I had a pleasure to play 16 exciting sessions with Doomstalker. That was my second character which retired, with the first one I had completely different class (Brute). In the article below I would like to share some of my ideas and observations regarding that ranged class. Comments welcome, hope you will find some inspirations below!
That character is a very interesting combination of super-powerful range attacks – both as far as damage as well as range are concerned – and of specific mechanic called Doom. You mark your enemies with that and you just see them die – rather sooner then later… With Angry Face you could reach even the farthest monsters, as Doom works without range limitations, often without regard for shields and greatly complements the standard abilities of that character.
Other articled in the world of Gloomhaven: Brute strategy guide Spellweaver strategy guide Doomstalker (Angry Face) strategy guide (you are just reading this) Our Gloomhaven Campaign in chronological order (NEW!) Frosthaven – first look – starting classes (1/2)
- Health – a moderate health – not so much as Brute, but more than Mindthief / Spellweaver. You can take occasional beating, but usually you should be away from your enemies.
- Stamina – comparatively fine; with 12 cards plus two Stamina Potions (Major and Minor) that class can easily stay till the end of scenario. It is also important to note that Doomstalker usually does not burn too many cards.
- Move – pretty decent – couple of 3, 4 and 5 move cards plus one Doom which allows for teleportation to the place where enemy dies. I never had any problem to catch up with the rest of the team.
- Initiative – that is definitely the place where Doomstalker shines. 9, 10, 11, 13 initiative cards will be part of your hand through most of the game, allowing you to take actions first, before the monsters.
- Loot – oh, that is another splendid aspect where Angry Face excels. I actually set a record for our group, with 88 gold looted in one scenario. All this thanks to “Moment’s Peace” card – with Loot 1 at the top!
- Experience – Doomstalker quickly levels up, as most of his actions against doomed enemies give experience; there are also some cards you can burn to get even more.
You are a range-attack damage dealer, so you need special equipment for that. As you are not a starting class, you would not find a suggestion in the rulebook but let me share what worked best for my character.
I started with Doomstalker at Prosperity 3 and had 60 gold to spent. I have chosen:
- Minor Stamina Potion – you will never regret acquiring it – additional turn every scenario for 10 gold is a great purchase for each and every class
- Major Healing Potion – some additional HPs will be useful, especially in cases where you do not have a classical healer in the team
- Weighted Net – there are not many good weapons for Doomstalker till Prosperity 4 so a Net helps for time being. Pretty nice item as you can be quick in turn, target enemy not adjacent to your group and immobilize it, so you can focus on other monsters this turn.
Later on, I was acquiring the items in more or less following order – couple of comments, why I found them useful for Angry Face (some of them are unlockable on higher Prosperity levels):
- Major Stamina Potion– another 3 cards which can be retrieved from discard pile, so additional 1.5 turn in each scenario. I am buying it whenever it is available (and my character has a free slot for a small item).
- Volatile Bomb – that is a great weapon for Doomstalker and you should get it ASAP once Gloomhaven reaches Prosperity 4 – remember to sell the Net. It allows to your powerful ranged attacks now to target 3 instead of 1 hexes.
- Minor Power Potion – works very well with Volatile Bomb – as in total adds 3 points to your attack. Not a “must have” item but a nice addition.
- Second Skin – you do not want to be close to your enemies, so such armory is perfect for you; with perks you can get rid of all -1 cards from your attack deck!
- Empowering Talisman – very good item although a little confusing. To be clear – it allows you to refresh a consumed small item – like a healing potion. Expensive but very useful – I mostly used it on Major Stamina Potion. That way I was able to get 8 additional card plays each game (2 for Minor Stamina, 3 for Major Stamina, and again 3 for Major Stamina refreshed with Talisman).
- Boots of Speed – last item which I bought, once I did all enhancements and other “must have” items. Nice thing, many times allowed me to augment my initiative when super fast monsters were facing us.
Of course, the heart of the Gloomhaven are cards and here you can shape the character of your adventurer. They also reflect your preferred play-style. What I am proposing below is not “one-fit-all” built, but what worked for me. I hope you will find some useful hints below!
Basic cards (level 1 choices)
I think that for initial choice, it is easier to say what you leave behind as poor cards. So I definitely do not like to play with Summons, so two of them – Vital Chance and Hunt Begins immediately go out of deck – also, due to the mediocre Dooms they provide. On top, I will also discard Frightening Curse. Again, poor Doom and not so exciting top.
Cards available during level-ups
- Level 2 – I took Expose over Relentless Offensive; reason: this is the most crucial and important Doomstalker card; it gives you advantage for the whole scenario on Doomed target – you usually do not hit many of them, rather targeting one and dealing huge damage, thus this is very complementary with that mode of play. It was always played in my initial turn. I replace and remove from the deck: Sap Life (without regret).
- Level 3 – I took Press the Attack over Darkened Skies; reason: very good attack, very similar to Swift Trickery. Good synergies with Expose, easy XP – you will use almost always the top. I replace and remove from the deck: Crippling Noose (again, without any regret)
- Level 4 – I took Flight of Flame over Singular Focus; reason: Well, while Level 2 and 3 brought definitely improvements to my deck, this is not so obvious here. Still, Move 5 Jump will be very nice addition though. I replace and remove from the deck: Foot Snare (maybe not a direct one, but still an upgrade)
- Level 5 – I took Wild Command over Inescapable Fate; reason: again, not so great cards; having two dooms seems cool, but you will very quickly burn two cards (Expose and Inescapable Fate) which is no good. Wild Command top is completely useless but the bottom should give you additional attack whenever used (see, remember it has no range!) I replace and remove from the deck – with deep regret: Solid Bow
- Level 6 – I took Camouflage over Nature’s Hunger; reason: this is a no brainier – I do not play with summons and that Heal/Doom is situational. On the other hand no-lost Invisible on top/bottom is great. I replace and remove from the deck: Felling Swoop
- Level 7 – I took Impending End over Crashing Wave tactics; reason: no great choice here. Still, attack 4 range 4 is pretty decent although you would expect something better at level 7. The special ability is so situational that I never used it. I replace and remove from the deck: Detonation
- Level 8 – I took Feral Instincts over Selfish Retribution; reason: can my Loot be even better? That is fantastic news – I do not hesitate even for a moment! Believe me, money is important – for items, enhancements, temple – and that card simply enables it. I replace and remove from the deck: A Moment’s Peace (that is a straightforward upgrade)
- Level 9 – I would take Lead to Slaughter over Predator and Prey. I finished at level 8 so this is only theoretical choice. I do not like summons, so Attack 4 Range 6 seems a reasonable thing. I would probably replace: Solid Bow.
With that in hand I felt comfortable facing any type of enemy!
As far as perks are concerned, my preferred ones will be:
- Remove two -1 cards – to enhance your battle-card deck
- Replace one 0 card with one +1 card – to further enhance your battle-card deck
- Add Target (rolling) – you have really powerful attacks so adding one or two targets is a great enhancement.
Later on you should add +1 cards (rolling) and then – according to preference STUN/WOUND or IMMOBILIZE. That way the deck is really well built, with only -2 and Null cards as negative.
STRATEGIES / COMBOS
During the game I worked out multiple combos which worked pretty well. Some of the generic and specific ideas below:
- Start each scenario with Expose – that is a great enhancement to all your attacks on Doomed targets and especially effective against Invisible Enemies (like one type of Daemons). What is more, no Boss can resist Doom!
- Make sure you always have a Doomed target – many of your attack cards adds damage based on this status’; also, Expose, always gives you advantage in such situation.
- Start your killing spree with Fresh Kill , as it needs undamaged enemy
- Play Doom and then any of those cards: Swift Trickery or Press the Attack. Bonus to attack guaranteed.
- And many more…
If you look at my cards you will see that I enhanced four of them:
I am rather greedy, so I have spent only on Level 1 cards. What I did:
- A Moment’s Peace – I added Bless on the bottom. That was definitely one of my best and cheapest investments – through the game I gathered so many blesses to my deck, that using Expose (advantage on Doomed targets) I was drawing it pretty often
- Swift Trickery – I was using that card very often on doomed enemies so it was prudent to Increase the Attack value.
- Fresh Kill – another damage-dealing card where I enhance the Attack by 1.
- Multi Pronged-Assault – that was quite debatable enhancement but in the end I decided to do it. I added Target here on lost top. Why? It is another +4 to attack, and with special abilities of Tinkerer, I managed to get that card from lost pretty often
There are also other way to enhance your cards. Those 4 worked pretty well with my style of play.
Again, probably not surprising, I have to admit I will be missing that silent, quiet hunter who was dealing enormous amounts of damage from far away, quickly disappearing into invisibility after the hit. It takes time to grow that character into merciless killer – you need good cards, items and enhancements. When I was retiring at level 8 all those were perfectly adjusted and it was great pleasure to play Doomstalker!
PS. My third character – which I am playing now – was similar to Angry Face as it also deals enormous amounts of damage but from close quarters. Can you guess who I am talking about?