the heal is not significantly stronger than our other heal cards that aren’t burns if we desperately need a heal.
- Forked Beam (Level 4): Our better option at level 4 and while it’s not game breaking it can be a good replacement for Frost Armour given the same and range initiative on these cards but with the benefit of more overall damage across 2 targets and the experience isn’t reliant on an element being available. The move is also a nice addition with 4 move giving us greater ability to move safely around the scenario battlefield.
- Engulfed In Flames (Level 5): An average level 5 option that we will eventually take for the reliable flame generation and decent non-burn attack to boost our longevity. The top attack is a good replacement for our burn top attacks later on when we need to ensure we don’t exhaust early in later campaign scenarios. The bottom is completely useless to us with the Spellweaver playstyle avoids melee range so you’ll want to be using the default move if you are forced to use the bottom. The main reason for taking this later is that our alternative level 5 is simply too strong to ignore and we already have an abundance of top attacks at this point that while slightly weaker do provide easy sources of experience.
- Chromatic Explosion (Level 5): While it might not seem like much with a small move of 2 the elemental generation on this is invaluable and makes our time in Gloomahven as the Spellweaver easier. With this card obtained we can then bring Cold Fire into our deck that creates a deadly combo when these two cards are combined. Note that because of the power of the bottom on our combo you should be avoiding use of the top.
- Living Torch (Level 6): The best of our level 6 card options and the Burning Avatar can replace our Mystic Ally. It can be fun to run both of these for a scenario or two but any summon beyond one often brings more trouble than its worth. Despite Living Torch doing 1 less damage than Mystic Ally the additional range, movement and fire generation before our turn is going to mean it has a greater chance of survival and provides better utility. The top on this card is solid with good attack, range and and some utility to help ourselves and allies survive although generally won’t get used as summons are often played in your first turn.
- Frozen Night (Level 6): Offers us little as the Spellweaver when compared to our other level 6 option. Adding another burn is not something we are looking for especially when it requires us to get into melee range to use. The bottom seems nice with the invisible but dark is unlikely to be on the board often unless we give up fire or ice generation for it which is simply not worth it most of the time.
- Stone Fists (Level 7): Another melee and damage absorbing focused card that doesn’t fit into our overall theme although some in the community have created a Spellweaver melee build by combining this and the other melee focused cards together but that is not the focus of this guide.
- Twin Restoration (Level 7): The bottom does provide a useful double heal with decent range which will be the primary reason you want to consider this card if you are falling into a supportive party role regularly. However, the fact that this card cannot be claimed back by Reviving Ether does hurt our longevity in scenarios. It’s also awkward to use in practice as you’ll often need the move on your bottom cards to position yourself or for fire/ice generation that enables Cold Fire. Thus I consider this a good opportunity to take Engulfed Flames instead from Level 5 to bolster our attacking power instead (or another card from past level unlocks that interests you).
- Cold Front (Level 8): More double loss cards available to the Spellweaver which we simply can’t take as we will be exhausting too early in scenarios. Cold Front can be tempting as it is fantastic with the right enemy setup but you’ll have greater consistency in scenarios by not taking this double loss. The bottom is also not worth the burn loss in our deck for what it offers us.
- Zephyr Wings (Level 8): The better of the level 8 options and one I will take but not make it a staple of the deck unless the scenario calls for significant looting or moving and my party lacks those. This level can also be a good opportunity to look back at the other cards you haven’t taken and consider if you would prefer one of them over this niche option although I encourage Zephyr Wings to provide you a good sideboard card option when needed.
- Black Hole (Level 9): Overshadowed by the other level 9 option Black Hole won’t be making it into your Spellweaver deck. As a card itself it’s not particularly great anyway with a pull move on a class that doesn’t want enemies close to them and a burn top that feels powerful when used against 3 enemies although those opportunities are few and fair between and we sacrifice too much longevity for it.
- Inferno (Level 9): The pinnacle of Spellweaver power the Inferno top attack is absolutely deadly and with a good initiative of 19 gives us another quick attack option. While your allies will suffer damage when in the same room this will often be less damage than full rooms of enemies take, particularly when enhanced with fire element. The fact that this is a non burn is just the icing on the cake for us with a party of good healing or shields allowing us to use this over and over again. The bottom isn’t necessarily terrible either when we have to use it but not the focus of this card by any means and should be avoided.
Spellweaver Perks Detailed
Like other characters our priority as the Spellweaver is to improve our damage consistency as it allows you to plan out your attacks with allies. For this reason removing the -1s twice boost our overall damage output as our first few options and remove some impact from random number generation on our damage. Following this adding the +2 ice and fires in that order give us another potential source to empower Cold Fire or our other abilities while boosting our damage further. It’s at this point that zero removal allows us to take advantage of all the +2 we have just acquired by thinning our modifiers.
From this point on your choice of Spellweaver perks is less clear and will likely depend on your party and overall campaign situation at this point. Unfortunately from here on you do somewhat dilute your the impression attack modifier deck you’ve built but unless your own house rules allow you not to level up and take perk points you’ll still need to acquire them. Grabbing the +1 options with Wound and Curse effects are the best of this bunch and followed closely by Stun and Immobolise simply because they are harder to use well if you don’t know its coming with your attack while Wound and Curse are more generalist modifiers.
Spellweaver Enhancements Detailed
Gold won’t come easy to a Spellweaver depending on your party generosity so focusing on only a few small enhancements is a likely outcome for us as we prioritise the gold we do acquire. Given we use the move of Reviving Ether consistently in a scenario it makes for an obvious choice for any element albeit an expensive one to acquire but does allow us to further focus on our Cold Fire attacks.
This ties in closely with our next priority which is boosting Cold Fire as our primary skill with an extra hex to give us the opportunity to hit four enemies in front of us. It also opens up additional potential for 3 hits that might not have been possible without the extra hex.
The final of the core Spellweaver enhancements is buffing our Mana Bolt which is a staple of our deck throughout the entire game for the reasons noted above. While you can buff the top the bottom actually pairs better with our Cold Fire and top damage card focus with Strengthen giving us a juicy damage boost. It also allows your healing to pack a little extra benefit when it has to be used to save an ally although this should never be your first choice.
If you make it beyond these enhancement options you’ll want to consider cards that stick with you for a long time in scenarios. The most likely consideration is putting any element on the bottom of your Forked Beam to reduce reliance on Chromatic Explosion (and potentially remove from your deck entirely for something else).
Spellweaver Items Detailed
The ideal Spellweaver items are similar to most ranged characters in Gloomhaven with an emphasis on damage. This means the Eagle-Eye Googles are an obvious first choice for us and can be activated before we cast an attack each rest cycle. Utilising this item should always give priority to area of effect attacks like our Fire Orbs or Impaling Eruption but don’t forget to use it at least once per long rest on a single target spell if not using one of those multiple target attacks. Following this up with the minor power potion for the same reason and the affordable minor stamina potion to give us more potential in a scenario rounds out the consumable slots that you start with and will go far.
From here on it’s a choice on the next Spellweaver items and based on a blend of playstyle and party needs although you will likely acquire all 3 of these eventually. The Piercing Bow for example is fantastic if you’re starting to encounter shielded enemies and lack an ally that can deal with these effectively and want to take on that role for yourself. Meanwhile the Invisibility Cloak is extremely attractive in smaller parties or if you want to play aggressive in your positioning for attacks or loot. Lastly, the Boots of Striding allow you to take some advantageous positioning although are generally the lowest priority as the Spellweaver’s movement options aren’t actually that bad. Winged Shoes are absolutely a viable alternative if you find yourself having issues but keep in mind that Reviving Ether already has this and will be one of your main movement cards.