It happened – our Spellweaver retired and a significant change to our team composition awaits us. But before it happens, Kuba J. was kind to prepare a strategy guide for that class – similar to what I did for Brute. Enjoy!
Dear Readers – if you wish to read about this boring, weak, slow, sluggish, irritating, unrewarding, and unappreciated class – the Spellweaver – please continue, otherwise look for some other character to play 😊
It was my first character in Gloomhaven. My intention was to be a support class that heals and performs ranged attacks, but instead I had become a “glass cannon”, dealing significant amount of damage while rarely healing anybody, including myself.
I have been playing that character for 29 successful scenarios – besides those we have failed 3 times, so 32 in total. Based on such a long track of record, I would like to share my experience.
The Spellweaver – the name speaks for itself – has a complex knowledge about all areas of magic and his specialization depends on the team requirements.
Other articled in the world of Gloomhaven: Brute Strategy Guide Spellweaver Strategy Guide (you are just reading this) Tinkerer strategy guide Doomstalker strategy guide Our Gloomhaven Campaign in chronological order (NEW!) Frosthaven – first look – starting classes (1/2) (NEW!) Frosthaven – first look – starting classes (2/2)
Why did I say above those few derogative words about that class?
- Boring – deck size is 8 cards, the least of all classes, and some cards are basically poor and unusable, thus you often end up with the same combinations
- Weak – attack cards usually deal up to 3 base damages, even at high levels; what is more, Spellweaver range of 2-3 is pretty short, especially in comparison with range-attack monsters
- Slow – so the initiative – actually, you may decide if you want to be slow or terribly slow 😊
- Sluggish – you have very few cards with movement, mostly for short/medium distance (3-4)
- Irritating – for you and teammates – due to its weaknesses it is difficult to play alongside the team every turn as you may slow them down or quite the opposite, force some actions when they are not ready, not to waste few of your turns.
- Unrewarding – you do not feel like having huge impact on team with weak attacks and poor healing abilities.
- Unappreciated – at some point friends will want to get rid off you, as you spoil the fun 😊
So why did I continue playing with this class for so long despite those weaknesses? Each of them has a huge “BUT” and those exceptions make it worth the effort and give tons of fun.
- Health – very low, just 6 at the beginning, a single critical hit may kill you, so keep distance.
- Stamina – just 8 cards, but if needed you will not exhaust quick.
- Move – less than the half of the cards give you movement, mostly 3-4 hexes with two exceptions in the entire deck – 8 range with jumps.
- Initiative – you have a single ultra-fast card (initiative 7) in the starting deck, few quick (between 20-30), most of your cards will be slow or very slow (60-90s), especially at the higher levels.
- Loot – not an easy task for that character, 3 cards in the deck with loot, but difficult to use them due to small hand, thus earning gold may be a problem.
- Experience – acquired relatively quickly, often connected with burning cards, so be cautious, you can lose attack cards too fast and alongside their movement abilities; on top, you can simply exhaust too fast.
I have been playing mainly the default Spellweaver tactics as a ranged multi-target attacker and a minor healer. If you need a major healer or tank (retaliate) check elsewhere. The items recommended by rulebook at Spellweaver Level 1 are quite good and useful:
Now let us have a look at the items you should acquire during the campaign:
- Head: Eagle-Eye Goggles – you start with 2 strong aerial attacks, so you really want to hit all the targets – a MUST HAVE for the Spellweaver, get it ASAP.
- Hands: Piercing Bow – excellent combo with the above against heavily shielded enemies, may result with 3-4 kills in a single attack action
- Feet: Boots of Speed, with my low initiative sometimes it may be required to be little quicker, often not used at all, but sometimes a game-changer. Why not an item that improves movement or jump? There are Spellweaver cards with both increased movement and jump and you can adjust the deck for every scenario.
- Minor items – Stamina Potions are very important, so get both – Minor and Major ones. I also picked up Minor Mana Potion to create any element as some actions require those; if possible, teammates should have that for you too, just in case 😊 Power Potions to infuse AOE (multi target attacks). Last but not least – Healing Potions – especially if you play without a tank.
For other players these are just cards, some of many. For you these will be truly chess pieces. Due to hand-size and value of some cards you will have to predict situation for the next 3-4 rounds and adjust deck and cards accordingly. Often you will have a choice between help in combat in the nearest rounds or rest/movement to be able to fight later. Your long rests will not be synchronized with other players – you need them more often, and short ones can be a real gamble as you have some crucial cards in your deck. Each scenario may require slight change; for me the main choice was between movement or damage, eventually slower rate of exhaustion for longer scenarios. Some non-basic cards may appear to be useless, as basic ones were often more suitable for various situations.
Basic cards (level 1 choices)
Spellweaver = Reviving Ether, this is the most important card in the deck and that is why you often prefer the long rest instead of the short one. You must not lose it! With small deck each card is important and short rest may force you to discard a card – but not that one. The other two cards that will probably stay with you for the rest of a game are Mana Bolt (ultra-fast attack with healing at the bottom) and Fire Orbs – very useful ranged multi-target attack. Each of them has useful top and bottom, all can be enhanced to become even better.
Usually, before each scenario I reassemble deck, so it suits the demands of particular adventure. However, I almost never used below ones:
- Hardened Spikes – never picked it – at starting 6 HP you do not play with retaliations, bottom shield requires an element, and those are hard to get at the beginning of the game.
- Freezing Nova – top too situational, bottom healing too expensive (a lost card)
- Flame Strike – unique for that class double attack card, on first glance seems great, but due to lack of movement and low initiative sadly usually replaced with one of better cards higher-level abilities
Cards available during level-ups
- Level 2 – probably surprisingly I took Flashing Burst instead of more popular Icy Blast; I already have 2 good aerial/ranged attacks and surly Icy Blast potentially affects many more targets and muddles them, but it is a double loss and that class has a really big problem with exhausting itself too soon. Flashing Burst is versatile, can be used even at much higher levels, is quite fast, gives a solid movement, creates less popular element – which later on would be a critical advantage. Nothing special, but very solid card, opening multiple strategies.
- Level 3 – I took Cold Fire over Elemental Aid; reason: as mentioned earlier, our group was focusing on quick and effective attack as main way to defend ourselves; here we have good range, good area of attack, potential boost form Fire Orbs and a stun; all this on a non-lost card with nice loot at the bottom.
- Level 4 – I took Spirit of Doom over Forked Beam; reason: both cards were really a disappointment, but I was convinced by Spirit of Doom thanks to the possibility of an instant kill or a major heal. Forked Beam is a fine card, relatively quick non-lost with 4 movement; however, I already took similar at the level 2.
- Level 5 – I took Engulfed in Flames over Chromatic Explosion; reason: non-lost 4-strength attack against single target creating fire – my strongest card against a single target. If I would play again, I might take the 2nd card for the bottom movement that creates any element, so needed on the higher level attacks. Still, 71 is a very poor initiative.
SO FAR – most basic cards are still in use, new are too situational!
- Level 6 – finally fun starts and I had a really difficult choice , in the end I took Living Torch over Frozen night; reason: at the bottom another 2 strength attack from an ally that every turn creates fire for my Cold Fire; in the game I used the top way more often , especially if it got paired with Flashing Burst in earlier round – non-lost, ability to hit at 4 damage, immobilize one and it adjacent allies supper additional 2 damage (even with shield!) It was bit painful to let away Frozen Night, both up and down are nice, but situational. Also, as a Spellweaver you rather would like to avoid melee encounters!
- Level 7 – without hesitation I took Stone Fists over Twin Restoration; reason: healing is not required if you kill opponents quickly enough 😊 and recovery of 2 lost cards is not strong enough to block space in my little hand. Stone Fists offer a non-lost movement and in rare situations a very strong 6 damage single target attack, that can affect even 2 monsters.
- Level 8 – Obviously I took the Cold Front instead of Zephyr Wings; reason: do I even need to explain? Awesome top, even if I targeted just 3 monsters. It is a strong attack with situational but useful bottom. That is how a good retaliation should look like. Zephyr Wings, giving loot option at level 8, is simply useless as you should already have accumulated enough gold to equip your character. And we already have 8-move card in our hand.
- Level 9 – Simple choice again – of course I took the best Spellweaver card – Inferno. Inferno is probably the most overpowered card in the game we have seen so far. Fast, non-lost, 3 strength attack against ALL opponents in the entire room. In difficult scenarios there can be 9-15 monsters in one area, so in extreme cases, single round of attack with it may deal 100+ total damage to multiple opponents, and in the next turns it can get repeated thanks to stamina potions or short rest.
You wonder how to get a 100 HP damage? Well, you use Fire element, Power Potion, Tinkerer +1 to attack bonus and you have attack 6. Add to this Goggles for advantage. And then start to spread death and carnage throughout the area.
You remember me saying about being unappreciated? When you get Inferno and you start feeling fun, satisfaction of having big impact on game, each very difficult scenario packed with monsters becomes much easier. This is one side – the other is that teammates feel almost useless, they support you and finish off opponents, yeah, but it becomes repetitive when a difficult room gets cleared in 2-3 turns without any effort. They want you to retire, quickly 😊
As far as perks are concerned, you should definitely start with those three:
- first choice – a non-rolling stun – that gives you security and time to prepare.
- consider taking some rolling elements to strengthen own and team’s cards
- Replace one -1 card with one +1 card – twice
Your character thrives on elements, but not all are required always, so after adding rolling elements, +2 with Ice and Fire, consider removing 4 zeros, the curse can become useful. You must be aware, that your deck gets fat quickly, so chance to get specific modifier is getting lower with every perk you add. It has bad sides, but also positive ones- with one multi-target aerial (AOE) attack you can strengthen few elements and cast powerful spells in the next round.
STRATEGIES / COMBOS
There are many, as always usually situational and sometimes requiring some deviation from normal mode operations as Spellweaver. Discover them! I’ll point out some obvious:
- Piercing bow + Eagle Eye Goggles with any multi-target ranged attack – basic combination but very powerful – in our game multiple times resulted in complete oblivion of shielded monsters.
- slow move (+jump) and AOE, then move quickly and another AOE (then cloak, or move away if still in danger) – You can use Reviving Ether or Ride the Wind for move, Fire Orbs (most commonly) and one of other AOE or single target attacks You have, helps a lot to clean the rooms.
- Inferno – nice to have Minor and Major Stamina Potion, Fire element and Strengthen (Eagle Eye Goggles) and maybe Power potions, combination with War hammer is legit (Inferno has no range, so it’s melee), but don’t spoil game with it. From base 3 attack make it 6-7 against all monsters : “burn, baby burn!”
- Cloak of Invisibility or powerful shields in narrow corridors or doors
- using Ride the Wind, travels long distances to land on treasure
It is expensive and as I have written the Spellweaver does not earn much. After paying for the Sanctuary every visit to town there is not much left. After almost 30 scenarios I only upgraded 3 cards. Firstly I added Any Element to the bottom of the Reviving Ether as I often required elements which I could not get otherwise. Then +1 strength to Fire Orbs – I love that card, used it twice every scenario, at the end added Strengthen to healing at the bottom of Mana Bolt – for better use of my Inferno.
Spellweaver is an interesting character. It is not easy, requires more effort, planning and patience in developing. For long periods it may appear boring or with minimal impact on action, but then comes a time when it flourishes and allows team winning even the hardest scenarios. Of course, much depends on the team setup. Spellweaver handles the distance combat well, can be used as a decent healer, but excels in damage dealing. For me fun comes from winning and killing, so I used him mainly as a ranged attacker, that seems most natural for him. Individually not strong (until lvl 9), but in a team he opens many possibilities of attack, crowd control, healing. That was fun playing him!