With the current global situation of pandemic spreading rapidly we had to stop our face to face Gloomhaven meetings. Still, there is a chance now to focus on some aspects of that great game which I planned to do for pretty long time but there always was something more urgent. One of such ideas I had is an analysis of opponents one can encounter in variety of the adventures in that world.


Other articled in the world of Gloomhaven:
Strategy guide - Brute
Strategy guide - Spellweaver
Strategy guide - Doomstalker
Strategy guide - Tinkerer
Gloomhaven – most often errors and overlooked rules

The knowledge of what you can expect from particular monsters is key in preparation of the strategy for the scenario – both which cards to use and which items to choose. Good plan and knowledge of your enemy is often key to success with scenario. Almost like in wargames 🙂

I would like to start with the Demons – they are commonly featured in many scenarios so it will apply pretty broadly. On the other hand, they can be a very nasty lot, one which needs special approach to tackle thus such analysis might bring most benefits.

Among that class we have:

  • Earth Demons
  • Flame Demons
  • Frost Demons
  • Night Demons
  • Sun Demons
  • Wind Demons

Today I will focus on the first three of them. Next week article will describe the rest. You will have all the stats and ability cards presented, with plenty of statistics, evaluation and some information how to tackle them. Disclaimer! The tactics how to deal with those dreadful monster are based on our group ~40 scenarios played. I am sure there will be more ideas form Dear Readers, which I would welcome in the comments section!

Earth Demon

CharacteristicValue
Initiative
=> minimum40
=> maximum93
=> average~70 (slow)
=> varationFrom 40 to 93 = 53 (average)
Damage (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 3-4 Elite: 4-6
Hit points (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 7-22 Elite: 10-32
Weapon typeMelee
SpecialsImmobilize
Earth Demon ability cards
Evaluation:

One of the most typical enemies in this class – a large bag of Hit Points, which can be harmed in every way, without special finesse and preparation. Very slow – both as far as initiative is concerned but also the movement allowance. Also, pretty predictable to be slow (variation). Usually you can use all above characteristics to your advantage unless he suddenly transforms his attack to range or uses immobilize – that is the only moment he can be a little dangerous. Can heal himself too but pretty rarely.

How to deal with them:
  • Attack from range and keep distance – easy for long range damage dealers like The Angry Face.
  • Poison – as you would need many attacks to get rid of him, that condition will benefit all of them.
  • Disarm / stun so you can attack him with impunity – he will have nothing to react.
  • Simply avoid – in many of our scenarios we managed to move past through those creatures and they were never able to catch up.

Flame Demon

CharacteristicValue
Initiative
=> minimum3
=> maximum77
=> average~38 (pretty fast)
=> varationFrom 3 to 77 = 74 (large)
Damage (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 2-4 Elite: 2-5
Hit points (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 2-5 Elite: 3-8
Weapon typeRange
SpecialsRetaliate, Shield, Flying
Flame Demon ability cards
Evaluation:

While Earth Demon was probably one of the most straightforward, if not the easiest of the opponents among that class, Flame will be definitely among the most troublesome and difficult to tackle. Combination of very high shield and range retaliate on higher levels make it a very nasty enemy. Be ware! – stun will not stop retaliate! To get rid of those enemies you might need to soak-up some damage and use special approach in order to kill those very durable enemies. Also, they can be very unpredictable with initiative which makes things even harder.

How to deal with them:
  • Perfect combo is the range attack using the Piercing Bow and possibly Eagle-Eye Goggles. That way you ignore shield and have advantage in the attack. Should you posses – like Spellweaver – multi-target distance attack, you can get rid of the whole group of Flames in one hit!
  • Another tactic is use of wound condition. That will cripple the creature every turn, speeding up significantly its demise.
  • Alternatively – but this is situational and depends on your group composition – you can use special skills of particular characters. Examples are Scoundrel and his card adding Shield value to attack (Trickster’s Reversal) or instant kill of normal enemy (Visage of the Inevitable). Another one is my favorite Angry Face and his <really nice card, no name to avoid spoilers> which eats even Elite Flame Demon from inside, reducing its health each turn beginning. I am sure there is more, just need to discover those character still!

Frost Demon

CharacteristicValue
Initiative
=> minimum18
=> maximum78
=> average~50 (average)
=> varationFrom 18 to 78 = 60 (large)
Damage (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 3-5 Elite: 3-5
Hit Points (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 5-14 Elite: 10-25
Weapon typeMelee
SpecialsRetaliate
Frost Demon ability cards
Evaluation:

That one is like average from two previously discussed Demons – Earth and Flame. Sometimes being average in majority of stats mean a versatile monster being able to be decently dangerous in every situation. Sometimes such approach produces a mediocre effect. In my opinion here it is the latter.

The creature tends to grow its HPs quickly through levels but never at the speed of Earth Demon. On the other hand it has no shield. The retaliate is only in melee and is much smaller than in case of Flame. The initiative is average with high variation (one of the things which can surprise). It is slightly faster then Earth but has no flying.

All in all, Frost Demon tries to take what is best from the other Demons but does it only to some extent resulting in pretty unimpressive creature, reasonably easy to kill. It can surprise you here or there with immobilize but should not be a problem.

How to deal with them:
  • Hit him hard – he will take all the damage having no shield; preferably in range, but do not hesitate also in melee – he might retaliate but as long as it is 2 HPs this is negligible.
  • Immobilize / stun / disarm – use any of those and than attack with impunity (just remember, melee will still spring the retaliate).
  • The poison and wound will be nice addition to finish that monster faster.
  • Focus on him as a secondary target, putting more dangerous creatures like Flame as a priority.

Summary

Demons can be a very specialized creatures – like Earth or Flame, or try to be good at everything resulting in average build – like Frost. At the beginning each of them can be a problem but once you learn how to deal with them it should be much easier. Every one of them has its weak points which has to be learned and exploited to maximum.

Still, even after 40 scenarios, Flames can surprise you with their great retaliate, shield and unpredictable initiative (see Gloomhaven – #43 Drake’s Nest – 2nd attempt played on monster level 7). But the satisfaction you get from properly approaching those creatures and vanquishing them is great and long lasting.

More analysis next week!