Welcome to already the 5th installment in the Gloomhaven monster analysis series. We already had a closer look at some very nasty enemies like Earth, Flame & Frost and then Night, Sun & Wind demons, we also verified strengths and weaknesses of the Inox-type opponents plus had a closer look on always difficult to tackle Undead creatures. Today the focus will be on a very problematic group of enemies – The Drakes.

You will find in below article detailed screens from monster ability and skills cards – I find them very useful. On top of this I am providing some calculated statistics and ways to counter those enemies – after 40+ scenarios in Gloomhaven world our group gained enough experience to share some useful tips & tricks.

While this will be by far the shortest of articles in the series so far – there are only two types of Drakes Rending and Spitting – those creatures can be so problematic that they deserve a dedicated essay. In a moment you will see why!

Gloomhaven strategy articles:
Strategy guide - Brute
Strategy guide - Spellweaver
Strategy guide - Doomstalker
Strategy guide - Tinkerer
Strategy guide – Soothsinger
Most often errors and overlooked rules

Gloomhaven monster analysis articles:
Monsters analysis & strategies – Earth, Flame and Frost demons
Monsters analysis & strategies – Night, Sun and Wind demons
Monsters analysis & strategies – Inox
Monsters analysis & strategies – The Undead

Rending Drake

=> minimum06
=> maximum72
=> average~35 (very, very fast)
=> varationFrom 6 to 72 = 66 (average)
Damage (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 3-5 Elite: 4-7
Hit points (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 5-17 Elite: 7-18
Weapon typeMelee
SpecialsTarget more than 1 enemy, Wound
Rending Drake ability cards


One of the most feared enemies by our group. You will rarely encounter them on lower levels as they appear later in the story. Thus you have it guaranteed they will be attacking with wound – one of nastiest negative conditions.

It has good Hit Points, is unbelievably fast – average initiative of 35!, has a great reach – 5 hexes not being so uncommon plus bites savagely, inflicting usually 4-5 damage. And best part of it? They never appear alone, usually being accompanied by 2-4 other Drakes of both types. And if you are unlucky enough, he can draw – with 50% probability – a card doubling number of attacks. And then things are getting really ugly.

How to deal with them:

  • You really need a decent tank – there is no way you can avoid all the Drakes and somebody will inevitable have to take a hit. The Sun character with proper upgrades is perfect for this.
  • Again, it is a melee monster and only 1 card allows him for a range attack so immobilizing it and attacking from range is always a great idea.
  • Equally proper strategy will be disarming the creature – he will have nothing to react, no retaliate.
  • It has decent amount of HP, so speed up its demise by using Wound and Poison (example: Tinkerer Toxic Bolt (Poison)).
  • Be careful and assume you are always in melee reach of those monsters!

Spitting Drake

=> minimum06
=> maximum89
=> average~55 (defintely slow)
=> varationFrom 6 to 89 = 82 (very large)
Damage (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 3-5 Elite: 4-7
Hit points (lvl1-lvl7)Regular: 5-16 Elite: 8-21
Weapon typeRange
SpecialsMuddle, Flying
Spitting Drake ability cards


A brother to the Rending Drake, the Spitting one greatly complements his melee companion. Very decent range of usually at least 4 hex and good damage, supplemented by Muddle. It is pretty slow, much slower then Rending Drake which works great when those monsters attack in group – the melee ones move forward to target the adventurers while the flying ones act at the end of turn, adding supplementary damage.

It has 2 area attacks plus two Poisons; but the most nasty is of course Stun – it effectively renders one of your companions or you useless for the whole turn. Just as Rending Drake, it can quickly Heal / Strengthen / Shield itself which can make things really problematic for the group in the long run.

How to deal with them:

  • First and foremost – get to it. Much easier said then done – not only Spitting Drake will keep distance due to its superior range, but you will most probably would have to get through his melee companions.
  • Once you are near be aware of its area attacks and prepare the assault accordingly. Just as his Rending brother, there is nothing stopping you from closing on it and hitting hard – no shield, no retaliate. But surprisingly, you would need to deal more damage here than to melee counterpart as Spitting Drake has really high level of Hit Points.
  • A good idea will be to immobilize it and attack in melee, forcing a disadvantage on the monster. Any additional negative conditions assisting in fast Hit Points reduction would be very beneficial too.


There are only two types of monsters which caused our group to lose scenario – Cultists spawning Living Bones like hell and Drakes working in group. In our #43 Drake’s Nest – 1st attempt we were unfortunate to have our tank just reach the retirement and with Tinkerer / Spellweaver / The Angry Face, despite all our hopes, we were no match for those fast and deadly creatures.

#43 Drake’s Nest – first attemptTinkerer – last man standing just before his exhaustion…

Only during the #43 Drake’s Nest – 2nd attempt we were properly prepared, with the great tank – The Sun, great support – The Bard, and great killer – Scoundrel, managing to get that scenario successfully completed.

#43 Drake’s Nest – second attempt (our trophies)

As you can see, The Drakes are fast enemies, greatly working in a group, with high hit points and many possibilities to attack and inflict negative conditions – an adversary to recon with. You really need to be prepared to tackle them and a well-though strategy – meticulously executed – will be your key to success.

Good luck!