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Gloomhaven Angry Face Guide – Build & Strategy – Locked Class

The Gloomhaven Doomstalker (aka Angry Face) is a ranger class from the unlockable classes. They specialize in ranged damage and have a unique ability called Dooms which allows them to mark monsters to get bonuses. This Doomstalker guide focuses on the Expose build and strategy.

Doomstalker Expose Build Guide Structure

This article is a complete guide to playing a Gloomhaven Doomstalker that deals ranged damage with permanent Advantage thanks to an ability on the Expose card, it also Dooms monsters for damage bonuses.

This guide covers all levels from 1-9 and evaluates each card for how well it fits with this build and then chooses the deck for that level.


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This Doomstalker guide follows this structure:

  • Why a Doomstalker Expose build?
  • Doomstalker Expose strategy
  • Level 1-9 cards and decks
  • Doomstalker Perks
  • Doomstalker Items
  • Doomstalker Enhancements
  • Doomstalker Experience
  • Doomstalker Combos
  • Doomstalker Names
  • Conclusion
Gloomhaven Doomstalker class miniature and character board
Gloomhaven Doomstalker class miniature and character board

Why a Doomstalker Expose build?

When we first got Gloomhaven, we dived in and opened all the mini boxes just to see the sculpts! Finding a ranger class, I was super excited and chose to play as the Doomstalker. My friends all picked their characters too.

As we got ready to play our first ‘training’ scenario we read the rules and realized that all our characters were locked classes! Oops! We put them all back in their boxes and chose starting classes instead! We also read the rules incredibly carefully before doing anything else!

Several months later, I finally got to play the Doomstalker!

Now that I’ve played as them, I’ve realized there are three main ways this class can be played.

Summoner build

With this build, you can embrace the ranger archetype that runs around with multiple animal pets. The biggest drawback is that while you can support your summons with Dooms that give them bonuses, you only have access to one summon controlling ability – and you don’t get it until level 5. The only way you can heal them is via a Doom at level 6.

The summoner build is possible and I’m sure lots of fun, but I think it’d be more difficult to make work than the Expose build.

Efficient-Doom build

This build takes advantage of a couple of mechanics – transferring Dooms from one monster to another and having two Dooms on a monster at any one time. Multiple Dooms are only possible after level 5 thanks to the ability on Inescapable Fate. Moving multiple Dooms from one monster to another is available at level 8.

So this build is a late bloomer, but if you start playing your Doomstalker at a higher level, then you may not have to wait to try this build out!

Expose build

The Expose build is the standard build for the Doomstalker, and it’s the build I played. It’s a damage-focused build which uses the Expose card in every scenario.

The level 2 Expose card top ability gives us Advantage every turn when we target a Doomed monster. And we always want to be targetting Doomed monsters! So it’s the perfect match!

I chose to play as the Expose build because the summons looked like they would be difficult to control and I enjoy playing ranged damage. I also wasn’t aware of the Efficient-Doom build option until I’d played the class to level 9 and properly considered all the cards. On another run with this Doomstalker, I’d like to try that one out.

Doomstalker Strategy for Expose build

Here are a few strategies and tips that you may find helpful when playing your Expose Doomstalker.

Doom rules

The Doomstalker has a special type of ability called ‘Doom’. It works like a hunter’s mark. You identify the monster you’re going to target by placing a Doom token on them and you get a bonus either during the hit, or when the monster is eliminated.

Dooms have no range limits or line of sight requirements so you can apply them to any revealed monsters!

Doom tokens are removed according to their ability instructions. 90% of the time this is when the monster is defeated or you play another Doom ability.

Dooms take an action to apply. So they need to be worth your investment in playing them. Fortunately, they all appear on the lower half of cards and this is a ranged damage build, so we have something useful to do on turns when we don’t need to move!

Always target Doomed monsters

This is central to playing the Doomstalker because you get so many bonuses for targeting Doomed monsters. But it’s even more important with the Expose build. Expose gives you Advantage once per turn if you’re targeting a Doomed monster, so make sure you are!

Short rests

We have a reasonably large hand size and not very many great cards at early levels so a short rest can help us to get the decent cards back so we can play them again! This means you don’t need to play every card in your hand before you rest again, especially if the couple you have left aren’t great cards! Might as well rest. You’ll come back refreshed and stronger than ever!

Make big moves

As a ranged class, we spend our time hanging out at the back targetting monsters from afar and then running forward when they have gone. That means, we don’t need to move all taht often, but when we do, we want to move a decent distance.

To do that, we need to make sure we have large Move abilities. Unfortunately, at early levels, we have very few high move abilities. And those that we do have are on the bottom half of cards with top ranged damage abilities that we want to use instead!

This does get better as we level and get higher Move card options, but in the meantime, some Boots of Striding will help hugely!

Doomstalker Expose build card analysis

All the cards in Gloomhaven can be considered good or bad depending on loads of factors such as: party composition, build type, and situation.

For the Expose build I was looking for cards which offered:

  • Ranged damage
  • Damage-focused Doom abilities
  • Reusable abilities
  • High Moves

Because the Expose card is a persistent loss which I played in the first turn of a scenario, it reduced my turns before exhaustion even with a 12 card hand limit. So it was important that I didn’t take too many loss abilities into each scenario to balance out its use.

Doomstalker cards

There are 31 cards in the Doomstalker deck from level 1 to 9. Our hand limit of 12 is large, giving us more turns than your average Gloomhaven class. However, because we play Expose on turn one and leave it in play, we can read that hand limit as 11 really. Still pretty high.

The cards have a good mix of ranged abilities, summons, and Dooms which can deal damage, crowd control or support. There are even a few traps in there, which is to be expected of a ranger style class.

Level 1 Doomstalker cards

We can just grab the starting 12 cards and go play. Which I do like to do sometimes just to get a feel for the class and see the potential playstyle options. But how well to these cards fit with the Doomstalker Expose build?

A Moment’s Peace

Level 1 Doomstalker card A Moment's Peace
Level 1 Doomstalker card A Moment’s Peace

Top ability

I’m usually not a huge fan of loot abilities because they mean we can’t deal damage or move which the two things we really want to be doing most of the time. However, because this loot is in the top position of the card it means we can move with a lower action on another card to get the ideal position for looting.

Bottom ability

A nice little move and heal. It’s made better because that Heal 2 can be applied to ourselves and it has that magical enhancement slot! You know what that means? It’s perfect for a Bless enhancement! Then we’ll be drawing double damage frequently!

With an Enhancement even when we’re not using the heal for the hit point top up, we can still make use of it.

Overall A Moment’s Peace card rating

The 88 initiative gives us a nice late turn option and the top and bottom actions are both highly usable. Solid card.

Crippling Noose

Level 1 Doomstalker card Crippling Noose
Level 1 Doomstalker card Crippling Noose

Top ability

A trap that deals 4 damage and Stuns a monster for a turn is an expensive loss. Plus, like all traps, you need to wait until it’s triggered to actually do anything and it comes with additional requirements to use it.

You will need an ally who can make sure a monster triggers it. It would suck to play a trap for a loss and it never get triggered!

Bottom ability

This Doom isn’t one of the best for our damage-focused Expose build. I can see it being useful for a Summoner build if you want to stop a monster from reaching a summon or to reduce how quickly they take down their hp.

Overall Crippling Noose card rating

Not a great for our Expose build, but could be a good option for a summoner build because of the bottom Doom.

Detonation

Level 1 Doomstalker card Detonation

Top ability

Another loss trap. This one has the potential to do a little AoE direct damage but it still needs a turn to play it and a turn (and potentially another action) to trigger it.

Not great.

Bottom ability

This Doom is pretty sweet. We get better AoE damage than the top trap ability offers and it’s reusable! Because the damage is direct, it’s fabulous for getting through pesky Shields and it’s amazing when paired with the top of Frightening Curse. (find out why soon!)

Overall Detonation card rating

The top loss trap isn’t great value, but the bottom Doom is pretty good. The 54 initiative doesn’t guarantee that we’ll go early or late so it’s not amazing. But we can always pair it with another card with the initiative we want.

Felling Swoop

Level 1 Doomstalker card Felling Swoop
Level 1 Doomstalker card Felling Swoop

Top ability

Keee-arr! Our first summon option. Summons in general don’t align with the Expose build but obviously if you’re playing the summoner then the Hawk is one of three available at level 1.

As a summons go, the hawk won’t last very long with a hp of only 3 and melee based damage. If it only survives one hit and manages to hit once itself you’re looking at 3 damage for a loss card. That’s not great value.

Bottom ability

This trading places Doom is pretty cool. Because we hang out at the back until a room is clear and then move forward, this Doom is perfect for us. We can place the Doom token on a monster when a room is almost clear, then as soon as they are defeated we catch up with our frontline teammates ready for the next room. Whoosh!

Overall Felling Swoop card rating

The bottom Doom is essentially a large reusable move with no movement cap. That’s pretty sweet! No use for the top summon though.

Foot Snare

Level 1 Doomstalker card Foot Snare
Level 1 Doomstalker card Foot Snare

Top ability

At first glance, this trap looks quite appealing because it’s reusable. However during gameplay, we aren’t near the monsters most of the time. Which means creating a trap in a hex adjacent to us makes it highly unlikely to be triggered!

Bottom ability

The Move 3 alone is welcome. But the Immobilize makes it a bit more versatile. If there’s a monster in our face, we can stick them in place and scoot away!

Overall Foot Snare card rating

The bottom ability is far more useful for our build. Our lack of reusable abilities at level 1 makes this card a good choice.

Frightening Curse

Level 1 Doomstalker card Frightening Curse

Top ability

Given that we want to make sure our targets always have a Doom token on them, an ability that automatically moves a Doom token onto another monster when our target is removed, is awesome! It saves us a card and an action in reapplying a Doom!

See Frightening Curse like a chain reaction card. It passes the Doom onto another monster. When paired with Detonation, it works incredibly well!

The Detonation Doom causes 3 damage to any adjacent monsters when the Doomed monster is eliminated. Combined with the top of Frightening Curse, the Doom then jumps onto the next monster and causes another Area of Effect splash when it goes. Splash, splash, splash!

Bottom ability

This Doom doesn’t help us deal more damage so it’s not really aligned with the primary focus of this build. However, we do lack movement and this can be the answer to getting monsters in range without us needing to move!

It could also be useful for a summoner build so you can shift those monsters away from your squishy animal friends and make them target a tougher ally instead!

Overall Frightening Curse card rating

The top ability is interesting and would be worthwhile having in our hand until the last room if the bottom ability was good. But it’s not a good fit for us.

Multi-Pronged Assault

Level 1 Doomstalker card Multi-Pronged Assault
Level 1 Doomstalker card Multi-Pronged Assault

Top ability

Our first ranged damage ability! But it’s another loss! The Doomstalker has so many losses and Dooms at level 1!

Well, is this loss worth it?

We get 8 damage across 2 targets and it’s ranged. So that’s quite nice at level 1. Plus, one of the targets might have a Doom token on it which boosts the damage you deal to them.

I’d prefer to see that 8 damage on a single target though.

Bottom ability

A +1 to all damage dealt by all allies is like having Poison on the target. How much extra damage your party benefits from depends a lot on how many allies you have.

If you’re in a 2 player or 3 player group without any summons, it’s less useful. However, if you’re in a 4 player party or if you’re running the summoner build, this Doom can add up to a lot of extra damage.

Overall Multi-Pronged Assault card rating

Zoom! Look at that 14 initiative, the fastest we’ve come across so far. But we do have other faster cards coming up at level 1. Whether or not to include this card in your hand depends on if your party is large enough to benefit from the Doom and if you think the top loss is worth it for you.

Race to the Grave

Level 1 Doomstalker card Race to the Grave
Level 1 Doomstalker card Race to the Grave

Top ability

This has slightly higher single-target damage than the previous top loss we just looked at. But overall, we’re doing 3 fewer damage. 5 damage for a loss is really expensive, even with the 5 range. The 2 experience doesn’t make it much more tempting!

Bottom ability

Here’s our level 1 workhorse Doom! That 2 damage is direct so it’s perfect for getting through shielded monsters. It’s like having a 2 damage Wound on a monster, but it can’t be removed through healing!

What’s extra awesome is that because we have no range limits on Dooms we can throw this onto a Boss as soon as we enter the room if we like! We’ll not gain the Expose Advantage if we do, but it might just be worth it, depending on the scenario.

Unlike our other Dooms, this 2 damage happens every turn without us having to eliminate a monster or deal damage to it. It’s nice that we can set it and forget it.

Overall Race to the Grave card rating

The 09 Single digit initiative is ace! The bottom Doom ability is really great too. The top ability isn’t worth it!

Rain of Arrows

Level 1 Doomstalker card Rain of Arrows
Level 1 Doomstalker card Rain of Arrows

Top ability

With those 4 pips this is effectively an 8 damage loss. But with only 2 damage being dealt each time, it’s not going to do a good amount of burst damage to help reduce monster hp. Plus, we have to wait for that damage to be realized because it only happens when a Doomed monster is defeated.

So it’s slow and quite weak.

Bottom ability

This Doom is our second best at level 1, +2 to all damage is awesome! We want this in play as often as we can!

Overall Rain of Arrows card rating

The Doom is ace! The top is meh, but that doesn’t matter because we’ll always be playing it for the bottom. 33 initiative is on the slower side for us but only because we’re spoiled with lots of fast card options!

 

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Solid Bow

Level 1 Doomstalker card Solid Bow
Level 1 Doomstalker card Solid Bow

Top ability

We need some basic reusable damage-dealing abilities and finally we have one! Abilities like this in the top slot are exactly what we want to pair with the bottom Dooms or Moves.

We get a 5 range which helps us reach Doomed monsters and also means we have to Move less frequently to get them in range.

The 3 damage isn’t amazing, but it’s not terrible at level 1. And when targetting a monster Doomed by Rain of Arrows, that 3 becomes a 5.

Bottom ability

The highest reusable Move we’re found so far. It helps us to catch up with our companions when we’re ready for the next monster group or room.

Overall Solid Bow card rating

A solid reusable card with a decent top and bottom that we can always find a use for.

Swift Trickery

Level 1 Doomstalker card Swift Trickery
Level 1 Doomstalker card Swift Trickery

Top ability

Another reusable ranged ability that says it’s 2 damage, but in reality it’ll always be 4 because we always want to target Doomed monsters with it! Wonderful non-loss ability that I used frequently!

Bottom ability

Move 5 gets us dashing across a room in a blink! We’ll use it far less often than the top ability but it’s still nice to have as an option.

Overall Swift Trickery card rating

A double reusable ability card with 11 initiative. What’s not to love?

Vital Charge

Level 1 Doomstalker card Vital Charge
Level 1 Doomstalker card Vital Charge

Top ability

Our meat shield summon. It’s not aligned with our damage build, but if you’re playing a summoner, then having a summon that can absorb some hits for your team is going to help of course.

At level 1 this chunky boar will last 2, maybe 3 hits before it’s done.

Bottom ability

We don’t often need healing as we keep ourselves well away from monsters so a heal 4 when a monster is done isn’t really needed. If we really need to heal, we can use the Heal 2 on the bottom of A Moment’s Peace.

Overall Vital Charge card rating

Not a good fit for our Expose build.

Level X Doomstalker cards

At level 1 we can also put the level X cards into our hand. Let’s see what they have to offer!

Doomstalker level X cards - Fresh Kill, Sap Life, and the Hunt Begins
Doomstalker level X cards – Fresh Kill, Sap Life, and the Hunt Begins

Fresh Kill

Top ability

Wahoo! Another reusable ranged ability! We just need to make sure we’re going after an undamaged monster with it to get the 2 damage and experience bonus. No problem! We’ll use this when we first enter a room or are shifting our focus onto a new target.

It doesn’t play as well with AoE allies because they tend to scatter their damage across a big area, but even then, I usually found some poor monster I could use this on!

Bottom ability

Move 3 is quite a low movement to have a Jump ability on. But it’s always helpful to have access to a Jump in case we need to get around traps or obstacles.

Overall Fresh Kill card rating

Another double-reusable ability card which we really need to balance out all the Dooms and top losses that we carry! The 65 initiative means that we need to pair this with a faster card, especially because we want to get that 2 damage bonus for hitting an undamaged target. We need to get in there before our allies do!

Sap Life

Top ability

Retaliate is not something we want. First, Retaliate has the issue that we need to take damage to deal damage. Secondly, we’re unlikely to be the focus of monster damage so even if we use this ability, they are not likely to hit us anyway.

The only very situational occasion when we might want to use this top loss is if a ranged monster takes a liking to us because all our allies aren’t drawing their attention for some reason. But it’s not worth carrying around just for that.

Bottom ability

Just like the Doom on the bottom of Vital Charge, we don’t need this healing bonus.

Overall Sap Life card rating

The abilities on Sap Life don’t bring anything helpful to the Expose build.

The Hunt Begins

Top ability

Another summon which we don’t want as an Expose Doomstalker. It’ll survive two or three hits and ideally you’d want it to hand out Wounds to three different monsters in its time. But because of the monster AI, that probably won’t happen! They’ll just hit the same monster 3 times.

Bottom ability

Because we’re not playing a summoner build, the effectiveness of this Doom is limited. Even if we’re playing with allies with summons, it’ll probably still be ineffective. Unless your ally is able to keep summons alive for a long time and make sure they are always targetting the Doomed monster. Only a couple of classes come to mind that can do that consistently.

Overall The Hunt Begins card rating

A good card option for a summoner build, but not for us.

Level 1 Doomstalker build

With this build we’re looking for damage focused abilities and a decent amount of reusables to balance out the Doom cards. We also want some good ideally high Moves so we can catch up to our allies when the monsters have been cleared.

Thanks to the card choices we have on offer, the level 1 deck is not great in terms of reusable abilities and movement. But it gets better as we level!

Due to bad options Crippling Nose makes it into our deck. But it won’t be there for long!

Level 1 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build Level 1 Deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build Level 1 Deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Crippling Noose
  • Detonation
  • Felling Swoop
  • Foot Snare
  • Frightening Curse
  • Multi-Pronged Assault
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Solid Bow
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 2 Doomstalker cards

Level 2 Doomstalker cards - Expose and Relentless Offensive
Level 2 Doomstalker cards – Expose and Relentless Offensive

Expose

Top ability

It’s here! Expose! The card that makes this build. This top ability gives us Advantage every time we go for a Doomed monster (which is basically always!). Result!

I played this at the beginning of almost every rest cycle and loved it! It’s awesome how the additional damage points from having advantage of return add up throughout a scenario. Sometimes, that difference in damage value can be the difference between removing a monster from the board on that turn or the next one.

I kind of forgot that monsters don’t gain anything from Invisible while this is in play because it didn’t come up very often.

Bottom ability

This Doom gives us an alternative to Race to the Grave which we can use for dealing with shielded monsters. Very occasionally it was worth it for me to play this Doom over the top of this card, but only on scenarios swarming with shielded and high-health monsters.

Overall Expose card rating

To top it all off, we get a quick initiative of 13! Although, I didn’t really benefit from it because I typically played the top ability of Expose plus a Doom into play on turn one and therefore didn’t need to go quickly.

Relentless Offensive

Top ability

Great to see another reusable damage dealer option. We do need more of those! The 2 damage across to monsters is ok, especially because we may gain damage bonuses from Dooms on those monsters.

Bottom ability

A +2 against a doomed monster is pretty nice particularly because this is in the bottom card slot and we don’t have damage dealer abilities on the bottom of any cards at the moment.

Overall Relentless Offensive card rating

Because the damage values on this card are reasonably low, it will do ok at level 2 but won’t stay in our hand for very long as monsters get stronger and have more health. The 52 initiative isn’t great either.

Level 2 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Expose of course! It’s what this build is all about!

What to drop

I dropped Crippling Noose here, because the Doom doesn’t help us deal damage, and the top loss trap is poor value.

Level 2 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 2 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 2 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Detonation
  • Felling Swoop
  • Foot Snare
  • Frightening Curse
  • Multi-Pronged Assault
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Solid Bow
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 3 Doomstalker cards

Level 3 Doomstalker cards - Darkened Skies and Press the Attack
Level 3 Doomstalker cards – Darkened Skies and Press the Attack

Darkened Skies

Top ability

Woah! This AoE is huge!

It’s unlikely to take out any monsters because unboosted it will only do 3 damage to each one and that damage will look even less powerful at level 9. But even so, that’s a lot of potential targets. If you’re playing in a 4 player group at least. In two-player groups, there are fewer monsters on the board so it has less potential.

This is a loss worth considering though!

Bottom ability

This Doom gives us a nice multi-target bonus damage action when the monster is eliminated! A bonus six damage is sweet.

Overall Darkened Skies card rating

A lovely area of effect that can hit lots of things is fun to use, and there’s a decent Doom on the bottom to use in the meantime. The 25 initiative is pretty quick too!

Press the Attack

Top ability

Another reusable ranged ability that we really, really need to make the most use of the persistent Expose effect. There’s no point in us having an ability that gives us Advantage if we hardly ever hit anything!

5 damage on a single target that we can reuse is amazing. At level 1, Race to the Grave gives us a 5 damage, 5 range ability but we have to lose the card to use it!

Bottom ability

The Retaliate isn’t a good fit for our build – we aren’t near the monsters for them to hit us in the first place.

Overall Press the Attack rating

Ten initiative is super quick! Perfect for going first in a round. Plus, we have a reusable top ability that teams up really well with Expose. The bottom doesn’t work well with our build, but that doesn’t mater because we’ll use the top anyway!

Level 3 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Both cards are excellent. It’s our toughest choice so far. I picked up Press the Attack in the end because I wanted as many cards to synergize with Expose as I could get and we need more reusables to balance out all the losses and Dooms!

Darkened Skies is a good card but you can get a similar AoE effect with the Frightening Curse and Detonation chain combo.

What to drop

I really wanted to drop Felling Swoop here! I found it hard trying to get the timing right on the ‘swap positions with an eliminated monster’ ability so sometimes I ended up in the middle of a bunch of monsters! But, I really needed the movement because our decent moves are on the bottom of our reusable damage cards! So I kept it a bit longer.

Instead, I dropped Multi-Pronged Assault. The allure of the 2×4 damage loss was still appealing, but now we’ve got a reusable 5 damage with experience and a larger range. We also have plenty of Dooms in our hand so while the +1 for all allies was good, it usually only meant 3 extra damage before that monster was finished.

Level 3 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 3 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 3 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Detonation
  • Felling Swoop
  • Foot Snare
  • Frightening Curse
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Solid Bow
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 4 Doomstalker cards

Level 4 Doomstalker cards - Flight of Flame and Singular Force
Level 4 Doomstalker cards – Flight of Flame and Singular Force

Flight of Flame

Top ability

This trap isn’t the worst. It’s reusable so it doesn’t need to work as hard as a loss trap would to justify itself. At level 4, the 2 damage looks quite weak and with Wound we’re only going to get 1 additional damage per monster turn so it’s not the most impactful damage-wise. However, it’s okay at getting through shielded monsters.

The worst thing about it is that we have to create it in an adjacent hex. Because we tend to be nowhere near the monsters, it could be tricky triggering the trap!

Bottom ability

Finally! A big reusable Move that’s not on the opposite side of the card to a reusable damage ability. That’s something we definitely need!

Always good to see Jump on a high movement ability because we can skip through a room unimpeded! Perfect for running from the back of the room to our teammates when the monsters are gone.

Overall Flight of Flame card rating

We’re really lacking good movement abilities, and this Move 5 with Jump is just the solution we need! The top trap ability is only average so we won’t miss it by playing the bottom.

Singular Force

Top ability

The amount of Loot you can sweep up with a 2 hex range is pretty amazing! So it’s worth the loss if you want to get rich! Use it in the last room though, so you don’t take a hit to the number of rounds you can last in a scenario by losing a card early on.

Bottom ability

Expose for everyone! Sounds great, right? It is! But unlike Expose, it’s not persistent. So you’ll play it on a monster and after 1 round they’ll likely be gone.

To be honest, in my group, monsters I Doomed didn’t last longer than a round even without my teammates having Advantage! So it’s a nice Doom to have, but I didn’t think it was essential.

Overall Singular Force card rating

A pretty good card. It’s got a decent loss to get us gold on the top, a Doom that increases team damage and a 28 initiative.

Level 4 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Flight of Flame. We need that high reusable movement!

What to drop

Foot Snare. We only had in our hand for so long because we needed the Move 3 and Flight of Flame is like an upgrade.

Level 4 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 4 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 4 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Detonation
  • Felling Swoop
  • Flight of Flame
  • Frightening Curse
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Solid Bow
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 5 Doomstalker cards

Level 5 Doomstalker cards - Inescapable Fate and Wild Command
Level 5 Doomstalker cards – Inescapable Fate and Wild Command

Inescapable Fate

Top ability

On the face of it, two active Dooms on the same target sounds wonderful! But in reality, we’re playing Expose as a persistent loss early in every scenario. We can’t really afford to play Expose and Inescapable Fate as well. Plus, we don’t really need 2 Dooms on a target. They don’t stay around very long anyway!

With another build no using a persistent loss already, Inescapable Fate is a great card to pick up!

Bottom ability

This Doom doesn’t play nicely with our build. When we have Doomed a monster, we want to target them and benefit from our Expose advantage. Not Doom them and then wait for them to shuffle off after three turns.

We want them long gone way before three turns are up!

Overall Inescapable Fate card rating

Because we get monsters off the board quickly neither of these abilities work particularly well with our Expose build. The 97 initiative for going really late in a round is excellent though.

Wild Command

Top ability

As a non-summoning Doomstalker, we don’t have any use for this top ability. Even if we’re playing with an ally that has summons, their summon needs to be adjacent for us to use this.

Bottom ability

The ability that does 2 things we want! We can move and we can hit a monster in the same action. Fantastic!

The 2 damage looks paltry especially at level 5. But pair it with Rain of Arrows and you can add a +2 to that damage and with Expose we’re taking the highest modifier we flip. So this can easily be a 5 damage reusable bottom ability with no range!

Overall Wild Command card rating

The bottom ability adds a much needed damage dealer in the lower card slot and we get another Move which we also want. The top is useless to us, but we don’t want to use it anyway!

Level 5 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Wild Command. It helps us with our movement problem and we can deal more damage too!

What to drop

Felling Swoop. Thanks to the large Move 5, Jump we picked up at level 4, and our new Move 3 on Wild Command, we can live without the position swap ability we were using on Felling Swoop. (And now we don’t need to worry about getting the timing right on that position swap so we don’t end up surrounded by monsters!)

Level 5 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 5 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 5 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Detonation
  • Wild Command
  • Flight of Flame
  • Frightening Curse
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Solid Bow
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 6 Doomstalker cards

Level 6 Doomstalker cards - Camouflage and Nature's Hunger
Level 6 Doomstalker cards – Camouflage and Nature’s Hunger

Camouflage

Top ability

Yay! Another reusable damage dealer that gets along with Expose! This one comes with the bonus that we turn Invisible after using it. We can head up to the door and block it, stopping monsters from entering but taking a good look at what awaits us on the other side!

Bottom ability

Another Move! We’re being spoilt with this card! This one gives us some lovely Invisibility too.

It came in very helpful for those times when I wanted to use a Move to reposition, but it’d put me a little closer to the closest monster than I’d ideally like!

Overall Camouflage card rating

23 initiative is the icing on the cake for this versatile card! Having access to Invisibility on both halves is incredibly useful.

Nature’s Hunger

Top ability

This is not the Toad we are looking for.

Summons aren’t a good fit for us. But for a summoner build, this one isn’t too bad. It’ll stun anything it hits. So providing it hits the monsters first, it could survive for a decent while.

Bottom ability

As a support based action, this doesn’t match our build. Heals can also be unpredictable depending on when they are applied. Great if you need healing, wasted if you don’t!

Overall Nature’s Hunger card rating

Not a good match for us, but for a summoner, this card is pretty cool. A Giant Toad that stuns monsters and a heal that can heal your allies and summons when it’s triggered.

Level 6 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Camouflage.

What to drop

Frightening Curse. Our chain reaction Loss combo with Detonation was fine at lower levels to get out some AoE damage. But now that we have another reusable top ranged damage option, we can get 3 damage reliably throughout the scenario on every use, rather than waiting till the end of a scenario to use the top of Frightening Curse.

Plus, we don’t need to pseudo Move by moving the monsters 1 hex towards us anymore because we have several Move options in our hand now.

Level 6 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 6 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 6 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Detonation
  • Wild Command
  • Flight of Flame
  • Camouflage
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Solid Bow
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 7 Doomstalker cards

Level 7 Doomstalker cards - Crashing Wave and Impending End
Level 7 Doomstalker cards – Crashing Wave and Impending End

Crashing Wave

Top ability

As a ranged build, we’d need to use the Move 4 to get into melee range and get ourselves surrounded by monsters to do more damage and make the loss worth it. Just hitting one monster for 3 damage wouldn’t be very good value!

So not really an ideal ability for us.

Bottom ability

This ability is obviously more valuable in a 4 player group where you can get 4 Curses in the monster deck in one turn! If you are a summoner and your summons get a hit in, that’ even more Curses going in. That’s a lot of nulls being drawn by monsters soon!

It’s a damage-negation support action, not a damage focused Doom, but it’s a pretty powerful Doom all the same.

Overall Crashing Wave card rating

The 22 initiative is really quick! It’ll help you to put that Doom on a monster and get those Curses into the monster deck before the monster is eliminated! It’s not a bad card, just not as good a fit for our Expose build as the other card on offer.

Impending End

Top ability

4 damage reusable with a nice bonus that triggered sometimes for me. It usually happened on turns where I went a little later in the round so that the monster was already on lower health before I got to it! Quite a good strategy for using this ability!

It’s so nice to be able to deal 4 damage without needing the target to be Doomed (like on Swift Trickery) or undamaged (like on Fresh Kill).

Bottom ability

A pretty sweet +3 damage. But why would you use it when you get 4 damage and a potential bonus by using the top?

Overall Impending End card rating

We finally have a decent reusable 4 damage top and a bonus damage bottom that we can use if we need to. The 47 initiative isn’t great but the card is still a solid choice.

Level 7 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Impending End.

What to drop

We’re bringing in another top reusable ranged damage ability so are there any we can replace with Impending End? Solid Bow consistently does the least damage of them and doesn’t come with any bonuses. So it makes it an obvious swap for us. We also won’t miss the bottom Move 4 because we weren’t using it anyway.

Solid Bow goes.

Level 7 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 7 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 7 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Detonation
  • Wild Command
  • Flight of Flame
  • Camouflage
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Impending End
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 8 Doomstalker cards

Level 8 Doomstalker cards - Feral Instincts and Rising Momentum
Level 8 Doomstalker cards – Feral Instincts and Rising Momentum

Feral Instincts

Top ability

Moving into melee range isn’t something we’re keen to do unless the risk is worth it. Putting ourselves at risk to deal 3 damage isn’t worth it. However, we don’t need to do every action on the card. So at least with the top action we can move into a good position to scoop up some loot!

This is a decent upgrade on the Loot 1 from the top of A Moment’s Peace.

Bottom ability

Like the bottom of A Moment’s Peace but with an extra Move 1 and an extra 2 healing. It’s fine, but we’re mainly using the bottom of A Moment’s Peace for the Bless enhancement, not the heal. So we don’t really need any extra healing.

Overall Feral Instincts card rating

A straight upgrade to A Moment’s Peace which would be perfect for us, if we haven’t enhanced the bottom of A Moment’s Peace with Bless! (Which is highly recommended!)

Rising Momentum

Top ability

If this ability said Target 2, rather than Push 3, I’d love it! But it doesn’t. Sigh.

We’re already doing 6 damage reasonably often. Heck, we’ve been able to do 6 damage since level 1 using Swift Trickery + Rain of Arrows Doom!

It makes this top loss look very underwhelming at level 8.

Bottom ability

Had we taken Inescapable Fate at level 5, this is the ability we’ve been waiting for! It allows us to have a Doom on a monster, then play this Doom as well and have our Doom just move from that monster straight onto another one.

We can then spend our turns Moving and dealing damage, rather than reapplying Dooms. It’s really efficient!

Overall Rising Momentum card rating

Fantastic if paired with Inescapable Fate. We even get 12 initiative to go super early on a turn!

Level 8 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

If you haven’t enhanced A Moment’s Peace with Bless, then you could swap it out for Feral Instincts and be pretty happy. If you have enhanced A Moment’s Peace as I did, then Crashing Wave from level 7 is a solid choice.

You could always pick up Feral Instincts and pay the 225 gold to get the Bless back on the Heal. I wasn’t that rich!

What to drop

Detonation. Although Detonation is damage-focused and Crashing Wave is negation-focused, the benefit for the party of monsters drawing Curses is huge. Plus, the 3 damage we get from Detonation isn’t as impressive at level 8 as it was at lower levels.

Level 8 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 8 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 8 deck cards
  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Crashing Wave
  • Wild Command
  • Flight of Flame
  • Camouflage
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Impending End
  • Swift Trickery
  • Fresh Kill

Level 9 Doomstalker cards

Level 9 Doomstalker cards - Lead to Slaughter and Predator and Prey
Level 9 Doomstalker cards – Lead to Slaughter and Predator and Prey

Lead to Slaughter

Top ability

4 damage on a level 9 card isn’t very exciting to be honest. We do get the 6 range and forced movement though, so we could use this to choose a tough monster, or a ranged monster and push it into the face of our tanking allies, or into a trap.

Bottom ability

For the build based on multiple Dooms and transferring them to additional targets, this ability is awesome! You can move the Dooms to another monster whenever you want to without waiting for them to be eliminated and you can move them to a target within range 4, rather than the range 2 from Rising Momentum.

For our Expose build, we only have 1 Doom active on a monster at any one time and usually we want to keep them on that monster until they’re gone, so this ability isn’t great for us.

Overall Lead to Slaughter card rating

A wonderful card for a multi Doom build!

Predator and Prey

Top ability

Sssuper sssummon! A ranged snakey friend that can hang out with us out of monster range and deal 3 extra damage plus Poison each turn. Poison is a wonderful addition giving our allies (and us) an extra +1 against the affected monster. That adds up to a lot of damage during a scenario.

Also, every time it hits a monster you get to flip a damage modifier for it turning that 3 damage into 4 or 5 reasonably often.

Spitting Cobra has 3 movement so it can keep up, a range of 3 to keep it out of the way so it should stay alive for a long time and it has 5 health which means it can take the odd hit and be ok.

Bottom ability

This Doom asks us to reduce our distance from the monsters to gain additional damage. It’s an ok idea, but to be honest, if we can consistently get 3 + damage and Poison every turn from our Spitting Cobra without risking ourselves to get it, then we’ll just use that!

Overall Predator and Prey card rating

A wonderful ranged summon! The late initiative also helps here because we can summon late in the round after the monsters have had their turn to keep it safe. Then it can slither into action on our next turn!

Level 9 Doomstalker build

What to pick up

Predator and Prey.

What to drop

Fresh Kill. It was easy meeting the undamaged bonus damage requirement before, but now we have a summon taking a turn before us, that becomes more difficult. We also want to keep our damage focused on the same monster as our snake whenever we can so the Poison works alongside our Doom, and Expose Advantage to increase our damage and pick the monster off quickly.

Level 9 Doomstalker deck

Doomstalker Expose Build level 9 deck cards
Doomstalker Expose Build level 9 deck cards

So here’s our final deck! Our movement issues and reusable damage ability problems of the early levels are long gone! We have a cool snake friend that increases our damage every turn without us having to do anything and we have 4 decent Dooms that we can use during our card cycles.

  • A Moment’s Peace
  • Expose
  • Crashing Wave
  • Wild Command
  • Flight of Flame
  • Camouflage
  • Press the Attack
  • Race to the Grave
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Impending End
  • Swift Trickery
  • Predator and Prey

Doomstalker Perks

Gloomhaven Doomstalker perks sheet
Gloomhaven Doomstalker perks sheet

The Doomstalker perks start off great. They focus on improving our modifier deck by getting the -1s out, and replacing our 0s with +1s.

After those, I took the ‘Ignore negative scenario effects’ perk because I can’t stand adding bad cards into my deck!

Then, I added Stun. It’s not a damage perk, but taking a monster out of action for a turn might save our allies 3 damage or more, which is more than the +2 damage we can deal with the next perk.

After that, I went for the +2 Muddle to increase the damage dealt on my turn.

Then +1 Poison. The Poison gives a +1 to our allies damage so when they’re going after me on a turn, we benefit from that additional damage on the same turn.

I took +1 Wound after Poison. We get the +1 immediately and if the monster is still around on the next turn we get an additional +1 without having to do anything.

Add target is a fun perk to flip and sometimes it pays off better than the +1 rolling modifiers so I chose to take it next. Because we only have a Doom on one target giving us damage bonuses, and the base damage on our abilities is actually quite low, we won’t get a huge damage bonus from add target (maybe +2 or +3 on our turn providing here’s another monster in range!).

Then I took the rolling +1s to do a little extra damage whenever I flipped them.

The lowest priority perk is Immobilize. Even if you do draw it, it’s likely not very useful if any of your teammates are targetting that monster anyway and hitting it at melee range.

  1. Remove two -1 cards
  2. Remove two -1 cards
  3. Replace two +0 cards with two +1 cards
  4. Replace two +0 cards with two +1 cards
  5. Replace two +0 cards with two +1 cards
  6. Ignore negative scenario effects
  7. Add one +0 Stun card
  8. Add one +2 Muddle card
  9. Add one +1 Poison card
  10. Add one +1 Wound card
  11. Add one rolling Add Target card
  12. Add one rolling Add Target card
  13. Add two rolling +1 cards
  14. Add two rolling +1 cards
  15. Add one +1 Immobilize card

Doomstalker Starting Items

Doomstalker starting items - Minor Stamina Potion, Boots of Striding, Cloak of Invisibility and Piercing Bow
Doomstalker starting items – Minor Stamina Potion, Boots of Striding, Cloak of Invisibility and Piercing Bow

To avoid any items spoilers, here are the Doomstalker starting items I recommend.

Minor Stamina Potion

10 gold

Not because we run out of stamina, but because when want particular cards back in our hand, we can get them back.

Boots of Striding

20 gold

At the early levels, our movement is pretty terrible because all our big moves are on the bottom of cards with good top abilities. So these boots are essential.

Cloak of Invisibility

20 gold

Turning Invisible can be helpful for when we need to use the ‘swap positions with a monster’ ability on the bottom of Felling Swoop to make sure we can hide from any nearby monsters! It’ll also get us out of harm’s way if monsters decide we look tasty! Not to mention that we can block doorways and peek into the next room without taking damage.

Piercing Bow

30 gold

Even though we have Race to the Grave which gives us 2 direct damage to monsters at the start of their turns, having something else that helps us get through Shields is a bonus. And we are a ranger after all – we need a bow!

Doomstalker Enhancements

We don’t pick up a huge amount of loot as the Doomstalker because we’re flying arrows into monsters from a distance. So we definitely want a good return on our enhancement investments. That means enhancing abilities that stay in our hand for a long time and are reusable.

Fortunately, the Doomstalker enhancements are pretty low cost.

+ Bless on the bottom of A Moment’s Peace

50 gold

The ‘heal self’ ability provides us with the perfect opportunity to get some Blesses into our deck! Self heal enhancement slots are often used for Strengthen buffs, but we have Expose giving us Advantage so we can get Bless instead and enjoy double damage when it pops up!

+1 damage on the top of Swift Trickery

50 gold

This card is in our hand from level 1 to level 9 and we use it a lot! The extra damage will serve you well and makes this a 5 damage non-loss ability we can use from level 1. Pretty sweet!

+1 damage on the top of Press the Attack

100 gold

Joining us at level 3, this is another ability that works hard for us right up until retirement. This +1 turns this ability into a reliable 6 damage we can do over and over again.

+1 damage on the bottom of Wild Command

150 gold

This enhancement is quite pricey. But if you’re a looting machine and have the gold, then why not treat yourself? It’ll enhance our only lower damage dealer which we use often.

+1 range to Swift Trickery and Press the Attack top

105 gold and 155 gold respectively (if applied after the +1 damage enhancements)

I personally found these enhancements to be too expensive. I just got used to playing at range 4. However, they are an option and can mean that you need to spend fewer actions on moves getting in range of monsters.

Doomstalker Experience

Gloomhaven Doomstalker class board with levels and hit points
Gloomhaven Doomstalker class board with levels and hit points

The Doomstalker levels at an average rate. One thing that’s a little frustrating about him is that the majority of his experience-giving abilities are losses. Fortunately, our reusable damage-dealers tend to give experience if the target is Doomed or undamaged. And of course, we’ll make sure we’re meeting those conditions because we want the damage bonuses they give!

Doomstalker Combos

I found that playing the Doomstalker was less about combos and more about pairing Dooms with reusable damage dealers so that you’re contributing on every turn.

Having said that I really enjoyed the Frightening Curse and Detonation combo!

Detonation (bottom) + Frightening Curse (bottom) (Level 1)

Our lovely AoE chain reaction combo!

We apply the AoE Doom from the bottom of Detonation that causes 3 damage to all adjacent monsters when that monster is defeated. But instead of removing the Doom token, we transfer it onto another monster within range 2 using the ability on Frightening Curse. We can transfer the Doom token 3 times. The 3 damage this does to all adjacent monsters adds up and hugely helps to weaken that monster cluster!

Turn 1

  • Lead with Frightening Curse’s 37 initiative to get the persistent loss in play and get the Doom applied reasonably early in the round.
  • Doom one monster in the middle of a group of monsters with the bottom of Detonation.

Turn 2

  • Use the top of Swift Trickery for 4 damage on the Doomed monster and help your teammates to defeat it, setting off the AoE chain!
  • Use the bottom of any other card.

Expose and Doom opening scenario sequence (Level 2)

This is an example of a typical opening sequence I used.

Turn 1

  • Lead with the 13 initiative on Expose to get the top persistent bonus into play.
  • Play the bottom of Foot Snare to Move into the best position.

Turn 2

  • Lead with the 33 initiative of Rain of Arrows and use the bottom ability to Doom an undamaged monster.
  • Target the Doomed monster with the top of Fresh Kill to gain the +2 undamaged monster bonus. Add on the +2 damage bonus from the Doom for 6 damage. Flip a modifier with Advantage from Expose and hopefully increase that damage even more!

Doomstalker Names

Our Orchid Doomstalker is a thoughtful, hard-working ranger with a connection to animals and an impressive talent with a bow. They live for thousands of years and are covered in crystals that have formed on their skin during years spent in meditation. With these attributes in mind, my Doomstalker was called Ever Blue.

Here are some more Doomstalker names to inspire you!

  • Gaze Bolt
  • Era Night
  • Garnet Flight
  • Quartz Eye
  • Lego More
  • Jasper Opal
  • Obsidian Quiver
  • Am Ethyst
  • Geo Life
  • Jet Lodestone

Conclusion – Gloomhaven Doomstalker Guide – Expose Build

I loved playing as my Expose Doomstalker! Ranger classes are some of my favourites to play as in RPGs and the Doomstalker was just as fun as I’d hoped! Getting the awesome Cobra summon at level 9 completed my Doomstalker for me because I love my rangers to have a pet!

Applying the hunter’s mark style Dooms to monsters never got old, and I loved seeing all the little extra bits of damage add up!

The Doomstalker class is a firm favourite of mine and I’d gladly play it again!

I’m currently creating guides for all the locked classes! If you enjoyed this Doomstalker guide, check them out! Listed here by their code names, I’ve completed: a Triforce class guide, a Two Minis guide, an Eclipse / Moon guide, a Sun guide, a Three Spears guide, a Circles guide, a Lightning Bolt guide, a Cthulhu guide, and a Music Note guide.

I’ve created build guides for all the Gloomhaven starting characters – ranged build guide for the Cragheart, tank build Brute guide, Tinkerer crowd control build guide, Mindthief damage and stun guide, Spellweaver AoE guide and a Scoundrel single target poison build guide.

If you enjoy Gloomhaven as much as I do, it’s natural to want to upgrade it to improve your gaming experience. I especially like these cards sleeves and this organizer insert on Amazon, and this incredible 3D 108 piece custom Gloomhaven scenery set   on Etsy! Seriously, go check it out!

For more upgrade ideas, check out my article 15 Awesome Gloomhaven Accessories and Upgrades.

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Emily
Hi, I’m Emily, the tabletop gamer behind My Kind of Meeple. If this article helped you, I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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Gloomhaven Circles Guide - Build & Strategy - Locked Class
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