Gloomhaven Mindthief Guide – Stunning Damage Build & Strategy

By Emily Sargeantson

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The Mindthief is the melee glass cannon of the Gloomhaven starting characters. She is super quick, hits hard and stops enemies in their tracks. This Goomhaven Mindthief guide focuses on building and playing as a damage focussed Mindthief who stuns her enemies! 

Mindthief Stunning Damage Guide Structure

This article is a complete guide to playing a Gloomhaven Mindthief that focuses on dealing high damage and Stun to enemies. 

The Mindthief guide covers all levels from 1-9 and assesses the cards at each level for how well they fit with this build. 

This Mindthief guide follows this structure: 

  • Why a Mindthief Stunning Damage build?
  • Mindthief Stunning Damage strategy
  • Level 1-9 cards and decks
  • Mindthief Perks
  • Mindthief Items
  • Mindthief Enhancements
  • Mindthief Experience
  • Mindthief Combos
  • Mindthief Names
  • Conclusion

This guide does not contain campaign spoilers or items beyond starting items. 

Mindthief class miniature and character board
Mindthief class miniature and character board

Why a Mindthief Stunning Damage build?

There are several different ways you can go when playing a Mindthief. Based on my experience, I’d guess that the common builds are one of these three. 

  1. You could play as support focussing on healing and boosting your allies instead of dealing damage yourself with some mind control abilities thrown in to turn scenarios to your favour. 
  2. You could focus on ranged damage and turn your initial melee focussed Mindthief into a ranged damage dealer as you level. 
  3. You could play as a melee damage build dodging around on the front lines leaving your enemies stunned and unable to get you back. That’s the build that this guide focuses on. 

I play in a 4 player Gloomhaven party. That means there are lots of bad guys around in every scenario! When I played the Mindthief we already had a healer and a ranged damage dealer, so the melee damage Mindthief made the most sense for me. 

We also didn’t have any classes that were issuing many negative status effects to enemies so I made that part of my build. 

Mindthief Strategy for Damage and Stun

A melee glass cannon is an unusual character build. Kudos to the Gloomhaven designers for trying something different with the Mindthief! 

It means that you need to be on the ball as Mindthief because there’s no room for error. You need to be upfront and personal with the bad guys to deal the most damage, but you can’t take what you give out. Oh, no. One false move and you’re a squished! 

So how do we get around our weakness? 

Run hit / Hit run

You are one of the fastest starting classes in Gloomhaven, which means you can dash in and whack enemies and dash out again before they even have a chance to hit you! 

To do this, you’ll need a mixture of high and low initiative cards. Use your high initiative cards to go late on turn one, so the bad guys have already had their turn before you rush in and hit them.  Then, go early on turn 2 so that you can hit them again before rushing off.

Card initiatives are really important with this strategy, but so is having ample movement cards in your hand, ideally with Jump. The last thing you want is to be trapped behind a bunch of enemies!

Stun enemies!

It’s not always going to possible to use the hit and run strategy. But you have other tricks up your sleeve! 

Use Stun and Immobilize to prevent your closest threats from doing any damage on their turn. As a damage build which generates Ice, you’ll be able to consume Ice for extra Stun actions as you level. 

A stunned enemy is a peaceful enemy! They can’t attack you or your allies until the end of their next turn (if they survive that long!)

Look into the Dark for damage boosts

While our main focus will be on Ice bonuses for Stun, we’ll keep an eye out for Dark abilities that lend themselves to our damage and Stun build. 

The Mind’s Weakness Augment

I really like the Mindthief Augments, because they allow you to build the character according to how you want to play. It’s a shame that they aren’t hugely dynamic though. 

With a hand limit of 10, you don’t have a huge amount of flexibility. You could take along two or more Augments, so you can change your playstyle depending on what comes up in the scenario. But if you do you’ll end up playing several different types of Mindthief that all perform ok, but don’t excel at any one playstyle. 

In some groups, that may be exactly what you want, you may need that versatility. However, for this build, we’re going to focus on damage so we’ll focus on one main Augment, The Mind’s Weakness, and build our deck around it. That +2 Attack to all melee attacks turns you from a weak vermling dealing minimal damage, to a decent damage dealer!

At later levels, we may pick up another Augment to support our build. So we’ll take along a maximum of 2 Augments. 

Mindthief Damage and Stun card analysis

There are no good or bad cards in Gloomhaven. It’s just that some are better or worse for different builds. For this Mindthief build, I looked for cards that offered:

  • Melee attacks
  • Negative status effects (especially Stun)
  • Ice elemental cards (which often support Stun boosts)

My card evaluations are all with this build in mind. 

Mindthief cards

The Mindthief has 29 cards available in her entire deck from level 1 to 9. A unique card to the Mindthief is the Augment card. There are 8 Augments in the Mindthief deck. 

Level 1 Mindthief cards

Like the other Gloomhaven starting classes, at level 1 you have the same number of cards as your hand limit so you can just grab those cards and go if you want to dive into the character. 

How well do these cards synergize with the Mindthief we’re building? Let’s take a look. 

Empathetic Assault

Mindthief level 1 card Empathetic Assault
Mindthief level 1 card Empathetic Assault

Initiative

11

Top ability

Attack 4, Range 5, Disarm, Create Ice, 2 Experience, Loss. 

A glorious high attack with other bonuses that this build loves – Disarm and Create Ice. 

It’s an awesome ability to have in your hand for the final room. You can use that range to get in a great ranged shot from the door and create some Ice for your next turn. The bad guys will definitely know you have arrived! 

Bottom ability

Move 2, Heal 2, Self. 

With a top Loss, we really want to have a decent reusable bottom ability. We’ve got one!

Move 2, sure, whatever. We get that on any card. But the Heal 2 Self is always going to come in handy especially when you enhance it. 

Put Strengthen on this to gain Advantage on your attacks until the end of your next turn. Perfect for when you really, really need your next attack to land!

Overall card rating

The 11 initiative is brilliant for going before the monsters. The top ability is a cracking Loss for the final room and the bottom ability is highly useful until we get there. 

Fearsome Blade

Mindthief level 1 card Fearsome Blade
Mindthief level 1 card Fearsome Blade

Initiative

27

Top ability

Attack 2, Push 3, 1 Experience. 

The attack value on Fearsome Blade is ok for us when enhanced by The Mind’s Weakness. As a squishy little vermling, the Push 3 isn’t too shabby either. 

After whacking an enemy on our turn, we can push them out of our way and into the path of an ally who can take more hits than us! Of course, we’ll only push them away when we want to. Otherwise, we may push them out of range for out next melee attack! 

We must be stronger than we look to be able to shove the bad guy out of the way! 

It’s a nice repeatable ability for some shiny 1 experience too. 

Bottom ability

Move 4, Attack 2, 2 Experience, Loss.

Losing a card for a Move 4, Attack 2, seems really steep to me. You do get to Move and Attack in the same action, which is pretty sweet and it can be just the ticket to finishing off enemies in the final room, which is really the only place I can see this being worth the stamina hit from the Loss. 

The 2 experience is a nice way to top up your experience before the end of a scenario too. 

Overall Fearsome Blade card rating

The 27 initiative is quite poor. It’s not enough to guarantee going before the enemies, instead, we’d go after a couple of them and potentially leave ourselves in harm’s way. The Push on the top does help with that though!

The top ability overall is consistently useful and the bottom is best saved for the final room. 

Feedback Loop 

Mindthief level 1 card Feedback Loop
Mindthief level 1 card Feedback Loop

Initiative

79

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Gain Shield, 1, Round bonus. Attack 1, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card. 

Unfortunately, none of the other Augments can compare to The Mind’s Weakness for this build. Ideally, we don’t want to be relying on Shields at all. If we’re playing our cards right, we aren’t even in range of attacks to need the Shield in the first place. 

Bottom ability

Move 4, Jump. If you end the movement in the same hex your started in, perform Muddle. Target all enemies moved through. 

I love the image that comes with this ability. 

You scurry around in a circle around all the bad guys, jumping over them, getting under their feet and ending up back where you started. No wonder they are Muddled! 

It’s rare that you’ll want to run through as many enemies as possible though to apply the Muddle debuff. Instead, you’ll more likely use this to Move 4 to get where you need to go quickly. 

A reusable Jump is super important to use as a squishy melee class. It can help us get into, and out of trouble quickly!

Overall Feedback Loop card rating

The 79 initiative is a little bit risky to play if you want to go last in a round, but it’s not too bad. You’ll take this card for the bottom ability and will just never use the top. 

Gnawing Horde

Mindthief level 1 card Gnawing Horde
Mindthief level 1 card Gnawing Horde

Initiative

82

Top ability

Summon Rat Swarm. Hit points: 6, Move: 1, Attack: 2, Range: -, Poison. 2 Experience, Persistent Bonus, Loss. 

Ahh, a meat shield! And it has the same number of hit points as us! Lovely jubbly. The attack is fine for level 1, and with the addition of Poison, your whole party will benefit from this summon. 

Though, you’d best save it until the last room and summon it next to a group of enemies. With a Move of 1, it simply can’t keep up with you otherwise!

Bottom ability

Move 4.

Yep! A Move 4 is going to serve us just fine until we summon our rats. 

Overall Gnawing Horde card rating

The 82 initiative is nice and late for when we want to go last. A little closer to 99 would be better, but it’s still not too risky to play. 

The Move 4 is great and we can use it throughout the scenario until the last room, when we’re already where we need to be and we summon our rats into position. 

Into the Night

Mindthief level 1 card Into the Night
Mindthief level 1 card Into the Night

Initiative

14

Top ability

Loot 1, Create Dark. 

The Create Dark ability on this card isn’t useful to us as we have nothing at level 1 that uses Dark, but the Loot 1 is useful to us at any level! 

No loot around? No worries! Just use the basic attack 2 on the card which gets boosted to an Attack 4 because of The Mind’s Weakness. 

Bottom ability

Invisible, Self. 

Now, this is far better than the Shield offered by the Feedback Loop Augment. We don’t want to be hit at all, with or without a Shield! The best way to avoid that, make yourself unhittable! Simple. 

Overall Into the Night card rating

Check out that 14 initiative! If we’re in a real tricky situation and we need to protect ourselves, we can go invisible, et voila! 

With Into the Night, we have options. We can do an Attack 4, get some shinies and Create Dark, or go invisible. It’s wonderfully versatile. 

Parasitic Influence

Mindthief level 1 card Parasitic Influence
Mindthief level 1 card Parasitic Influence

Initiative

71

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Heal 2, Self. Attack 1, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card.

The Parasitic Influence Augment is an interesting one. It’s like a health drain card. For every attack that you do, you get to heal. The trick is to deal more damage than you take on every turn. 

For me, the issue was that without the boost from The Mind’s Weakness, the attacks don’t do a huge amount of damage. It also encourages you to run the risk of taking more hits than you can realistically handle. And instead of dealing more damage to finish the scenario, you’re prolonging it. That can lead to stamina issues, for you and for others in your party. 

Bottom ability

Force one enemy within Range 4 to perform Move 1 with you controlling the action.

Meh. The mind control abilities of the Mindthief are so cool, but this one is just too situational to be of much use. 

It’s great if there’s a trap that you can make a bad guy walk into, or if moving it 1 hex away will make it attack someone else. But it’s better to take another ability along that is more versatile. 

Overall Parasitic Influence card rating

The initiative is just mediocre. You’ll go late in the round, but maybe not after all the monsters. The top Augment is an interesting idea, but it doesn’t support our damage build. As for the bottom ability, well, mind control is cool, but it seems like we aren’t very good at it! 

Perverse Edge

Mindthief level 1 card Perverse Edge
Mindthief level 1 card Perverse Edge

Initiative

08

Top ability

Attack 3, Add +2 Attack and gain 1 Experience for each negative condition on the target. Loss. 

The +2 Attack for every negative condition is hugely alluring…

In reality, we’ll probably only get to apply Muddle consistently beforehand by using the Move on Feedback Loop, but even that gives us a +7 attack with The Mind’s Weakness. 

The trick with this ability is to keep it until the last room and go after the first enemy you can reach that has a negative condition on it either from you or an ally. If you can get hold of the Poison Dagger, or get your rat swarm into the perfect position to apply Poison to the target you’ll see another boost. 

Bottom ability

Attack 1, Range 2, Stun, Create Ice, 1 Experience. 

Fantastic flexibility comes with having an attack on the bottom of a card, especially for a damage dealer. We can get in two hits on one turn with this! It’ll only deal 1 damage, but it’ll put the enemy out of action for a turn! 

To top it off, it’s a ranged option and we haven’t gone many of those at level 1. The reusable Stun is great, Crate Ice is great, the 1 Experience is great. The only downsides are it’s 1 damage and short range of 2. But they can both be enhanced. 

Overall Perverse Edge card rating

Lightning-fast 08 initiative meaning we can be pretty sure of going first! An awesome ranged attack with Stun and Ice on the bottom and a hard-hitting top attack Loss for the final room. This is a great card for our build!

Scurry

Mindthief level 1 card Scurry
Mindthief level 1 card Scurry

Initiative

20

Top ability

Move 3, Attack 1. 

A top Move action is just as flexible as a bottom Attack action. We won’t deal a huge amount of damage when we get where we’re going, but it can be worth it. 

The brilliant thing with this top Move is that instead of moving up to 4 hexes on a turn, we can now run across a room for Move 7. That can be the difference between being the first to the treasure chest or not!

Bottom ability

Loot 2, 1 Experience. Loss. 

An 18 hex loot is always epic to pull off, especially when there’s no limit on the amount you can pick up with it! 

I like to save this until the last room and grab whatever loot I can and get the 1 Experience before the scenario ends.

Overall Scurry card rating

The flexibility of a top Move and Attack is brilliant and it makes up for the situational Loss on the bottom. The 20 initiative is just ok. There will be some risk that you’ll not get to go before all the enemies, though. 

Submissive Affliction

Mindthief level 1 card Submissive Affliction
Mindthief level 1 card Submissive Affliction

Initiative

48

Top ability

Attack 2, Add +1 Attack for each negative condition on the target, 1 Experience.

This is a weaker, non-Loss version of Perverse Edge. Even without the bonus for debuffs on the target, we still have a decent +4 Attack when used with our favourite Augment. 

It’s a great card for scooping up experience points for doing what we’re good at – hitting things. 

Bottom ability

Force one enemy within Range 5 to perform Attack 2, Range 0 targeting another enemy with you controlling the action. 

For those times when you don’t need to move and you’d rather get in another attack. 

Choose your target carefully to make the most of it. 

Overall Submissive Affliction card rating

The initiative is about as bad as it gets for us. Right in the middle. So we can’t plan to go early or late with it. The top attack is pretty good and can potentially be amazing if there are a lot of negative conditions on our target. The bottom ability could be a better use of this card depending on the circumstances. 

The Mind’s Weakness

Mindthief level 1 card The Mind's Weakness
Mindthief level 1 card The Mind’s Weakness

Initiative

75

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Add +2 Attack. Attack 1, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card. 

The linchpin which holds this build together! +2 Attack to all melee attacks forever. Awesome! 

Because we don’t get the attack bonus to our ranged attacks, we need to make sure we haven’t got too many of them in our hand. But that’s fine with us. We can be dodgy and use debuffs to keep our squishy selves out of harm’s way. 

Bottom ability

Attack 1 Wound. 

It really doesn’t matter what this ability says, we’re never going to use it! 

Overall The Mind’s Weakness card rating

Grab this card, put it in your hand and get to know it. You’re going to be friends for life. 

Level X cards

At level 1, we can also choose from the level X cards so let’s take a look at them, shall we? 

Mindthief level X cards Frigid Apparition, Possession, and Withering Claw
Mindthief level X cards Frigid Apparition, Possession, and Withering Claw

Frigid Apparition

Initiative

29

Top ability

Attack 3 (Conditional: Consume Ice for Stun, 1 Experience).

A nice melee Attack 3 that we can boost with our Augment to an Attack 5. We can consume the Ice we’re making to take an enemy out of action for a turn and get an experience point too. Nothing to complain about here. 

Bottom ability

Move 4, Stun, Target one adjacent enemy, 1 Experience, Loss.

Move and Stun is a great combo, but losing the card for it feels steep. 

Overall Frigid Apparition card rating

The initiative won’t guarantee we go first, so it comes with some risk. The top of this card is almost always going to be better to use than the bottom as a damage-dealing build. 

Use the bottom ability in the last room if you want to get the experience before the end of the scenario and the fight is going in your favour.

Possession

Initiative

51

Top ability

One adjacent ally may perform Attack 6, 2 Experience, Loss.

When I first saw this ability, I was surprised to see that the Mindthief’s mind control abilities can also be inflicted on allies. But it makes total sense given the vermling’s place in Gloomhaven. They aren’t exactly treated well by most humans!

But is this ability worth it for our build? Well, maybe. If you feel like it’s worth sacrificing your own attack once per scenario, and have an ally attack instead, then take it with you. For me, it’s not worth it. 

I’m here to deal damage, not get other people to do it for me!

Bottom ability

One ally within range 3 may perform Move 4. 

As above but not as cool. This Move 4 is good for getting your rat swarm summon to catch up if you summoned it too early and it’s fallen behind. Otherwise, it’s a way to shift an ally out of the way if they are about to get squished. 

The main problem with it is that you’ll be giving up one of your movement slots for a Move for an ally. And to be honest, we need to be able to move more than they do. We are a melee glass cannon!

Overall Possession card rating

The 51 initiative is about as bad as you can get. You have no idea if you’ll go early or late in the round. 

Both the abilities would suit a Mindthief build focussed more on support rather than damage, so it’s not for us. 

Withering Claw

Initiative

77

Top ability 

Augment – On your melee attacks: Add Muddle and Poison. Attack 1, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card. 

This is the only other Augment at level 1 that I found to be a real contender against The Mind’s Weakness.

Muddle will give the enemies Disadvantage throughout the scenario and Poison gives you and all your allies +1 to all attacks against them. That will make light work of enemies, especially in a 4 player group.

However, it still didn’t beat The Mind’s Weakness. 

Bottom ability

Immobilize, Target one adjacent enemy, Move 3. 

Perfect for our hit and run strategy! After you’ve hit them, Immobilize them and run away! 

Overall Withering Claw card rating

The 77 initiative doesn’t gel very well with the Immobilize ability for running away so you’d need to pair it with a low initiative card to make it useful. 

The top Augment is pretty good, for higher health enemies that will be around for a while, but for most of the time, The Mind’s Weakness is the better choice. 

Level 1 Mindthief build

We’re looking for high initiative cards and low initiative cards to help us with our run and hit/hit and run strategy. 

Ideally, we want to take melee attacks over ranged attacks for the +2 Attack bonus from The Mind’s Weakness. Where we are taking cards that consume Ice, we need to make sure we have enough cards to create it. 

Because we need to run in and out of melee range, we need to make sure we have a decent amount of movement cards too. 

Given that we’ll have an Augment in play for pretty much the entire scenario, we can’t take a huge amount of Loss abilities in with us. Unless we save them all for the last room so we don’t run out of stamina. The earlier in a scenario we play a loss, the fewer rounds we can play without becoming exhausted. 

Level 1 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 1 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 1 deck

While each card is useful for two abilities, we’re often taking a card for one main ability. If we ignore Moves (which we just need to make sure we have enough of in our hand) here are the main categories each card falls into. 

Melee damage

  • Fearsome Blade (Top: Push 3)
  • Scurry
  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Submissive Affliction

Summon

  • Gnawing Horde (Top: Poison)

Debuffs

  • Feedback Loop (Top: Jump, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)
  • Into the Night (Top: Creates Dark)

Level 2 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 2 cards Hostile Takeover and Wretched Creature
Mindthief level 2 cards Hostile Takeover and Wretched Creature

Hostile Takeover

Initiative

09

Top ability

Attack 2, Range 4, Immobilize, Create Ice, 1 Experience. 

Right now, we don’t have a ranged attack that isn’t a loss. This also creates Ice and we get an experience point every time we use it in the scenario. 

It can be useful on melee attackers to keep them away for a turn while your group takes care of other enemies though. 

If you actually want a melee attack, no worries. Remember every top ability is also a melee attack 4 for us whenever The Mind’s Weakness is in play. 

Bottom ability

Force one normal or elite enemy within Range 3 to perform its turn this round as if its allies were enemies and its enemies were allies. To signify this, place one of your character tokens on this enemy for the round. 2 Experience, Round bonus, Loss.

This is a cool move if the enemies you’re facing deal a decent amount of damage, especially because it can be used on elites too. 

Just choose your play carefully with this one to make the most of it. Turning an elite against a boss is usually pretty fun! 

Overall Hostile Takeover card rating

The super low initiative of 09 is super awesome! The reusable ranged attack gives us a decent upper ranged option that isn’t a Loss. 

Wretched Creature

Initiative

84

Top ability

Summon Monstrous Rat. Hit points: 4, Move: 3, Attack: 3, Range: 0. 2 Experience, Persistent bonus, Loss. 

Ahh, nice! A summon that can keep up with us! Unfortunately, it won’t stay alive for very long to do much. We don’t have anything that can heal it and it only has 4 health! 

To be honest, for now, we’re better off keeping our Gnawing Horde card. It has better movement, and the summon can absorb more hits!

Bottom ability

Move 3. (Conditional: Consume Dark to Curse Target one adjacent enemy). 

The Curse ability on here would give us a use for the Dark we create from using the Loot on Into the Night. But we know that we use the standard attack on that card most of the time anyway! 

Overall Wretched Creature card rating

The 84 initiative is comparable to the 82 initiative of the rat swarm. The card gives us a decent bottom action to use while we wait for the right time in the second or final room to summon our rat friend. 

Level 2 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Hostile Takeover. You’ll be able to deal more damage in a scenario using the top of Hostile Takeover a couple of times (and potentially the bottom ability too) than you will with the Monstrous Rat who may only survive for one or two turns. 

What to drop

Into the Night. We don’t have a use for Dark right now and we can’t afford to get rid of a card with a decent Move ability. For a scurrying vermling reliant on movement, it can feel like decent moves are hard to come by! 

Level 2 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 2 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 2 deck

Melee damage

  • Fearsome Blade (Top: Push 3)
  • Scurry
  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Submissive Affliction

Summon

  • Gnawing Horde (Top: Poison)

Debuffs

  • Feedback Loop (Top: Jump, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)

Level 3 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 3 cards Brain Leech and Silent Scream
Mindthief level 3 cards Brain Leech and Silent Scream

Brain Leech

Initiative

16

Top ability

Attack 4, Range 4, Heal 4, Self, Create Dark, 2 Experience, Loss. 

An attack and a heal using just one ability slot is pretty awesome. We’ll not benefit from The Mind’s Weakness bonus on the attack because it’s ranged though. Even so, an attack of 4 is pretty decent. 

It is a Loss though so we can only use it once. Does the bottom ability give us something useful to use in the meantime? 

Bottom ability

Attack 1, Strengthen, Self. 

I’m a big fan of bottom attacks, especially when they are on 16 initiative card. It’s an ideal ability for us to use on the hit run turn of the run hit / hit run strategy. 

If you want to move away as your second action though, we currently only have the top of Scurry that will allow us to do so. That’s fine for now because we’re not using the top of Scurry with another bottom attack regularly. 

Plus, we know that the Attack 1 is actually and Attack 3 because of our Augment, making it a nice reusable ability. 

It’s unlikely we’ll get to use Strengthen to its maximum effect though…

If you’ve spent your first turn going late in the round, running into melee range and dishing out a hit, it means on your next turn you need to run away. So you use the 16 initiative on Brain Leech to go early. You use this bottom attack and gain Strengthen, but your next ability needs to be a Move to get out of enemy range. 

Yes, you’ll still have Strengthen until the end of your next turn so it’ll help on your next turn after you’ve moved back into melee range. But you’ll only gain advantage on one attack, rather than two. 

Overall Brain Leech card rating

The 16 initiative is going to come in handy for going early in the round. It’s nice to get a little pop shot bottom attack in too before we dash away. The top ability is super cool and feels epic to use once per scenario. 

Silent Scream

Initiative

73

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Heal 2, Range 2. Attack 2, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card. 

A fantastic Augment for playing a support build Mindthief. Healing every time you attack makes for a pretty cool healer. It’s a bit like you’re stealing health from your enemies and passing it along to your allies. 

Bottom ability

Move 3, Push 2, Target all adjacent enemies. Conditional: Consume Ice for +1 Push, 1 Experience. 

I love the imagery that this card creates! 

You, a little squishy vermling, dashes into a group of enemies and then pushes them all out of the way in a circle around you. Adding Jump to the Move of this makes it even cooler. 

Manipulating the movement of enemies is always useful. Traps are the obvious reason why, but more subtle than that, shoving them into the path of allies able to take more hits than you is also a valid choice!

Overall Silent Scream card rating

In our build, the top Augment isn’t going to be used because we’re not about healing. The bottom ability would be useful to us, but it’s better to have a card in our hand where both the top and bottom align with what we’re doing. 

Level 3 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Brain Leech aligns better with our build, so we pick that up. 

What to drop

We’re adding a bottom attack action, so we need to replace another attack action, ideally. Given that bottom attack actions are pretty rare, we haven’t got many to choose from. Perverse Edge comes with Stun which we want to keep, The Mind’s Weakness is too essential to consider, leaving us with Fearsome Blade, Hostile Takeover and Submissive Affliction. 

Fearsome Blade and Hostile Takeover both have excellent enemy manipulating top attacks which leaves us with Submissive Affliction. We drop Submissive Affliction. 

Level 3 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage stun build level 3
Mindthief damage stun build level 3

Melee damage

  • Fearsome Blade (Top: Push 3)
  • Scurry
  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Brain Leech (Top: Create Dark, Bottom: Strengthen) 

Summon

  • Gnawing Horde (Top: Poison)

Debuffs

  • Feedback Loop (Top: Jump, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)

Level 4 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 4 cards Cranium Overload and Pilfer
Mindthief level 4 cards Cranium Overload and Pilfer

Cranium Overload

Initiative

05

Top ability

Kill one normal enemy within Range 4. Attack 2, Target all enemies adjacent to the killed target. Gain 1 Experience for each enemy targeted with this attack. Loss.

This is one incredible ability! Not only do you get to kill any normal enemy instantly without even standing next to them, but you get to attack all their friends nearby too! As if that wasn’t enough, you also scoop up an experience point for each bad guy you target. 

When you use this ability you will feel so, so powerful! 

Bottom ability

Move 5.

Exactly the kind of ability we love to see on the bottom of a card with a top loss action. Move 5 is always going to be useful. 

Overall Cranium Overload card rating

That 05 initiative is amazing. For most of the scenario, you’ll use it to make sure you go before the monsters, and for when the time is right to use that epic top loss, you can pull it off before the enemies get a chance to mess up your plan!

Pilfer

Initiative

68

Top ability

Loot 1. Gain one additional money token from the supply for each adjacent enemy. 

This ability tempts you into Looting rather than attacking or moving when in melee range. Of course, you can just use it as a regular loot action and ignore the conditional bonus. 

To be honest, we don’t really need to take an action looting. We pick up loot fairly easily anyway because we scurry around the room so much we often land on loot hexes as we go! 

Bottom ability

Attack 2, Move 3, Attack 2, 2 Experience. 

With both attacks boosted we’ll be dealing 8 damage over two attacks with this loss and doing a shifty little move in the middle. That’s not a bad amount of damage for a Loss and it’s unusual to see an attack Loss like this as the bottom action.  

Overall Pilfer card rating

The initiative is too low at 68 to guarantee that you’ll go last in a round. The top ability doesn’t align with our damage and Stun focus, and it just isn’t good enough on a card with a bottom loss. 

Level 4 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Cranium Overload is the winner for us. That 05 initiative is too good to pass over. The top ability will make you feel epic, and the Move 5 is so, so useful. 

What to drop

Now that we have a repeatable Move 5 we can replace a card with a repeatable lower move action. Looking at the level 1 abilities that fit this criteria, we have Empathetic Assault, Feedback Loop and Gnawing Horde. 

Jump and Muddle on Feedback Loop are useful, the heal with Bless enhancement on Empathetic Assault is great, so it’s time for our rat friends to go. We drop Gnawing Horde. 

Level 4 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun level 4 deck
Mindthief damage and stun level 4 deck

Melee damage

  • Fearsome Blade (Top: Push 3)
  • Scurry
  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Brain Leech (Top: Create Dark, Bottom: Strengthen) 

Debuffs

  • Feedback Loop (Top: Jump, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)
  • Cranium Overload (Top: Insta-kill normal enemy)

Level 5 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 5 cards Frozen Mind and Mass Hysteria
Mindthief level 5 cards Frozen Mind and Mass Hysteria

Frozen Mind

Initiative

81

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Consume Ice for Stun. Attack 2, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card.

This is the only other Augment that I really love for this build. Every time you hit an enemy it can’t hit you back. You’ll need to consume Ice of course, but we currently have three abilities that create Ice and only one that consumes it. 

As we’re primarily a damage dealer, Stun is secondary to attacks for us because it’s more of a supporting action. However, it’s still pretty epic. We can run into danger and smack nearby foes putting them out of action so we don’t necessarily need to run away. 

Of course, we’ll need to get rid of The Mind’s Weakness if we play this Augment instead. 

Bottom ability

Force one enemy within Range 5 to perform Move 2 with you controlling the action. 

Great if you want to force your enemy face first into a trap or move it towards a different ally. Otherwise, a movement ability for us would be way more useful. 

Overall Frozen Mind card rating

The top Stun Augment is very cool but it can’t beat The Mind’s Weakness for this build. We are damage first, Stun second. 

Mass Hysteria

Initiative

12

Top ability

Attack 1, Range 4, Target 4, Muddle, Create Ice, 1 Experience.

Spreading Muddle around four enemies at once is incredibly powerful. Target those that are getting in the hits that you’re most concerned about to swing the fight in your favour. 

You’ll generate an Ice too which we don’t really need more of right now, but it makes it even easier to use the Stun on Frigid Apparition. 

Bottom ability

You may have two Augments active at once. If a third Augment is played, discard one of the others. Persistent bonus. Loss. 

The two Augment play sounds amazing but don’t bank on having two Augments out for the entire scenario. You’ll become exhausted too quickly. 

It’s a fun trick to pull out in the final room, but you need to build your deck with that in mind. So you need to make sure the Augment that you choose has an awesome other ability to use in the meantime.

Overall Mass Hysteria card rating

The 12 initiative is nice and low for going early and giving four enemies disadvantage on their attacks is incredibly useful. 

Level 5 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Mass Hysteria is the better card for us. That top action is awesome. 

What to drop

We’re picking up a ranged attack that will deal 4 damage per use, but we’re not adding any movement. So we need to be careful with what we swap out. 

Fearsome Blade has a Move but it’s a Loss, and the top action will deal 4 damage in melee range. Is it better to deal 4 damage across 4 enemies, inflict Muddle on each of them and create Ice? I think so. We drop Fearsome Blade. 

Level 5 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 5 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 5 deck

Melee damage

  • Scurry
  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Brain Leech (Top: Create Dark, Bottom: Strengthen) 

Debuffs

  • Feedback Loop (Top: Jump, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)
  • Cranium Overload (Top: Insta-kill normal enemy)
  • Mass Hysteria (Top: Muddle, Create Ice)

Level 6 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 6 cards Corrupting Embrace, Dark Frenzy
Mindthief level 6 cards Corrupting Embrace, Dark Frenzy

Corrupting Embrace

Initiative

39

Top ability

Attack 1, Poison, Attack 1, Muddle.

This is a fantastic ability that gives us a choice on how we deal our damage. We can dish out 6 boosted damage on one enemy and inflict them with both Poison and Muddle (very handy for a boss!). Or, we can spread the damage over two foes. Nice. 

It means that you don’t need to throw yourself at two enemies at once to make the most of this card. You can play it safe. 

Bottom ability

Move 4, Jump. Poison, Target all enemies moved through, Create Dark. 

Another Move with Jump is very useful! Yes, please. Poison and Creating Dark are nice bonuses. We don’t need dark right now, but we will do soon…

Overall Corrupting Embrace card rating

The worst thing about this card is the initiative. 39 means you’ll go in the middle of the round which doesn’t play to our strengths. 

The two non-loss abilities are great though. 

Dark Frenzy

Initiative

10

Top ability

Attack 2, (Conditional: Consume Ice for +2 Attack, 1 Experience) (Conditional: Consume Dark for +2 Attack, 1 Experience.) 

This attack can be totally epic! With both boosts and The Mind’s Weakness bonus, this is an Attack 8 ability. And it’s a non-loss! That’s brilliant.

At level 6 we have more Ice than we can use and we generate Dark once per game with Brain Leech so it is possible. Most of the time, we’ll just be consuming Ice to make it an attack 6 but that’s still pretty good for a repeatable ability. 

Bottom ability

Move 3, Attack 3, Range 3, Create Ice, 1 Experience. 

Move and shoot! In the same action! Nice. I’m a big fan of this ability. Used on the turn where we attack then move away, we can then turn around and deal a cheeky ranged shot after we’ve moved away. Love it! 

The Create Ice is nice too. Not that we really need it right now! 

Overall Dark Frenzy card rating

A really solid card. The top and bottom repeatable abilities are both highly useful and the 10 initiative just tops it all off. 

Level 6 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Both cards are brilliant and we want both of them! So guess what we’ll be taking at level 7? 

For now, Corrupting Embrace just nudges it for me because that top attack is more flexible, and the slightly higher movement with Jump is great. It also gives us Create Dark which we can use to boost Dark Frenzy when we grab it at level 7. 

What to drop

Feedback Loop! Finally, we can get rid of this card! That top Augment was just taking up an ability slot because we needed the Move 4 and Jump. 

Level 6 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 6 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 6 deck

Melee damage

  • Scurry
  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Brain Leech (Top: Create Dark, Bottom: Strengthen) 
  • Corrupting Embrace (Top: Poison, Muddle, Bottom: Poison, Create Dark)

Debuffs

  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)
  • Cranium Overload (Top: Insta-kill normal enemy)
  • Mass Hysteria (Top: Muddle, Create Ice)

Level 7 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 7 cards Psychic Projection and Vicious Blood
Mindthief level 7 cards Psychic Projection and Vicious Blood

Psychic Projection

Initiative

92

Top ability

Heal 5, Self, Shield 1, Self, Round bonus, Stun, Self. 

Knock yourself out! Literally. Heal, put a shield up and then put yourself out of action for a turn. What?! 

I find this ability absolutely baffling. I never want to ever do this. 

If you’re super low on health, I guess you could run out of enemy range then use this ability, but seriously a health potion is a decent option! 

Bottom ability

All your ranged attacks gain the effects of your Augments this round. 

Given our Augment of choice, on first glance, this ability looks great. However, we don’t actually have that many ranged attacks and this will only boost them for one round and we lose the card in the process.

Overall Psychic Projection card rating

The heal that puts you out of action for a round is just weird and the bottom action gives us minimal benefits. The best thing about this card for us is the very high initiative that would guarantee us going late in the round. 

Vicious Blood

Initiative

83

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Gain Retaliate 2, Round bonus. Attack 2, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card. 

Want to stick around long enough in melee range to make the most of Retaliate? No, I didn’t think so. Taking damage to deal damage is not how we roll. 

Bottom ability

Move 2, Attack 2. 

Move and Attack as one ability is good, but at level 6, we have better options. 

Overall Vicious Blood card rating

An Augment that needs us to take damage and a small Move and a weak attack, no thanks. 

Level 7 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Oh hello, Dark Frenzy from level 6!

What to drop

It gets tough at level 7 because our cards are all useful. 

Looking over our lowest level cards, the top Move on Scurry is helpful, the Stun on the bottom attack of Perverse Edge is useful and the heal and Strengthen enhancement from the bottom of Empathetic Assault is great too. 

Scurry is the one that aligns the least with our damage and Stun priorities, so it goes. The good news is, that as we’ve levelled we’ve picked up more ranged attacks so our turns look more like Turn 1) Move, Melee attack, Turn 2) Move, Ranged attack. So we’re less reliant on Scurry than we were. 

Level 7 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 7 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 7 deck

Melee damage

  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Brain Leech (Top: Create Dark, Bottom: Strengthen) 
  • Corrupting Embrace (Top: Poison, Muddle, Bottom: Poison, Create Dark)
  • Dark Frenzy (Top: Consume Ice for +2 Attack, 1 Exp, Consume Dark for +2 Attack, 1 Exp, Bottom: Create Ice.)

Debuffs

  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)
  • Cranium Overload (Top: Insta-kill normal enemy)
  • Mass Hysteria (Top: Muddle, Create Ice)

Level 8 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 8 cards Domination and Shared Nightmare
Mindthief level 8 cards Domination and Shared Nightmare

Domination

Initiative

13

Top ability

One adjacent ally may perform Attack 4, This attack gains the effects of your Augments, 1 Experience. 

I’m not a huge fan of this ability. We need to be adjacent to an ally to use it, and really with our Augments it effectively means it’s an attack 6 if that ally is in melee range. 

Because the ally needs to be adjacent, if they are in melee range, then we aren’t far away ourselves so we may as well deal our own attack. 

Bottom ability

Force one normal or elite enemy within Range 5 to perform its turn this round as if its allies were enemies and its enemies were allies, with you controlling the actions. To signify this, place one of your character tokens on the enemy for the round. Two Experience, Round bonus, Loss. 

This is a straight upgrade to Hostile Takeover, giving us a Range 5 instead of a Range 3 AND we get to control its actions. So we can direct it to attack exactly who we want it to. That’s pretty cool. 

It suffers from the same issue as its predecessor that you need to choose a decent enemy to make the most of it. 

Overall Domination card rating

The upgraded enemy mind control ability is pretty cool, but it’s a loss. Because it’s a loss we need a decent, reusable top action that we can use pretty much anywhere. The top action on Domination doesn’t give us that. 

Shared Nightmare

Initiative

07

Top ability

Attack 3, Range 4, Target 2 (Conditional: Consume Dark to inflict Poison and Curse), Create Ice, 1 Experience. 

Sweet! A multi-target attack that dishes out some negative status effects with that Dark we have floating around for when we don’t use it on Dark Frenzy. We create yet more Ice (the room must be freezing when we leave!) and scoop up an experience too. 

What makes it even better is that it’s repeatable! 

Bottom ability

Move 5 (Conditional: Consume Ice for Shield 1, Self, 1 Experience, Round bonus).

A Move 5 is always, always welcome. And you know what, with so much Ice floating around, we may as well add the Shield and get an Experience point.

Overall Shared Nightmare card rating

All those status effects are glorious, and the 07 initiative makes it even better! 

Level 8 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Shared Nightmare. It’s just too good. 

What to drop

Without Scurry, our turns now need a Move (bottom action) and an Attack (top action) because we don’t have a top Move action anymore. What we do have, however, is two bottom attack actions on Perverse Edge and Brain Leech. They are tricky for us to use now. 

The top of Brain Leech gives us an emergency heal while Perverse Edge gives us a high damage melee attack when used at the right time. Seeing as we’re all about damage and Stun Brain Leech goes. 

Level 8 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 8 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 8 deck

Melee damage

  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Corrupting Embrace (Top: Poison, Muddle, Bottom: Poison, Create Dark)
  • Dark Frenzy (Top: Consume Ice for +2 Attack, 1 Exp, Consume Dark for +2 Attack, 1 Exp, Bottom: Create Ice.)

Debuffs

  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Heal/Damage mitigation

  • Empathetic Assault (Top: Disarm, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)
  • Cranium Overload (Top: Insta-kill normal enemy)
  • Mass Hysteria (Top: Muddle, Create Ice)
  • Shared Nightmare (Top: Consume Dark for Poison and Curse. Create Ice, Bottom: Consume Ice for Shield 1 Self, 1 Exp)

Level 9 Mindthief cards

Mindthief level 9 cards Many as One, Phantasmal Killer
Mindthief level 9 cards Many as One, Phantasmal Killer

Many as One

Initiative

91

Top ability

Summon Rat King. Health:9, Move: 2, Attack: X where X is half the rat’s current hit point value (rounded up), Range: 0. 2 Experience, Persistent Bonus, Loss. 

While the Rat King is at full health, he’ll deal 5 damage for every attack he does. As soon as he takes a hit, he gets weaker. 

So, let’s say he survived for 3 rounds, one at 9 hit points, one at 5 hit points and one at 1 hit points. That’s 5+3+1 so he’ll do 9 damage. That’s ok, but not amazing for a Loss card at level 9. He might survive for longer, you may have a support character that can keep healing him, but in reality, for an AI controlled melee summon 3 rounds is probably realistic. 

Add in that he’s a Loss with slow movement, and you’ll want to save him for the last room really.  So the last thing we want on the bottom of the card is another Loss ability. 

Bottom ability

All allies within Range 2 add +X Attack to all their attacks this round, where X is the number of your allies within Range 2 of you. 2 Experience, Round bonus, Loss. 

Ah, look! A bottom Loss ability!

Even with the maximum number of players, all in the ideal positions, this is a +3 bonus to everyone’s attacks this round. So it’s a 9 damage Loss card unless your allies do two attacks each on their turn, then it’d be an 18 damage ability. But that’s highly unlikely.

Overall Many as One card rating

For a level 9 card this isn’t great. The high initiative number is good if you want to go last in a round, but that’s about it. The double loss abilities force you to use it earlier in a scenario than you would other losses, reducing your stamina.

Phantasmal Killer

Initiative

67

Top ability

Augment – On your melee attacks: Consume Dark to Kill one normal target instead. Attack 2, 1 Experience. Persistent bonus. When another Augment is played, discard this card. 

Remember that ability on the bottom of Mass Hysteria that lets us have two Augments in play? Well, we may have just found a use for it! 

Of course, to do that, you’ll need to use up the loss on Mass Hysteria, and use up Phantasmal Killer too. But fortunately, you can save this until the last room thanks to the bottom repeatable ability. 

Up till now, we’ve only been able to Create Dark by using the bottom of Corrupting Embrace.  With Phantasmal Killer also creating Dark, we can now max out Dark Frenzy and Shared Nightmare more often. Until we get to the last room, that is. Then we’ll put this insta-kill Augment in play and it will eat all our Dark! 

Bottom ability

Move 2, Loot 1, Invisible, Self, Create Dark. 

We’re not going to move far with a Move 2, but we’ll at least move out of the way enough to use a ranged attack without penalty. Because we’ll likely still be in harm’s way, we can throw Invisibility on ourselves and stay safe. If we just happen to pick up some loot along the way too, fantastic! 

Overall Phantasmal Killer card rating

For a capstone card, it’s still not incredible, but it’s good enough. We get a repeatable Move 2 with extras and a nice insta-kill Augment to use in the last room. 

Level 9 Mindthief build

What to pick up

Phantasmal Killer. 

What to drop

Empathetic Assault. We swap a Move 2 for a Move 2 and the Heal 2 is pretty weak at level 9. We will lose the Strengthen enhancement by replacing it, but by level 9 our attack modifier deck is pretty decent anyway. 

Level 9 Mindthief deck

Mindthief damage and stun build level 9 deck
Mindthief damage and stun build level 9 deck

So here we have our final deck. You’ll notice that this build starts off being a very melee damage heavy playstyle dodging in and out of range. Then as it levels, it becomes more balanced between melee and ranged attacks in exchange for some of that movement. 

Melee damage

  • Frigid Apparition (Top: Consume Ice for Stun, Bottom: Stun)
  • The Mind’s Weakness (Bottom: Wound)
  • Corrupting Embrace (Top: Poison, Muddle, Bottom: Poison, Create Dark)
  • Dark Frenzy (Top: Consume Ice for +2 Attack, 1 Exp, Consume Dark for +2 Attack, 1 Exp, Bottom: Create Ice.)
  • Phantasmal Killer (Top: Consume Dark to Kill one normal target instead, Bottom: Invisible, Self, Create Dark)

Debuffs

  • Perverse Edge (Bottom: Stun, Creates Ice)

Ranged damage

  • Hostile Takeover (Top: Immobilize, Create Ice)
  • Cranium Overload (Top: Insta-kill normal enemy)
  • Mass Hysteria (Top: Muddle, Create Ice)
  • Shared Nightmare (Top: Consume Dark for Poison and Curse. Create Ice, Bottom: Consume Ice for Shield 1 Self, 1 Exp)

Mindthief Perks

Gloomhaven Mindthief Perks
Gloomhaven Mindthief Perks

As with all the Gloomhaven classes, it generally makes sense to improve your attack modifier deck as the first thing you do with your perks. So take all of those improvements first. Ideally, remove all the negatives as much as you can to make your damage output more predictable. 

Then add in the pluses. After those, add the ignore negative scenario effects perk before you thin your deck out. Those Curses will be more noticeable in a thinner deck! 

Then remove the +0s to increase the likelihood of flipping the good cards. 

Then you’re ready to add in the rolling plus modifiers. 

After that, take Stun because it aligns the best with our build. Then take the rest of the modifier perks in whatever order you think. 

Personally, I think Muddle is more useful than Immobilize, because enemy disadvantage is always useful, whereas immobilize is a bit rubbish against ranged enemies. The same with Pull bonuses. It can be helpful or it can be downright dangerous, depending on the situation. 

  1. Remove two -1 cards
  2. Remove two -1 cards
  3. Replace one -2 card with one +0 card
  4. Replace two +1 cards with two +2 cards
  5. Add one +2, Create Ice card
  6. Add one +2, Create Ice card
  7. Ignore negative scenario effects
  8. Remove four +0 cards
  9. Add two rolling +1 cards
  10. Add two rolling +1 cards
  11. Add one Stun card
  12. Add three Muddle cards
  13. Add one Disarm and one Muddle card
  14. Add two Immobilize cards
  15. Add three Pull 1 cards

Mindthief Items

Mindthief damage stun build starting items
Mindthief damage stun build starting items

These are the Mindthief starting items I’d recommend for this build. I’ve not mentioned any items above starting level because I don’t want to spoil anything. 

Boots of Striding

During your next movement, add +2 Move to a single movement. Spent.

Every class likes to have some extra movement so you may not get these in a large group. But you can at least make the case that you’re a squishy melee character so they can really help you to get away if you’re in the danger zone. 

Winged Shoes

During your movement, add Jump to the movement. Spent. 

Less versatile than the Boots of Striding and less necessary because we already have Jump on the bottom of Feedback Loop, but the Winged Shoes are super helpful at making the most of your movement. 

Minor Stamina Potion

During your turn, Recover up to two of your discarded cards. Consumed. 

Our hand limit of 10 is really 9 if you account for the Augment always being in play, so the Minor Stamina Potion is really handy for us. 

Minor Healing Potion

During your turn, perform a “Heal 3, Self” action. Consumed.

We have low and health and we’re in melee range a lot of the time. It’s a no-brainer to get one of these!

Poison dagger

During your melee attack, add Poison to a single attack. Spent.

The dagger is a nice way to easily add a negative condition to an enemy before using the top of Perverse Edge to get a +2 Attack bonus. 

Mindthief Enhancements

To get the best bang for your buck, you want to enhance the cards that are going to be with you for a long time and are pretty cheap to enhance. I prefer to enhance only cards that stay with my until level 9 and apply the enhancements to reusable abilities so I see the benefit multiple times per scenario. There is one exception to this that I make for the Mindthief though… 

Strengthen on Empathetic Assault Heal

50 gold

This card is going to be with you until the end of level 8 so you’re going to get plenty of use from it. At the early levels when your modifier deck is pretty unpredictable, you’ll be thankful for the advantage on your attack. 

+1 Range on Perverse Edge bottom

30 gold

Perverse Edge is a card that you put in your hand at level 1 and it stays there forever. This additional +1 range will come in so useful, you’ll wonder how anyone copes with a measly Range 2. 

Poison on Perverse Edge bottom

150 gold

This is an enhancement for later levels when you have more money! The Attack 1 on Perverse Edge will serve you fine at lower levels, but later on, you’re going to need something with a bit more oomph! I’d suggest adding Poison rather than +1 attack because it will give everyone in your party a +1 to their attacks and will help everyone deal with shielded enemies. 

It’s also not a melee attack so you won’t benefit from The Mind’s Weakness boosts on it. 

It’s pricey because you’ve already enhanced this ability once with increased range. So there’s an extra 75 gold to pay. 

+1 Attack on Frigid Apparition top

50 gold

This level X will be with you from level 1 to 9 so boost it up. Because this is a melee attack, when you have The Mind’s Weakness in play it goes from an Attack 3 to an Attack 5. With a cheap +1 Attack enhancement you’ve now got a repeatable Attack 6 with the potential to stun when you consume Ice. Now that’s powerful. 

Wound on Hostile Takeover top

100 gold

Given that this Immobilize ranged ability will be used on melee enemies that you want to keep out of the way for a while so you can deal with other bad guys, Wound is a good fit. After you attack them, not only are they Immobilized, but they are also taking damage each turn, leaving them with less health remaining by the time they reach you. 

Mindthief Experience

The Mindthief levels up really quickly thanks to her having plenty of experience points on non-loss cards. 

In my group, the Mindthief easily scoops up experience and levels very quickly. It’s not uncommon for her to gain 15 experience points in a scenario without even focussing on experience giving abilities. 

Mindthief Combos

The combos you have available will vary depending on the cards you choose and the level you’re at. But here are some that I enjoy using. 

Boosting Perverse Edge (level 4 deck)

Turn 1

Go late in the round with the 79 initiative from Feedback Loop to minimize damage risk.

  1. Use the top of Hostile Takeover to Immobilize your target
  2. Use the bottom of Feedback Loop to Move 4 with Jump and Muddle all enemies moved through

Turn 2

Go early in the round with the 05 initiative on Cranium Overload.

  1. Use the top of Perverse Edge for a boosted The Mind’s Weakness melee attack of 5, further boosted by the two negative conditions on your target for a total attack value of 9! 
  2. Use the bottom of Cranium overload to Move 5 away from the front lines

Maximizing Dark Frenzy (level 9 deck)

Turn 1

Use the 09 initiative on Hostile Takeover to go early in the round and pick your target. 

  1. Use the top ranged attack on Hostile Takeover to Immobilize your target
  2. Use the bottom of Phantasmal Killer to Move 2 to get next to your target, Loot, make yourself Invisible (and safe!) and Create Dark.

Turn 2

Use the 10 initiative on Dark Frenzy to go early in the round. 

  1. Use the top of Dark Frenzy and do your boosted melee attack that consumes Ice and Dark for an 8 damage. 
  2. Use the bottom of Corrupting Embrace to run through your target (and other bad guys if you can) to inflict Poison on them as you move out of melee range. 

Mindthief Names

As a mind-controlling, rodent-like, melee damage dealer with ice, dark and stun effects there are some fun names you can create for her. Here are a few ideas I came up with before settling on my character name. 

  • Skitter Gun
  • Skag Icehold
  • Leera Sneer
  • Ratta Kin
  • Flitter Rask
  • Kontra Will
  • Kur Knock 
  • Black Edge
  • Fright Snap
  • Skum Ve-Em

Conclusion – Gloomhaven Mindthief Stunning Damage build

The Mindthief is perhaps the most complicated starting character to play in Gloomhaven, but she is super fun too. 

In this build the importance of movement and initiative in staying on your toes and dodging melee attacks makes you feel like the scurrying vermling that you’re playing as. 

As you level, you’ll shift from mostly melee attacks, to more of a balanced mix of melee and ranged attacks allowing you to prepare the fight before you enter melee range or deal a ranged pop shot after you’ve scurried away! 

I hope you have as much fun playing the Mindthief as I did!

If you love Gloomhaven as much as I do, you might want to check out this 3D scenery set on Amazon designed especially to hold the Gloomhaven tokens. For other upgrade ideas, check out my Gloomhaven upgrades article

I’ve created build guides for all the Gloomhaven starting characters. If you enjoyed this Mindthief guide, check them out – ranged build guide for the Cragheart, tank build Brute guideTinkerer crowd control build guide and Spellweaver AoE guide.

More Gloomhaven articles

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Emily Sargeantson
Hi there, I’m Emily. I’ve loved tabletop games since 2008 when I was introduced to D&D. I started My Kind of Meeple to nerd out about tabletop!