Gloomhaven Tinkerer Guide – Crowd Control Build & Strategy

emily mini profile pic By Emily

The Gloomhaven Quatryl Tinkerer is the support class of the starting characters. Small in size, but quick in wit, the Tinkerer uses her contraptions and potions to outsmart monsters and support allies. Such a versatile set of skills means the Tinkerer can be played in several ways. The Tinkerer guide focuses on a crowd control build. 

Tinkerer Crowd Control Guide Structure

This article is a complete guide to playing a Gloomhaven Tinkerer that focuses on crowd control. This guide looks at every level from 1 to 9 and assesses the cards at each level for how well they fit with the crowd control build and then selects the card for that level. 


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This Tinkerer guide follows this structure: 

  • Why a Tinkerer crowd control build?
  • Tinkerer crowd control strategy
  • Level 1-9 cards and decks
  • Tinkerer Perks
  • Tinkerer Items
  • Tinkerer Enhancements
  • Tinkerer Experience
  • Tinkerer Combos
  • Tinkerer Names
  • Conclusion

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

Tinkerer class miniature and character board gloomhaven
Gloomhaven Quatryl Tinkerer miniatures and class board

Why a crowd control Tinkerer?

The Tinkerer doesn’t get a lot of love in Gloomhaven circles. But personally, she’s my favourite class to play as. 

You get to sway the scenario in your team’s favour using your box of tricks. That might mean healing your tank, moving a summon to take attention away from your glass canon ally, or dealing an area of effect to immobilize a bunch of monsters. 

Playing a class focussed purely on healing is not for everyone, including me. Fortunately, I play in a 4 player group, where there are plenty of monsters around. So instead of going with a pure healer build for my Tinkerer, I went with a crowd control build. Preventing damage to allies is as good as healing them for the same amount! 

Crowd control is fun to play because it keeps your mind engaged in what’s happening in the scenario rather than just watching the health of your allies.

Plus, most of the debuffs do a little bit of damage. It’s not much, but it satisfies that need I have to do some damage on a turn! 

Tinkerer crowd control build strategy

There are three main priorities for the Tinkerer crowd control build. For every card in the build, I’ll be assessing it with these in mind. 

1. Crowd control effects

Anything that gives us the ability to stop a monster from dealing damage or moving, or that forces them into doing what we want them to do instead of their default action, is what we want for this build. 

So status effects like Stun that puts them out of action for a turn, or Immobilize that stops them from moving. 

Our summons can also give us options here because the Gloomhaven monsters work on an AI. In knowing what they will do next we can force monsters to go after our contraptions instead of us or our allies. 

Pull and Push can also help us to manipulate the room by moving monsters to where we want them to be or move them into traps. 

When playing the Tinkerer, we want to understand (perhaps more than the rest of the group) exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of the monsters are. That’s so we can use the right debuffs on the right monsters.

For example, if we’re facing a hard-hitting melee monster with no ranged abilities, Immobilize will really help us. Or if we’re against several low health monsters with high Shields we want to play Poison and Wound against them. 

2. Monster damage and debuffs that ignore shields

Other than some powerful loss abilities, the Tinkerer doesn’t deal high damage with her abilities and she doesn’t have any Pierce abilities. That makes dealing with shielded monsters tricky for us. 

To help us get around shields and contribute to the overall damage of the party, Wound and Poison are our friends. 

At lower levels, Wound is fine, but at later levels that 1 damage per turn isn’t amazing. At higher levels, Poison is more effective. Not only does it prevent that monster from healing, but it adds +1 to everyone’s hit against that monster for the entire time it’s poisoned. That can be up to 4 damage per turn, rather than Wound’s 1, providing your allies are going after it. 

3. Healing and party support

As one of the few classes with several healing abilities and some cool support abilities, it makes sense to have at least some of these in our hand. 

It comes back to manipulating the situation. If what you need the most is for one of your allies to dish out a load of hurt on a boss, then you can help them do that. If an ally is in desperate need of healing, then you can heal them. 

Options, please

With this build, we have the ability to respond to the common situations a scenario might throw at us. Stopping monsters from hurting us, dealing damage that weakens monsters and patching up our allies. 

That means that there should be something useful we can do on every turn when we’re selecting our cards. It’s one of the reasons the Tinkerer is a lot of fun to play. She always has something to contribute. 

Tinkerer cards

There are 31 cards in the Tinkerer’s entire deck. With a hand limit of 12 cards, we’ve got a fair amount to pick from when choosing our hand. 

No card is necessarily bad. It’s just that some fit better with our build than others. 

The decks that I select at each level give you a good hand to take into most scenarios. However, before going into a scenario you may want to switch up the cards you take in from those in the card pool to better match the monsters you’ll be facing. 

With a high hand limit of 12 we do have the luxury of being able to use a few more loss cards than other classes in a typical scenario. Given some of the special cards that we have to allow other classes to reclaim used cards from their discard and loss piles, we can share that stamina with others who need it the most.  

Level 1 Tinkerer cards

There are 12 level 1 cards, so you can always just grab those and go on your first Tinkerer scenario to get a feel for how the class plays. 

Energizing Tonic

Tinkerer Energizing Tonic card
Tinkerer Energizing Tonic card

Top ability

The top of Energizing Tonic is exactly the same as the bottom of the level X card Reviving Shock. It gives us our highest value heal at level 1. 

But is it worth the loss? Well, it might be if an ally is in trouble. However, we have other heals in the top ability slots that aren’t losses which we’d be more likely to use instead. Plus, for our Level 1 deck, we’ll be taking Reviving Shock which has this same ability in the bottom slot. And we don’t need it twice.

Bottom ability

Always helpful to have a fast scurrying movement. But to lose the card in the process, that feels like a steep price to pay, especially when we have several Move 4 repeatable abilities. 

Overall Energizing Tonic card rating

A double loss card is never ideal. While you can use the standard top and bottom actions until you’re ready to play the losses, you can do that with any other card and you’re taking up a card slot with a one-hit wonder. 

Enhancement Field

Tinkerer Enhancement Field card
Tinkerer Enhancement Field card

Top ability

A solid ranged ability. There are plenty of occasions where you can use this. It’ll be in our hand for quite a long time. 

Bottom ability

A +1 bonus damage to your allies for one round is a fine support action. Use this just before one of your area of effects and you’ll enjoy +1 on every monster targeted with it. 

Overall Enhancement Field card rating

A useful damage-dealing and support card that will get plenty of use. 

Flamethrower

Tinkerer Flamethrower card
Tinkerer Flamethrower card

Top ability

Woah! Now we’re talking. Imagining our Quatryl Tinkerer wielding a huge flamethrower is epic! 

You’ll need to get into melee range but it’s totally worth the risk. And we’re not the squishiest of the classes so we can take a hit or two. 

Wound is pretty handy. The +1 direct damage that ignores shields is very helpful for us as we struggle to get through shields. 

One idea for Flamethrower is to turn it into a buff card instead of a damage card by adding a Bless enhancement. It’s an interesting strategy and does mean that the melee range is no longer an issue for hits. 

However, I prefer to use it as a damage-dealer. I didn’t enhance Flamethrower at all because I didn’t plan on keeping it up to level 9 and it’s a Loss, so I only gain advantage of the upgrade once per scenario. 

Bottom ability

The tricky thing about this Shield is that it’s applied to adjacent allies. 

If you’re hanging out at the back with another ranged class like a Spellweaver, then a Shield can be helpful if a monster slips through your front lines. Or if you’ve had to head into melee range to support then Shield can help. 

However, these are both pretty situational. In my experience, this Shield goes to waste more often than not. I tend to use the bottom of this card as a Move 2 more than the Shield. 

Overall Flamethrower card rating

The top ability is brilliant and worth getting into melee range for. In the meantime, you have Shield or a standard Move 2 action. 

Harmless Contraption

Tinkerer Harmless Contraption card
Tinkerer Harmless Contraption card

Top ability

Ahh, the decoy! An essential part of our build. 

Thanks to the automatic movement and hit rules of the Gloomhaven monsters, we can predict what they will want to do on their next turn. With the decoy, we can trick the monsters into going after the decoy instead of an ally. 

Its 6 hit points aren’t amazing, but we can always heal it to extend its use. 

Bottom ability

This heal doesn’t look hugely special until you remember that it’s on the bottom. That makes it entirely different. 

There will be plenty of occasions where you don’t need to move and can make good use of a ranged heal instead. It’s a really useful ability to have throughout a scenario until you use the decoy. 

Overall Harmless Contraption card rating

Harmless? Far from it. Your contraption is very damaging to monsters! While they are preoccupied with your decoy, they aren’t dealing any damage to you – sealing their defeat. 

Hook Gun

Tinkerer Hook Gun card
Tinkerer Hook Gun card

Top ability

Given our focus on crowd control, this card is perfect. It helps us to move a monster into the position we want them in. 

Pull means we can only move them 2 hexes in a direction that moves them closer to us, but it’s still a good way to manipulate the room. That 2 hex space can make the difference between a monster choosing one ally over another.

If there’s a trap we can push monsters into, even better. 

Bottom ability

It may just be me, but I’m not a fan of loot cards that are a loss. There’s nothing wrong with looting, after all, you’re going to spend it on upgrades and enhancements that help your party to win. 

For me, this bottom of Hook Gun is only useful in the final room to scoop up the loot when it’s almost cleared, and that’s only if the top half is completely useless there. 

Overall Hook Gun card rating

The top half is perfect for our build. Anything that helps us to control where monsters are and affect what they do on their turn is great. 

Ink Bomb

Tinkerer Ink Bomb card
Tinkerer Ink Bomb card

Top ability

This our other core area of effect card. It’s pretty tough on its base damage and has a lovely range 3. 

There are plenty of opportunities to use it where there are three monsters standing in a cluster. Which is a good thing because we could really use the 1 experience per monster! 

Bottom ability

A great bottom action to have while we’re biding our time to use the top ability. With a high movement of 4, it’s a good choice for a Jump enhancement. We can use it escape from monsters that have us surrounded, avoid traps blocking our way, or just move further when there are obstacles around. 

Overall Ink Bomb card rating

This is a core card in our deck and will be with us until retirement. 

Net Shooter

Tinkerer Net Shooter card
Tinkerer Net Shooter card

Top ability

The final of the three area of effect cards at level 1. This time we have Immobilize to play with. 

It’s perfect for dealing with those monsters that are good at melee but have no ranged abilities. Immobilize is as good as Stun on them. 

The Experience per monster targeted is always handy because we don’t generate a huge amount at level 1. 

In terms of enhancements, we can only add another hex. I didn’t bother with it because it’s unusual to find three melee only monsters in a cluster like that anyway, and Immobilize is just not as useful against monsters with ranged abilities. 

Bottom ability

Get outta there! That’s what this card is for. Glue them to the spot and run away! 2 Move may not get you far away, but if you’re smart with your movement it may just be enough to have you from a hit. 

This Move 2 is a good choice for a cheap additional Move enhancement. 

Overall Net Shooter card rating

A great top ability that gives us a way to take care of big, lumbering melee monsters. In the meantime, we can use the bottom as a basic Move 2 and with a bonus Immobilize if the situation calls for it. 

Oh yeah, and the 19 initiative is awesome! It’ll help us to go early in a round when we really need to. 

Proximity Mine

Tinkerer Proximity mine card
Tinkerer card Proximity Mine

Top ability

I really wish traps were better in Gloomhaven. They are fun to throw monsters into when the traps are already there, but the effort it takes to set one up yourself on one turn and then throw them into it on your next turn is just too unpredictable. 

Between the turns, my allies will have done things that mess up my plans completely! 

To make matters worse, this card is a Loss too. It’s a major blow if I can’t get the trap triggered. I’ve effectively wasted it. 

So for me, this mine is just not worth it. 

Bottom ability

Move 4 is always welcome but it’s not good enough that we’ll put up with the top ability for it. 

Overall Proximity Mine card rating

There are too many things that need to come together to make the trap useful and it’s damage focussed. Damage dealing doesn’t align with the priorities for our build so this card doesn’t make our level 1 hand. 

Reinvigorating Elixir

Tinkerer Reinvigorating Elixir card
Tinkerer Reinvigorating Elixir card

Top ability

One of our two repeatable heals. This is a great ability. While healing isn’t our primary focus, it is a helpful skill to have especially when used in conjunction with our decoys. 

And when we’re not using our crazy contraptions, we can heal our allies to make sure monsters don’t get the best of us. 

Bless is a good enhancement for repeatable heals. It’s a fairly cheap upgrade at level 1 and will help your allies to get critical hits more frequently. Especially if you heal them multiple times in a scenario. 

Bottom ability

You can’t get more selfless than this. A loss ability that benefits another party member. It’s a very powerful ability too.

If you have a Scoundrel in your starting party consider using this on them, they will hugely appreciate it. Perhaps more so than the Spellweaver because the Scoundrel’s stamina is very low as they can’t recover cards like the Spellweaver can. 

But Reinvigorating Elixir can help with more than Stamina. If your ally has just used some discard abilities to do some awesome damage, then help them to do it again. The damage from their cards will be higher than what we can do! 

It’ll take a little planning to use it because you need to be adjacent to your ally to use it, but that’s not usually too difficult to do. 

Overall Reinvigorating Elixir

An awesome selfless card. The heal has a decent enough range to be used regularly and the bottom ability can give an ally with less stamina or amazing damage a chance to contribute more. 

Like with the other Tinkerer cards, using the bottom of Reinvigorating Elixir effectively comes down to you paying careful attention to what’s happening and responding and manipulating it to a favourable outcome. 

Restorative Mist

Tinkerer card Restorative Mist
Tinkerer card Restorative Mist

Top ability

The exact same repeatable heal as Reviving Elixir. It’s solid and useful! 

Bottom ability

A boosted Move 2 is how I see this card. The heal of 1 is nice, but doesn’t really make much of an impact in reality. If you’re moving any way you may as well try to move next to an ally or two to heal them for 1, but in my experience, this isn’t an ability that I plan ages in advance to maximize the heal.

You may find that you’re tempted to put yourself into risky situations just to use the heal 1 which is daft. 

Overall Restorative Mist card rating

A great repeatable top heal with a situational boost to the Move 2 on the bottom. The 17 initiative is super useful though! If you really need to get a quick heal to an ally it can help you do that. 

Stun Shot

Tinkerer card Stun Shot
Tinkerer card Stun Shot

Top ability

Stun! Whoop! This is the ultimate debuff. Put a target completely out action for a turn. Can’t get better than that. 

Stun isn’t available to purchase as an enhancement because it affects the balance of power so much. It’d just be spammed. 

That makes Stun Shot one of our most useful cards for our Crowd Control build. It’s fantastic for putting a Boss or the most powerful elite out of action for a turn and it’s repeatable too. Even better. 

You’ll be using Stun Shot a lot, so add an enhancement to it when you can. I’m a fan of Wound. After all, you’ll most likely be using Stun on the toughest monster so you want to get rid of them as quickly as you can. Time your hit before the monster has taken their turn in that round and you’ll do 2 points of damage before they take their next turn. 

Bottom ability

Yep, we’ll take a Move 4, please. Although, we’ll more than likely be using the top half of the card most of the time!

Overall Stun Shot card rating

20 initiative, repeatable Stun, and a Move 4. This is a cracking card for our build. 

Toxic Bolt

Tinkerer card Toxic Bolt
Tinkerer card Toxic Bolt

Top ability

This is one of the cards we have that can help us deal with Shields right off the bat. 

With the Poison, all our allies get +1 to all damage which can make a huge difference to how quickly a monster goes down. That is especially true if you have area of effects targeting it. While the +1 may not help our low-value abilities get through the Shields, it will help our allies. 

Create Earth is an ok bonus. If you’ve got a Cragheart in your party, they will love you for it. 

Bottom ability

Sometimes, the best strategy is to get rid of a particular monster as quickly as possible before it creates more monsters. Oozes spring to mind here! 

5 is our highest damage value at level 1 which can help us to get rid of just those type of monsters. 

Because it’s pretty cheap to enhance with a +1, it’s worth doing. This is our card for taking out one particular monster so let’s make sure that happens. 

Overall Toxic Bolt card rating

The 18 initiative is great! Poison on the top ability makes it more valuable than it first appears and the bottom ability gives us one hard hitter for when hitting hard is the best strategy. 

Level X cards

At level 1, we have three more cards available to us, the X cards. Touted by the rulebook as “typically more complex and situational than Level 1 cards”. However, I don’t think they are more complex and situation for the Tinkerer. Everything about the Tinkerer is complex and situational! 

If you can handle the level 1 cards, you can handle level X cards. 

Tinkerer Level X cards - Potent Potables, Reviving Shock and Volatile Concoction
Tinkerer Level X cards – Potent Potables, Reviving Shock and Volatile Concoction

Potent Potables

Top ability

For us, healing is our third priority behind crowd control and monster debuffs. However, looking at the other cards available at level 1 this one isn’t such a bad choice. 

We can afford to be a bit looser with our losses and at least this one is persistent and useful. We can use it on our decoy to keep it alive longer and help us manipulate the situation. 

Bottom ability

Nothing hugely fancy with a Move 3, but we don’t have a huge amount of movement actions so it makes it move valuable. 

Overall Potent Potable card rating

Not the most obvious choice for our build, but it’s better than other options at level 1. 

Reviving Shock

Top ability

The double target attribute is what makes this card cool. As it stands it’s not going to do much damage, but it’s upgradeable. With an enhancement, this card would be great. The trouble is that we’ve already got our eyes on lots of other shiny enhancements and they are expensive. 

We’ll take it for level 1, but as the health points of monsters increase, it’s going to have less impact. 

Bottom ability

A fantastic heal for when your party is in dire straits. That Heal 5 with the option to upgrade it to Heal 7 is great. 

Overall Reviving Shock card rating

This card has the potential to be brilliant with some enhancements. The tricky thing is, that we have other enhancements that will have more of an impact for us. 

We’ll take this card for now, but we’ll quickly outgrow it. 

Volatile Concoction

Top ability

I really wish the payoffs for laying and triggering a trap were higher. At least with this one, you can try several times in a scenario because it’s repeatable. Although, that might just mean that you waste more turns trying to pull it off! 

Bottom ability

With this ability, you’re effectively swapping your discard card for a discard card of one of your allies. Seeing as your allies are likely to have higher damage-dealing abilities than you, it’s not such a bad idea. However, you’ll need to keep an eye out to find an opportunity for when it’s worth the swap. 

Because we can’t generate Ice though, it’s very unlikely that they’ll be able to recover the extra card from the Ice bonus. 

Overall Volatile Concoction card rating

At first glance, it looks well aligned with our crowd control, support debuff style Tinkerer. However, on a closer look, both abilities are very situational. So we’ll actually get more use from a different card in our hand. 

Level 1 Tinkerer build

To create the basis of our deck, we’re looking for crowd control abilities, support actions, debuffs and finally heals. We also have some cards that we’ve taken simply for the damage, but with an enhancement, they easily move into crowd control or debuff categories.

Even though all cards have two abilities on them, we’re often taking a card for one of the abilities so I’ve done my best to sort them like that! 

Level 1 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Level X cards - Potent Potables, Reviving Shock and Volatile Concoction
Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 1 cards

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb
  • Reviving Shock

Crowd control

  • Harmless Contraption
  • Hook Gun
  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)

Monster debuffs

  • Flamethrower (Wound)
  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Restorative Mist

Level 2 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer Level 2 cards - Disorienting Flash, Stamina Booster
Tinkerer Level 2 cards – Disorienting Flash, Stamina Booster

Disorienting Flash

Top ability

Simply stunning! Taking two bad guys out of action for a turn is awesome. We don’t have to get into harm’s way to do it either. 

It’s a loss, but so, so worth it. We even get 2 experience points too. 

Bottom ability

A fabulous way to run out of melee range. Hit all the nearby monsters with Muddle and then scurry away. If they do come after you on their next turn, at least they’ll have disadvantage on their abilities until the end of their next turn. 

Overall Disorienting Flash card rating

Love this card! The top ability is awesome at buying your group time. Use it on the two most problematic monsters to get the most from it. 

Until you’re ready to use the top ability, you can use the bottom. The standard Move 2 is fine, but of course, you’ll want to get the Muddle debuff whenever you’re in a position to use it. 

Stamina Booster

Top ability

This is a better non-loss ranged heal than what we’ve currently got. So it’s worth considering swapping this in for another ranged heal in our hand. 

Because this is repeatable heal that we’ll be keeping till retirement, it’s a good option for an enhancement. Strengthen is a good option here. You could even use it on yourself before your area of effects to gain advantage on the damage against every target. 

Bottom ability

A Loss for a Loss and the monsters will soon be blind. Or gone. But only if you use this at exactly the right time when one of your allies has just used an epic loss ability. 

Fortunately, with the Range 3, it’s a bit more flexible than the card recovery option we had on the lower half of Volatile Concoction. And Loss cards are usually more powerful than discard. 

Overall Stamina Booster card rating

A great repeatable ranged heal on the top that we’ll get plenty of uses from until we’re ready to use the recover action on an ally. I like this card. 

Level 2 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Both are good cards but Disorienting Flash takes the biscuit for its top action. Double Stun is awesome. 

What to drop

Hook Gun. If the Pull were a Push this might be a different story… but pulling monsters closer whenever there is a trap is too situational. We’re replacing it with a better crowd control card. 

Level 2 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 2 deck
Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 2 deck

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb
  • Reviving Shock

Crowd control

  • Harmless Contraption
  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)

Monster debuffs

  • Flamethrower (Wound)
  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Restorative Mist

Level 3 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer level 3 cards - Crank Bow, Tinkerer's Tools
Tinkerer level 3 cards – Crank Bow, Tinkerer’s Tools

Crank Bow

Top ability

A big damage-dealing ability with a big range for a loss. Dealing a lot of damage isn’t a focus for us and to lose a card to deal 6 to one target doesn’t seem worth it. We can always do 12 damage over 3 monsters with Ink Bomb if we have the itch to do some damage. 

Bottom ability

Now, another Move 4 we could really do with. We don’t have a huge amount of high movement abilities and more movement is always good. 

Overall Crank Bow card rating

It’s just pretty underwhelming. We’d use the Move 4 all day, every day, but the 6 damage one-shot is just not we’re looking for. We already have a 5 damage bottom Loss on Toxic Bolt. 

Tinkerer’s Tools

Top ability

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see monsters pushed into traps than disarm them. And for that very rare occasion where no-one has anything to force a monster into a trap, someone can walk over it and we can heal them. 

Bottom ability

Another create trap ability. Whoop de do. If we’d kept Hook Gun, then potentially we could use this to create the trap and pull someone into it on the same turn to Stun them. But to be honest, that would just put them out of action for one turn and we’d potentially be standing next to them when they can take another turn. Oops. 

Overall Tinkerer’s Tools card rating

The best thing about this card, in my opinion, is the 26 initiative. I don’t get along with traps abilities they are just too situational to give the flexibility we need in our hand. 

Level 3 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

I’m really not a fan of either of the cards available to us at level 3. The card we didn’t take at level 2, Stamina Booster, is a better fit for our build. 

What to drop

Restorative Mist. Seeing as we’re adding in a better heal, we can afford to swap out one of our other heals. The bottom heal on Restorative Mist is situational and weak unless it’s boosted by Potent Potables. Otherwise, it’s no better than the standard Move 2 which we can get from the bottom of any card as a standard action anyway. 

Level 3 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control deck level 3
Tinkerer Crowd Control deck level 3

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb
  • Reviving Shock

Crowd control

  • Harmless Contraption
  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)

Monster debuffs

  • Flamethrower (Wound)
  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Stamina Booster

Level 4 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer Level 4 cards - Dangerous Contraption, Micro Bots
Tinkerer Level 4 cards – Dangerous Contraption, Micro Bots

Dangerous Contraption

Top ability

Well, doesn’t this look nice? An upgraded version of our decoy that can do the odd bit of damage too. And that’s a hit that will use your modifier deck which has hopefully improved a bit by level 4. 

While the Dangerous Contraption will still move using the automatic rules, the damage it can deal now is going to make it have more of an impact than it’s more harmless counterpart. 

It can absorb 6 damage and likely will get two or three hits in before it’s eliminated. You can always heal too if you need to keep it going for longer. 

Bottom ability

Always useful. Good old Move 4. 

Overall Dangerous Contraption card rating

A straight up upgrade to Dangerous Contraption and having another Move 4 in our hand will be very useful. 

Micro Bots

Top ability

Seeing as we had a bottom Loss heal of 5, Range 2 at level 1 on Reviving Shock, I’d like to have seen a better Loss heal at level 4. 

Healing isn’t our main focus and we already have enough heals to support our party so we really don’t need this ability. 

Bottom ability

This is a nice way to snag some loot, but to lose the card for it is a steep price to pay! 

Overall Micro Bots card rating

A double Loss card has to be really special to make it into our hand. This isn’t special enough.

Level 4 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Dangerous Contraption is a much better fit for our crowd control build. 

What to drop

The damage on Reviving Shock is just too weak to be of any use at Level 4 without an enhancement. And we already have so many other enhancements that we want! So it has to go. 

Level 4 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 4 deck
Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 4 deck

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb

Crowd control

  • Harmless Contraption
  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Dangerous Contraption

Monster debuffs

  • Flamethrower (Wound)
  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Stamina Booster

Level 5 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer Level 5 cards - Disintegration Beam, Noxious Vials
Tinkerer Level 5 cards – Disintegration Beam, Noxious Vials

Disintegration Beam

Top ability

Check. It. Out. What an amazing ability! 

I know we’re not focussing on damage, but instantly removing 3 monsters with low health – that is incredible. 

You don’t even have to draw a modifier to use it. So it’s a certainty. That makes it totally worthwhile for you to get into melee range. 

It completely bypasses all shields too so it’s awesome for monsters with high shields but low health which can take several turns to clear. Yet another situation Gloomhaven likes to throw at us that we are able to deal with. The Tinkerer rules! 

Bottom ability

Yep and yep. A repeatable ability that stops monsters from dealing damage is awesome. They can still move of course, but at least they won’t smash you in the face. Your party will really benefit from that zero damage turn. 

Overall Disintegration Beam card rating

Awesome card to add to our deck. We’ll need to get into melee range to use the top, but it’s so worth it. If they’re eliminated, they can’t hit you! 

While we’re waiting for monsters to align, we can use the super useful bottom ability to stop some hits. Lovely. 

Noxious Vials

Top ability

A pretty good ability because it’s repeatable. It’s got that tricky, ‘adjacent’ caveat though that makes it less versatile. It takes some effort to make sure you’re in the right position to use this, but it can be worth it if your ally has some incredible items. 

Bottom ability

If this ability wasn’t up against Disintegration Beam’s top, it would be perfect for our build! It’s ranged, has a 3 area of effect, deals out Poison, and it’s a bottom damage-dealing ability which is really rare!

Overall Noxious Vials card rating

Not a bad card for us. The support action on the top is just very situational and relies on your allies having consumed items that are worth reusing. The bottom is a really awesome ability that dishes out some nice Poison damage to 3 monsters at once. 

Level 5 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Both cards are great for us. 

Disintegration Beam wins because it’s so, so cool. It lets us get rid of 3 monsters in one turn, no messing. 

What to drop

We’ve got a fair few loss abilities in our hand now, so realistically we need to swap one of the top losses out.

Flamethrower is a great damage-dealing ability, but Disintegration Beam is also a melee ability. We were using Flamethrower to help us get through Shields by using Wound. But that 1 Wound damage per turn is not as useful as it was at lower levels, and we now have Disintegration Beam to help us take care of high Shielded but low health monsters. 

With Disintegration Beam we also gain a much more useful bottom ability with Disarm. 

It pains me to get rid of Flamethrower, but ultimately we’re not a damage focused Tinkerer, even though it’s fun to play that way! 

Level 5 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 5 deck
Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 5 deck

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb
  • Disintegration Beam

Crowd control

  • Harmless Contraption
  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Dangerous Contraption

Monster debuffs

  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Stamina Booster

Level 6 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer level 6 cards - Auto Turret, Gas Canister
Tinkerer level 6 cards – Auto Turret, Gas Canister

Auto Turret

Top ability

A bonus hit for 5 turns? That is very cool. What an awesome ability. This is a fantastic way to help your party pick off the most troublesome monsters. You’ll get 3 experience too without breaking a sweat. 

The best thing is that it’s not a summon! It’s not like you have to place a token down and it stays there. You have range 5 from wherever you currently are. 

The trouble with Auto Turret is that you’ll be relying on your modifier deck to boost that 2 damage to get through Shields. However, bonus damage is bonus damage and that Range 5 means you can be pretty much certain to hit something each turn if you position yourself correctly. 

Bottom ability

A bottom heal is always awesome. Especially because we use contraptions to distract monsters. We can do something interesting with a top action and then heal on those turns when we don’t need to move. This heal also has a larger range of 4 and a higher heal value than our current bottom heal which makes it more versatile. 

Overall Auto Turret card rating

An awesome way to make an impact on a turn whether you use the bottom action or the top. Enjoy using the bottom heal until you’re ready to play the top Loss. 

Gas Canister

Top ability

It’s a trap! You know how I feel about traps by this point, they just aren’t worth the setup. If we’re setting a 4 damage Muddle trap in an empty adjacent hex, we need to be in pretty close range to ensure it’s triggered. 

If we’re in close range we might as well use the hit of 3 from Enhancement Field, hope it’s modified to a higher value, then use the bottom of Disorienting Flash to Muddle all adjacent monsters. 

Bottom ability

Because we already have Reinvigorating Elixir which allows an adjacent ally to recover all their discarded cards in one go, I don’t think this ability adds any additional value to our hand. 

Overall Gas Canister card rating

The top trap just isn’t worth it, especially because we already have a muddle ability. And we already have a better bottom recover cards ability. 

Level 6 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Auto Turret! It’s got a nice bonus hit on the top and a reusable heal on the bottom with a long 4 range. 

What to drop

Because we’re putting in a top loss ability, we need to swap one out. Our Harmless Contraption is the other card with a bottom heal, so it makes sense for that to be swapped out and upgraded. 

We’re effectively swapping a slightly unpredictable crowd controller for an ability that gives us certainty in where bonus hits are directed. That certainty can help us to pick off the monsters giving us the most trouble. 

Level 6 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 6 deck
Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 6 deck

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb
  • Disintegration Beam
  • Auto Turret

Crowd control

  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Dangerous Contraption

Monster debuffs

  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Stamina Booster

Level 7 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 6 deck
Tinkerer Level 7 cards – Curative Aerosol, Murderous Contraption

Curative Aerosol

Top ability

Top Move actions are ultra-rare and if you’re playing a healer, darting around to heal your allies is super important. 

We’re not totally focussed on healing, so while the top movement actions would be nice, it’s not aligned with our main priorities. 

Bottom ability

Another solid heal action, healing two allies for a decent amount in one turn. The Loss feels costly, but for those times where your group is in trouble and two people absolutely need healing on the same turn, this card could be invaluable. 

Overall Curative Aerosol card rating

A fantastic card for a healing focussed Tinkerer. 

Murderous Contraption

Top ability

This makes me think of a clanking lumbering machine with whirring blades and piston activated axes. Who doesn’t want one of those?!

It’s the most powerful summon we have that we can use to manipulate monsters. While it has the same health as our Harmless Contraption from level 1, at least it can go out swinging! 

With its Move 3, it’s fast enough to get to the front lines after being summoned and swift enough to keep up (if you can keep it alive long enough!). 

Bottom ability

A bottom damage-dealing ability! Super rare for us. It’s not too shabby either. 4 damage with a range 3 fits in nicely with our preferred distance from the front lines. 

Overall Murderous Contraption card rating

Gimme that robot! 

Level 7 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Murderous Contraption of course! 

What to drop

Again, we have another top loss, and you know what that means? It’s Loss swap time again!

It’s much tougher of course because we’ve already customized the deck to work for us. We need to make sure we’ve still got that good balance of crowd control, debuffs and heals and the ability to deal with whatever comes our way. 

So, that means we replace Dangerous Contraption with Murderous Contraption. We have enough heals to keep it alive and attract monsters’ attention while dealing a bonus 3 damage each turn.

Level 7 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control Level 7 deck
Tinkerer Crowd Control Level 7 deck

Damage

  • Enhancement Field
  • Ink Bomb
  • Disintegration Beam
  • Auto Turret

Crowd control

  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Murderous Contraption

Monster debuffs

  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Stamina Booster

Level 8 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer Level 8 cards - Harsh Stimulants, Jet Propulsion
Tinkerer Level 8 cards – Harsh Stimulants, Jet Propulsion

Harsh Stimulants

Top ability

A massive hard-hitting ability. This could be super useful at taking down those monsters that just won’t quit. You’ll need to use some health in the process though, and your card too. 

For me, this just doesn’t fit with our build. We’re not going for high damage, we’re going for abilities that allow us to control the situation. Plus, we’d need to swap out one of our current top loss cards to accommodate it, and they are all better for what we want. 

Bottom ability

Increase everyone’s damage by 2, but damage everyone by 2 in process…

I guess it could be worthwhile if all your adjacent allies are about to do some mass area of effects. That makes it even more situational though. Your ally needs to be next to you AND going to use an area of effect ability on their next turn. 

It’s not always easy to know what your allies are thinking in Gloomhaven! 

Overall Harsh Stimulants card rating

It just doesn’t fit well with our build. We have better cards in our hand than this already. 

Jet Propulsion

Top ability

On most runs, we’re going to be taking one summon with us. Which means this ability will give us a bonus +2 Move to that summon to move it to where we want it rather than it doing its own thing. 

That’s not a bad ability for us. It’s just not amazing. For those times before you’ve launched your Robot and all the time after it has been wiped, this ability is useless.

That’s the issue. 

Bottom ability

This is the best Move card we’ve seen. I always feel like the high movement cards for a Loss are only worth the trade if you really, really, really want a treasure chest. 

For all the rest of the time you’re carrying an ability around that you can’t do anything with. That’s ok if the other ability on the card is a good repeater, but this card doesn’t have that. 

Overall Jet Propulsion card rating

A lacklustre card overall. At level 8 I’d really like to have seen something better. 

Level 8 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Neither of the level 8 cards! For how we’re playing this build, they are both worse than what we already have! Instead, let’s look back through the cards we didn’t take from previous levels…

Curative Aerosol from Level 7 is too heal focussed, Gas Canister from Level 6 is a half trap and a half card recovery Loss, not great. Which means we’re looking back to Level 5 at Noxious Vials. The only reason we didn’t take it is because it was up against Disintegration Beam! 

So, we pick up Noxious Vials from Level 5. 

What to drop

We can’t afford to swap out a card with a decent bottom movement for Noxious Vials which restricts our choice a little. Looking back to our other level 1 and X cards, that leaves us with Enhancement Field, Reinvigorating Elixir and Toxic Bolt. 

Enhancement Field is really weak at level 8 and it’s solely damage focussed rather than crowd control, support or heal. So it fits the least well with our build. 

Plus, a three hit without a debuff isn’t doing much for us anymore and the +1 to all adjacent allies only works when they are, well adjacent. Otherwise, it just boosts our Area of Effects. 

We drop Enhancement Field. 

Level 8 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer CC Level 8 deck
Tinkerer CC Level 8 deck

Damage

  • Ink Bomb
  • Disintegration Beam
  • Auto Turret

Crowd control

  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Murderous Contraption
  • Noxious Vials (Bottom: Poison)

Monster debuffs

  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Potent Potables
  • Stamina Booster

Level 9 Tinkerer cards

Tinkerer Level 9 cards - Chimeric Formula, Lethal Injection
Tinkerer Level 9 cards – Chimeric Formula, Lethal Injection

Chimeric Formula

Top ability

This is an awesome way for one of your allies to get back their toughest abilities and swap them for a couple of mediocre discards. At level 9 some of the abilities of the other classes are seriously game-changing and can easily win you a scenario. 

The fact that this ability is repeatable is phenomenal! 

Bottom ability

I love this one. Your ally can grab the lost card of another class and use it for themselves. Another fantastic way to use those hard-hitting Loss abilities. Even better, your ally doesn’t have to lose a card of their own in the process. 

Overall Noxious Vials card rating

The strength of this card is completely reliant on the strength of your allies cards. If you’re playing with classes that have incredible abilities, this card is amazing. It just comes down to you keeping a close eye on what they’re using and when to find the perfect time to play it. 

Lethal Injection

Top ability

The key attribute on this card is that it can immediately defeat an elite monster. Elites can be tricky to get rid of. It’s worth it for a Loss for sure!

Bottom ability

The ideal bottom action on an awesome top Loss card, a decent Move. Poison is in line with the strengths of our build and with the Move 4 we can get into a decent position to use it effectively. 

Given that this is a repeatable ability, we can spread that Poison around with a gleeful hop, skip and a jump, until we’re ready to use the top Loss. 

Overall Lethal Injection card rating

A solid card which will get used in every single scenario, no problem. 

Level 9 Tinkerer build

What to pick up

Both cards are really good choices here. Chimeric Formula has the potential to be the far, far, better card depending on the other classes you’re playing with and their abilities at their current levels. 

However, classes retire and change, so Chimeric Formula may not be amazing forever. For that reason, Lethal Injection is a more consistently reliable choice. That’s the card I went for. 

What to drop

We’ve got 7 top Loss cards, so really we should replace one of those. Seeing as Crowd Control beats healing in our build, and we have a decent Move action to replace the Move action we’ll lose, it’s time for Potent Potables to go. 

If you find yourself heading into a scenario with a lot of Poison inflicting monsters though, put it back into your hand and swap something else out!

Level 9 Tinkerer deck

Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 9 deck
Tinkerer Crowd Control build level 9 deck

Damage

  • Ink Bomb
  • Disintegration Beam
  • Auto Turret

Crowd control

  • Net shooter (Immobilize)
  • Stun Shot (Stun)
  • Disorienting Flash (Top: Stun, Bottom: Muddle)
  • Murderous Contraption
  • Noxious Vials (Bottom: Poison)
  • Lethal Injection (Bottom: Poison)

Monster debuffs

  • Toxic Bolt (Poison)

Ally support

  • Reinvigorating Elixir

Heals

  • Stamina Booster

Tinkerer Perks

Tinkerer Perks Gloomhaven
Tinkerer Perks Sheet

The first perk I always take when it’s available is negative scenario effects. I find it annoying when the game tells me to add negative modifiers to my deck! No way! 

After that, let’s get our modifier deck improved so that when we draw a modifier, it’s more likely to be a decent one. Our abilities are not the most hard hitting overall, so every little really does help. 

Start by taking out the negatives so you can increase your certainty of doing the damage you intended on your turn. That’s the -1s, the -2 and then add in the +1, +3s. 

After that, add the +0 Add Target card, it’s a great one to instantly double your damage on that turn.  

Then, let’s get the other +1 rolling modifiers in. Go for the +1s with debuff first so we get the damage bonus as well as the debuffs. Take Wound first and then Immobilize. Wound will be useful on whatever monster it affects. Immobilize may or may not be useful. 

Then we want the +1 Heal +2 in the deck. 

Finally, add Muddle, and then the two Fire cards if you want to. We can’t use Fire for anything, but other party members probably can. But then so can monsters… It’s up to you if you want to add it. 

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

Tinkerer Items

Looking at just the starting items here so I don’t reveal any of the higher-level items!

Tinkerer starting items - Piercing Bow, Eagle-Eye Goggles, Boots of Striding, Minor-Stamina Potion
Tinkerer starting items – Piercing Bow, Eagle-Eye Goggles, Boots of Striding, Minor-Stamina Potion

Piercing Bow

We struggle with Shielded monsters generally, so Piercing Bow is a good item to have to help us overcome that weakness. 

Eagle-Eye Goggles

As a mostly ranged class, the goggles are fantastic to use one those abilities that you really, really need to hit the mark. You’ll probably use these on your big Loss abilities like Ink Bomb and Net Shooter. 

Boots of Striding

These are helpful for basically every starting character! Who doesn’t want a +2 Move? So you may squabble with your allies over who gets these. You aren’t the slowest starting class, so if someone else (ahem, Cragheart) wants the last pair, let them have them! 

Minor Stamina Potion

We may have a hand limit of 12, but an extra turn is an extra turn and this is a great way to get back our most useful discard cards. 

Tinkerer Enhancements

Enhancements are expensive so you want to get the best return on your investment. I like to enhance level 1 and level 2 repeatable abilities first. I also like to keep my enhancements pretty cheap. It takes a while to save up for even the ‘cheaper’ ones, especially at lower levels. 

At later levels, if you find yourself with lots of gold, you’ll know how you play and which enhancements make the most sense for you. In the meantime, here’s a general guide on the enhancements I found valuable. 

Bless on the Reinvigorating Elixir Heal

50 gold

You’ll have Reinvigorating Elixir with you from level 1 right up until level 9 so you may as well improve it. It’s only 50 gold to add Bless to the heal, so not only are you healing your allies, but you’re adding a double damage critical hit to their deck. This can really help swing the scenario in your favour as you use this heal several times per scenario. 

Strengthen on the Stamina Booster Heal

75 gold

A different way to boost your heals is Strengthen. Giving an ally Advantage until the end of their next turn is very powerful, especially if you use it on an ally who specializes in area of effects. It will make a huge difference to the amount of damage they do in that turn. 

Alternatively, use it on yourself before you use Ink Bomb or Net Shooter to maximize the impact. 

Wound on Stun Shot

75 gold 

Another level 1 card you’ll have forever. 

Stunning a monster until the end of their next turn is amazing. What makes it better? Making sure that they’re taken out quicker when they’re back in action! If a monster is a big enough problem that you need to Stun them, chances are you’ll be grateful when they are gone too! 

Wound will help your group take care of them much faster. If you hit a monster with a Stun before they’ve taken their turn in a round, you’ll effectively have done 2 points of damage before they take their next turn. 

Jump on Ink Bomb Move

50 gold 

It’s a cheap and cheerful enhancement, but a really useful one. Until you’re at the point where you want to use your top Loss ability, you’ll be using this Move action. Adding Jump helps you to jump over traps that are in the way, get past monsters that are blocking your route, or just move further around obstacles on a turn. 

+1 Move on Net Shooter Move

30 gold

If you don’t get to use the Immobilize debuff on your Move on Net Shooter, it’s no better than a standard Move 2 action. With +1 to Move being so cheap at level 1, you may as well add it to Net Shooter, it’s going to be with you till retirement. It makes your lower ability more useful until you’re ready to use the top Loss. 

+1 damage on Toxic Bolt

50 gold

While in general, I don’t like adding enhancements to Losses, because we leave out Crank Bow at level 3, we lack a high-hitting single target ability in our hand. 

Making Toxic Bolt a 6 just gives us another option in our hand. If we really need a monster taking down a peg or two, we’ll have an ability that can do that. It doesn’t cost too much either. 

Tinkerer Experience

How quickly you level up is largely influenced by how much of a priority you place on levelling in your card choices and how you play. If you’re chasing the points, you can make slightly less optimal choices for your group and play the ones that give you the most experience instead. 

Like most classes, it’s often the Loss cards that get your Experience points. We do fare worse in repeatable abilities that give us experience, though. 

Having said that, there are some staples that will always get you some solid points every scenario – Ink Bomb and Net Shooter will get you up to 6 points if you catch a bad guy in every hex. 

At early levels, Flamethrower and Potent Potables will get you another 4 points and a summon is another 2 points. So that’s 12 points without really trying too hard.

Tinkerer Combos

What’s interesting about the Tinkerer (and one of the reasons I love her so much) is that she can respond to so many different situations. 

It’s less about the combos where you play one ability first to boost your next ability, and it’s more about taking the most effective actions for the situation in front of you. Do the best you can to keep the scenario in your group’s favour.

It’s very in keeping with the supportive nature of the class. 

Tinkerer Name ideas

I love coming up with character names. The Tinkerer is a fun one for name ideas. The names are based on machines, female inventors and a certain Star Wars character that looks like the Tinkerer! 

  • Marie Sprocket
  • Cog Nessant
  • Klank Kombine
  • Mez Ratchet 
  • Mix Kanata
  • Fizz Piston
  • Kwolek Hopper 
  • Burr Blodgett 
  • Telkes Boone
  • Elion Wrench

Conclusion

The Tinkerer is my favourite starting class for many reasons. The versatility of the Tinkerer is her strength, not her weakness. The power to turn a scenario around when everything is going wrong is a very powerful skill. 

Hopefully, this guide has given you some ideas for your Tinkerer build. Enjoy trying them out and see how they work for your group and your playstyle! 

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 15 Awesome Gloomhaven Accessories & Upgrades article

I’ve created guides for all the Gloomhaven starting classes. If you enjoyed this Tinkerer guide check out my: Cragheart ranged build guide, Brute tank guide, Scoundrel single target poison guide, Spellweaver area of effect guide and Mindthief damage with stun guide.

I’ve also created a guide for the locked Sun class and Triforce class.

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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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