Another strategy guide from my fellow Gloomhaven companion – Kuba J. This time he presents his observations and experiences about one of the unlock-able classes – Soothesinger aka Music Not. Enjoy his article!


SPOILER ALERT – the discussed class requires unlocking, some items I recommend are story-based only or may require higher prosperity to unlock; I also mention personal goal (generalized description) and another locked class with a single card from its deck.

Dear Reader – it is a very difficult thing to write a guide about class that is so powerful, that it really does not matter which way you go, everything you decide for will be a great help for your team.

Soothesinger was my second character after Spellweaver. I finally got what I wanted – true support class; it also reminded me that when I played my Baldur’s Gate 2 campaign long ago, I picked Bard class. Still, once I saw Bard’s perks, I decided that full support is not good enough and I want to have some action too.

In the Gloomhaven world it’s crucial to understand with whom you play as well as what classes and personalities your friends have. You want to fill in the gaps and boost their best abilities. My story with the Music Note began when one friend basically just started being Scoundrel (1 game), and 2nd was maybe 3-4 scenario old Sunkeeper. Our prosperity was at level 5 so our characters skipped low level struggle and already had good starting hands with some vision of what way we want to develop. We all knew we would remain with such a setup for quite a long time until we start to retire again.

We knew our weakness would be ranged attack and heavily shielded monsters. In such team composition we had roles clearly defined:

  • Sun takes hits (sometimes 90% during whole scenarios), and tries to attack
  • Scoundrel is our main damage dealer, later with poison buffs deals tons of damage, or simply kills, uses mostly melee, but as he often goes invisible, he doesn’t take much damage himself (monsters focus on the Sun or me).
  • My (Soothesinger) main job was to de-buff monsters, buff friends and occasionally attack, maybe heal if required,

It quickly appeared that our initial level of scenarios – Hard (+1) has become too easy – we quickly moved to a very hard mode (+2 levels) and still had a feeling that our setup is very strong. Sun is the best tank in the game, Soothesinger is the best support, Scoundrel is a formidable attacker – all in all powerful combination of great classes. Too bad there are no lvl 8-9 monster cards for those who want to try ultra-hard/insane levels 🙂

Soothesinger play-mat

CLASS

The Soothesinger – bard, whose soothing voice may distract opponents and inspire friends. Usually staying behind, sometimes may do some sneaky ranged attacks. Very unusual ability cards, stronger attacks often at the bottom, upper parts mainly for buffs/de-buffs (like songs).

STATISTICS

  • Health – very low, just 6, a single critical hit may kill you, keep distance until you level-up and may survive 2-3 hits.
  • Stamina – just 9 cards – so you do not have too much space to lost one’s; still with controlled play and stamina potion you should be fine.
  • Move – may be problematic. From levels 1 to 9 there are 11 cards with movement, but due to strong abilities or attacks at the bottom, you may not be willing to use those for simple run. There will be painful choices, but one item may help a lot (check equipment).
  • Initiative – songs are usually very fast (5-25 initiative), in most teams Soothesinger may often open the round and buff friends or de-buff monsters.
  • Loot – very difficult, only a single card with bottom attack has loot; usually possible if you move and end turn looting.
  • Experience – ultra fast gains! you will have songs played for the entire scenarios, each gives 1 exp per turn, also many other cards give exp as well. It is very likely that you will ran out of “steps” on the experience wheel tracker 🙂
  • Damage – not his specialty, but with the modified deck – probably the best perks in the game – can help friends, especially if he holds a specific item (again, more below!).

EQUIPMENT

Depends on what level you start with. At prosperity level 5 I had 90 gold and some discounts thanks to reputation. Most important are Major & Minor Stamina Potions. I would also add Major Healing Potion, as you are not a true healer and often instead of healing yourself, you may prefer to help friends instead. The rest depends on your team composition, personalities and strategies. If you have money, I would suggest boots that give you flying/jump, as none of your cards allows this.

Fully equipped Soothesinger, he really doesn’t need much more!

And additional hint – make sure you do solo scenario as soon as possible, i.e. when you reach level 5! That is obligatory and will enormously boost your character!

And now, let us look at the details:

  • Both hands: Solo Scenario item # 146 Master’s Lute – some may not like it, as it allows “only” to make move 2 or attack 2 when you play song ability, which at the first sight does not look awesome. Remember me writing that Soothesinger has great cards and that sometimes taking move actions is painful, as there are so many ways you could help your team instead of just moving? Now you can play songs often, swap them even every round, and you will be getting extra action every turn.
  • Armor: City Event item # 105 Flea-bitten Shawl I got it quickly, maybe after 1-2 scenarios, I took it to utilize the Master’s Lute even more. Without that item I was afraid of getting hit in close combat, as with my low HP I risked a lot. Since getting that “armor”, I could go straight into fight and as long as my friend Sun was also touching my “monster” I was safe and could use 2 actions from ability cards and add extra hit with my Lute, often dealing significant damage (those perks!).
  • Feet: Winged shoes – every character should have some flying or jump ability, and it is a cheap way to fill in that gap in your deck.
  • Minor items: as mentioned above, Stamina & Healing Potions are very useful and critical for survival-ability of Note, especially if you – like me – go into melee to hit with the Lute.
  • Head: Iron Helmet – looks weird 🙂 you – a noble bard – disguised in a vagabond flea covered jacket with iron helmet on your head. But it is cheap and works if you plan on being aggressive.

As you can see, I mainly focused on basic, cheap, reliable equipment. The way to customize Note are endless and I advise you to experiment!

CARDS

It is difficult to talk about card picks for levels from 2 to 5 as I started at 5. Still, I will provide my evaluation of basic set as well as choices in consecutive level-ups.

Basic cards: level 1 and X
  • Song of Speed – awesome initiative and a good buff if your team needs to move a lot, or has ranged attackers that want to avoid being hit, bottom – Muddle all in range 4 –  can be very useful, especially if you placed tons of curses in monster decks. Since I started at lvl 5, I never used it! We did not have dedicated ranged attackers in the team, movement was not a huge problem and our Sun could handle hits well even if monsters used their normal attacks. I see it can be used well in almost any other team compositions to significantly decrease the amount of damage taken.
  • Tuning the Outcome – upper bless only affects nearby allies and bottom move 3 plus single ranged curse. One of the weakest cards in my build which I did not use.
  • Throw Voice – very good top – ranked disarm in a triangle, bottom lost that forces small movement of enemies. If the bottom had its own movement that card would be way more useful. Never used by me when composing level 5 cards.
  • Call to action – top strengthen all allies (range doesn’t matter! if you are far away from the combat zone and cannot do anything offensively, you still can strengthen allies), nice bottom give an ally 4 attack – I like that card, mostly thanks to bottom, there were times I wasn’t next to monsters, so I played a song, moved 2 (Master’s Lute) closer to the combat zone and gave an ally 4 attack against nearby monster.
  • Marching Beat – If a scenario requires tons of movement, bottom 4 for myself, upper 4 for a friend, I think I used it once or twice, in general it’s a waste, but there are scenarios where especially some allies may struggle, and need a kick in their butt 😉 (yes Sun, talking about you!)
  • Warding Dagger – upper attack 3 + immobilize, bottom lost with move 4 and shield 2 to all adjacent allies. No, thanks! Top is fine, but bottom makes it almost useless, especially at later levels when Soothesinger may really help in other ways.
  • Singing Arrow – great upper curse in a triangle; bottom with a ranged weak attack and a wound. While I really wanted to make a use of that card, I had other to spread curses on level 4. I think I never used it, but in other team compositions it may be of great help to constantly fill in monster deck with curses, significantly reducing damage taken by team-mates.
  • Defensive Ditty – upper song providing +1 shield for allies, with bottom allowing one ally to negate single damage that turn. As we had Sun in our team we did not need additional Shields – so one of the most useless songs for us.
  • Power Ballad – upper song: allies add 1 to a single attack (not to an attack action, just against one target), bottom move 2 and strengthen adjacent allies. My primary song and a very nice bottom. A card which will stay till level 9!
  • Wistful Wounding – upper song adds a wound to allies attacks while bottom provides a weak ranged attack with the only loot ability. That would be one of a few low-level cards that I would keep even at lvl 9 – that song is definitely very helpful, especially against shielded enemies.
  • Nimble Knife – top attack 2 with curse and also blessing to one adjacent ally, bottom move 4. A very nice card for lower levels, which becomes obsolete at lvl 5, especially with the Master’s Lute.
  • Unending Chant – the top is almost useless – definitely on higher levels – as it will just place 5 extra curses; the bottom is way better, as its a non-lost, with move 2 but plus +1 shields for allies.
Cards available during level-ups:
  • Level 2 – Obviously I took Soothing Lullaby – I need to offer my allies some form of healing. Song giving 1 HP per turn doesn’t seem strong, but that 1 healing is enough to remove poisons and wounds from all allies in just one quick action, the rest can be healed with their health potions. Bottom could be used if there were no conditions to remove.
  • The 2nd card, Change Tempo is nice too, that’s the best move so far, and 2nd best in the deck, upper may be awesome if you have ranged friends and play against melee room.
  • Level 3 – Difficult choice to make. My team is offensive, we love Stun abilities, we focus on one target, kill it, and the remaining ones should not bother us, so we like to keep them stunned, immobilized or disarmed. Thus Crippling Chorus. Upper Stun is a lost ability, and should be used only when you hear Death knocking at your doors. Most often you will use it for the bottom move with disarm, an easy and safe way to catch up with friends and place yourself in a good spot for the next round.
  • 2nd card – Echoing Aria – is a very powerful too:  Song with +2 retaliation at range 2, may be a great play against shielded enemies. Bottom is great as well, reusable +2 shield for all in range 3. In other team setup it could be a wiser choice to take that card, but with the Sunkeeper soaking up the damage and Scoundrel killing almost instantly I decided for Crippling Chorus.
  • Level 4 – The easiest choice in Bard deck – definitely take Disorienting Dirge! And use bottom whenever possible. This is such a powerful card, affecting multiple allies and enemies in one play. That was often a game changer for us on higher levels, as even the strongest monsters thanks to this often rolled null for attack.
  • The 2nd card, Inspiring Anthem, is also a very useful one. Imagine Scoundrel attacking poisoned enemy with its special ability Crippling Poison – it becomes a 8 value attack. But even uch a good card cannot compare to the Dirge.
  • Level 5 – Very difficult choice. At this point we see that if we want to be effective, we could use movement and the Mobilizing Measure is the best movement in our deck – giving also experience!
  • But as I had plans to attack my decision was to take Melody and Harmony and never use it for the top. Still, that “Move 6” might still be picked-up on further levels! We shall see.
  • Level 6 – another very easy choice – Provoke Terror (what a name). This is definitely one of the best cards I have ever seen in Gloomhaven! Both top (no-lost stun) and bottom (strong attack with push) are range ones giving a lot of flexibility to how it can be played.
  • Pull the Strings – well, not a match for first choice at all! So we will not spent too much time on this.
  • Level 7 – Both cards are good and have many applications for various teams and strategies. The Nightmare Serenade bottom can really be a powerful when appropriately use. The Booming Proclamation top when used against multiple enemies in room with traps has potential for large damage. Still they were not adding so much to our group thus I decided to take lvl 5 move 6 cards (Mobilizing Measure).
  • Level 8 – difficult choice, heavily dependent on team needs and strategy. I picked the Commanding Presence, especially for the upper feature, allowing an ally in range 3 to attack all nearby monsters. Being paired with Sunkeeper who often gets surrounded by multiple melee units makes it a decent action to slowly bleed out enemies.
  • The other card, Tranquil Trill, has upgraded Healing song and Disarm at the bottom. Both are weaker then what first card provides.
  • Level 9 –Simple choice for me again. I took Captivating Performance – suits great to my Stun strategy. Upper song +1 attack to all attacks – great if you have multi-target attackers in a team. It is a plain and simple card.
  • Shadow Puppets may be great as well (it is level 9 after all) and it seems like a lot of fun with upper move+jump plus forced attack.Still, pretty situational and not as strong as first one.
Level 9 usual Music Note set-up

So how my hand was looking like at the level 9? Beside 8 level-up cards I used mainly the Wistful of Wounding, to have anything that may work against heavily shielded enemies. Sometimes in scenarios not requiring a lot of move, Mobilizing Measure can be swapped for Singing Arrow, Throw Voice or Call to Action.

PERKS

As far as perks are concerned, you should definitely start with:

  • first choice: thin out your deck by removing all -1 and -2
  • two times replace +1 with +4, now – which in the end means you have solid 15% chance to draw it during combat
  • then I decided on rolling +1 – there are opinions it is a bad to use a rolling modifier on thin deck as you can get Null. Still, I find those pretty useful with greater chance to get +4.
  • Stun – as theses are my allies who are mainly supposed to deal big damage
  • The last picks were + 3 (even more damage!) and to support our Scoundrel build – two times +2 with poison.

As some of you may have noticed – I had very few perks. Soothesinger may have a huge problem with earning ticks from combat goals. Even the easiest ones like looting are very difficult with friends like I had. You are not a damage dealer to kill a lot, quick or overkill by a lot, you have a small hand, low HP, so it is risky to play other battle goals too. Still, there is couple of very useful ones which I recommend!

STRATEGIES / COMBOS

  • Curses – you have couple of cards to spread curses with AOE, single attacks, as additional feature on the tops and the bottoms of cards plus from the attack modifier deck (even 2-3 possible in a single hit). If you make sure enemies are muddled or at disadvantage you have high chance enemy will draw those nulls.
  • Stun – when opening a room use one multi-target stun, and have another stun in deck for the next round, that way your friends will kill monsters without getting hurt too much. Stun does not allow monsters to heal, get shields and retaliations form action cards, so it can speed up killing monsters. But the intrinsic retaliate (on monster card) will always work!
  • Swap songs often and try making use of the Master’s Lute. It is very thematic and I really loved drawing +4 modifier while using my instrument in combat

ENHANCEMENTS

Sure, some great cards may become even more awesome (to spread more curses, stuns, etc) – still, I had a personal goal connected to gold and thus I did not spend much. The only worth spending upgrade which I considered was adding “jump” to one of the moves so I do not need to use special shoes.

IMHO, that character is so overpowered, upgrading it even more would be a huge abuse. You want to have some challenge in the game. If the team composition is not great and you lack synergy, little improvements will help, so sure, try something, but not too much. 😉

SUMMARY

Soothesinger – a brittle character who is really great to play. I had fun, sometimes as an attacker, more often as a crow controller, buffing my allies, and letting them have their fun too. That is definitely great support, who can also deal considerable amounts of damage. Should you unlock him, make sure he becomes part of your group!