Gloomhaven Three Spears Guide – Build & Strategy – Locked Class

The Gloomhaven Quartermaster (locked class symbol name Three Spears) is a versatile physical class. They have high health and abilities for dealing damage, tanking and support. The Quartermaster can be built to be a hybrid of all three roles, a mixture of two, or built to just focus on damage. This Quartermaster build guide focuses on a hybrid damage and tank build.

Quartermaster Damage Tank Guide Structure

This article is a complete guide to playing a Gloomhaven Quartermaster who mainly focuses on damage but also tanks as a secondary role.


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The Quartermaster guide covers all levels from 1-9 and evaluates each card for how well it fits with this build.

This Quartermaster guide follows this structure:

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

Why a Quartermaster Damage Tank build?

As you’d expect with a class called ‘Quartermaster’, you’re a versatile character! You can take on one of three main roles. You’ll never be the best class in the game at any of these roles, but you can certainly do them with differing levels of success.

My suggestion is to choose two roles and focus on those. I chose damage and tank and that’s what this guide focuses on. But first, a quick note on the three roles.

1. Damage

You’re adept in so many different kinds of equipment, so damage is a perfectly fine option for you.

In fact, this is the one build option where there are enough cards to support focussing on just the damage role. There are plenty of cards in the deck which lend themselves to damage. There is a good mix of single-target, ranged, and AoE abilities.

2. Tank

The Quartermaster can be an ok tank.

There are tanky abilities in the deck, but not as many as you’d get with the Brute, for example. So you’d need to combine tanking with damage or support.

The perks sheet is missing some of the perks you’d expect from a tank, namely – Shield, Push, Immobilize and Disarm. So while you can tank, and do sometimes with the build I played, you won’t be as good at it as other classes can be.

We also have average initiative so we’re not amazing at going first and getting the monsters’ attention!

3. Support

The Support build is also an option for the Quartermaster as a hybrid with damage or tank. The support abilities on the cards aren’t of the type, ‘Ally may perform an X ability’. They are more about giving allies items and cards. Which is to be expected, really. It matches the Quartermaster theme – giving your allies equipment!

So playing support effectively is kind of dependent on your allies having items and abilities that are worth refreshing and that refreshing their items and cards is better for the party than refreshing your own.

In the right party (likely a 4 player group), this can absolutely a decent build option, but it really depends.

Quartermaster Damage Tank build

In my group, I needed to tank some of the time, but my party knew I was only a part-time tank. We also didn’t have any healing specialist in our party so taking things down quickly was our general strategy!

With the damage and tank build hybrid I was always contributing to the group and never had a turn with nothing to do.

Quartermaster Strategy for Damage Tank build

Versatility

One of the things I love about the Quartermaster is their versatility. It’s one of their strengths so enjoy it!

We don’t need to play cards in a particular sequence to be effective and other than 1 big AoE combo we don’t really have set card pairings. This is brilliant because we can respond to what is happening on the board and flexibility has a huge impact on the success of our party!

Initiative is important

One of the things that prevents us from being a super effective tank is that we don’t have the fastest initiative across our cards. More so than other classes, we need to be especially careful to make sure we’re not using two fast cards on the same turn otherwise we end up in a tricky situation later!

Don’t take on too many monsters!

Yes, we have some Shields, and yes we can take some hits but we are damage first and tank second. Shield’s don’t make you invincible!

Be careful with your positioning to not get swarmed by monsters.

The infinite turn

The Quartermaster class has a hilarious repeatable sequence that means you can level up to 9 in one scenario using an infinite turn. I discuss it at level 2 when the card you need to do this infinite loop becomes available.

While it’s a valid strategy, it’s not hugely fun! It’s way more fun to actually level your Quartermaster with your group by adventuring in my opinion.

Quartermaster Damage Tank card analysis

All cards in Gloomhaven can be seen as a good fit or a bad fit depending on so many factors – what you want from your character, the classes you’re playing alongside, the scenario, in game situation etc.

With this Damage Tank build I wanted cards that:

  • Focussed on damage
  • Allowed me to move often
  • Offered Shields or damage negation
  • Allowed me to refresh cards or items to extended my stamina

At each level, I also wanted to take along not too many Loss abilities. We can’t afford to carry them around with only a 9 card hand limit.

Quartermaster cards

There are 28 cards in the Quartermaster deck from level 1-9. It’s an incredibly versatile set of abilities covering damage, tanking, and support by way of item and card refresh abilities. We also have some status effects like Wound, Stun, Muddle, Immobilize and Disarm. We don’t use elements to power our abilities, but there are some abilities that generate elements along the way which might help our allies out.

Level 1 Quartermaster cards

At level 1 we can just grab the 9 level 1 cards and go play. Generally, the level one cards give us a good idea of the different ways a class can be played, and the Quartermaster is no exception. We can see damage dealers, some refresh item abilities and a couple of crowd control and damage mitigation abilities.

How well do each of these cards fit with our Damage Tank build?

Cleaving Axe

Level 1 Quartermaster card Cleaving Axe
Level 1 Quartermaster card Cleaving Axe

Top ability

For our first card at level 1, we’ve got a three target, 2 damage AoE ability with an experience point. Not a bad start at all! A 6 damage ability that’s reusable too. With a little boost from a Power Potion we’ve got a 12 damage ability right here!

Of course, to hit 3 monsters we need to be next to them. That’s where this ability falls down a little bit. Those monsters can hit us right back! Even so, it’s pretty good for level 1. We’ll swap it out later because 2 damage isn’t going to do a lot higher levels and we can’t enhance damage output. All we can do is add a hex which makes the ‘being surrounded by monsters problem’ even worse!

Bottom ability

A Move 4 is a great starting movement option. Awesome.

Overall Cleaving Axe card rating

It’s a decent card for level 1 even if we won’t usually maximize the top ability to attract the attention of 3 monsters at once! Not great initiative though. But we do have only an average initiative deck overall.

Crippling Bow

Level 1 Quartermaster card Crippling Bow
Level 1 Quartermaster card Crippling Bow

Top ability

We’re off to a great start with our cards at level 1! Crippling Bow is also incredible value this level. 3 damage to a single monster range that is reusable and gives us an experience point is a nice way to safely hit something and get some experience!

It’s a shame there are no enhancement dots though!

Bottom ability

It’s always useful to have a damage dealer in the bottom slot for those times when we don’t need to move!

The Immobilize on this really helps us with the tanking and crowd control aspect of this build. With a range of 4, we can affect a monster at the back of the pack while we take care of the ones closest to us.

It’s perfect for stopping those monsters with no ranged abilities from getting to us or our allies until the next turn.

Overall Crippling Bow card rating

Another decent card at level one. With a reusable top and bottom, it’s flexible and easy to find a use for. The initiative is pretty poor though, which limits our effective use of Immobilize somewhat.

Hastened Step

Level 1 Quartermaster card Hastened Step
Level 1 Quartermaster card Hastened Step

Top ability

These hit, move, hit abilities are some of my favourites in Gloomhaven! You can choose whether to apply the damage to the same monster, or spread it over two. Depending their hit points most likely!

I love that you get to reposition yourself between hits to shuffle out of the way of an incoming monster, make space for a teammate, line up your next ability – whatever you need.

If you apply all the damage to one monster so for damage reusable which is awesome for level one!

Bottom ability

What’s better than our Move 4 reusable from Crippling Bow? A Move 5! Fabulous!

Overall Hastened Step card rating

Now we’re talking! 26 is an initiative we can do something with! With a pair of fantastic abilities to go along with it, Hastened Step is an awesome card.

Impaling Spear

Level 1 Quartermaster card Impaling Spear
Level 1 Quartermaster card Impaling Spear

Top ability

Another amazing card in a row! We really are spoiled for choice as a level 1 Quartermaster!

We get to do the same amount of damage as we do on Cleaving Axe, but this time we only have to be adjacent to one monster. The damage is concentrated on 2 monsters so it has more of an impact at getting them off the board quickly and could even do something through a monster shield of 1. That extra hex enhancement looks pretty sweet too. Monster kebab!

Bottom ability

Another Move 4?! The Quartermaster is no slouch!

Overall Impaling Spear card rating

Love this card! The top ability is amazing at reaching 2 monsters without us needing to be surrounded by them. Shame we only have a 48 initiative on it. Initiative is something we really have to pay attention to in our build. For a class doing around the front lines, we’re not the quickest.

Iron Bulwark

Level 1 Quartermaster card Iron Bulwark
Level 1 Quartermaster card Iron Bulwark

Top ability

Our first tanky card option. The Muddle is certainly going to help reduce some of the damage we take. 3 damage is solid and we get a nice experience point too. Nice.

Bottom ability

We can’t be a part time tank without a Shield! This’ll do nicely!

If we can use it while we’re next to another character they’ll love us for it too.

Overall Iron Bulwark card rating

Finally, a sub-20 initiative card! We need more of these! We can put up our shield before the monsters get chance to hit us. Perfect.

Oversized Pack

Level 1 Quartermaster card Oversized Pack
Level 1 Quartermaster card Oversized Pack

Top ability

A Loot ability to rival the Scoundrel! This ability can get you some serious gold in a scenario, but your party will hate you! You’ll be scooping up basically all the gold, all the time!

If you want to go with a Quartermaster build that centres around refreshing items then this is an almost essential ability to take along from the beginning so you can afford all the kit you’ll need to pull it off!

In my build, I swapped this card in occasionally when I wanted some gold, but for the rest of the time, I didn’t carry it.

Bottom ability

Unlike some of our other level 1 cards, this one is actually quite poor at this level. But at later levels it really comes into its own. When we have powerful high prosperity items, it can be worth bringing it along. But that will depend on your situation.

Overall Oversized Pack card rating

If you’re building a Quartermaster focusing on item refreshes, this card is absolutely central for you. My power tank build doesn’t focus on item refreshes, so I only bought it for looting sometimes! The 81 initiative is actually quite helpful because you can time it for after the monsters have dropped their gold!

Proficiency

Level 1 Quartermaster card Proficiency
Level 1 Quartermaster card Proficiency

Top ability

Ooh! Here we have an ability that takes our Power Potion or any other damage improvement item and makes it better! Hurrah!

It’s great to use on large AoEs that only do a small amount of damage. But we don’t have any of those right now. So it’s only worth bringing if you have enough items to make it worth your while. A bit like Oversized Pack, Proficiency is great for a build with loads of items at its heart. For our level 1 Quartermaster, it’s unlikely to be worth it. But you may want to consider adding it in at later levels if your items support it.

Bottom ability

Seeing as we’ve already seen 2 Move 4s and a Move 5 in level one cards, this move 3 looks underwhelming! It’s just fine.

Overall Proficiency card rating

The top loss action isn’t worth it for us at level one and may not be at later levels either. The bottom ability doesn’t bring us anything special. We’ve also got a slow 62 initiative.

Restock

Level 1 Quartermaster card Restock
Level 1 Quartermaster card Restock

Top ability

This is another ability whose effectiveness really depends on how many people you’re playing with and the items they’ve got. It could be incredible.

Your party can use their best item earlier in the scenario knowing that you can help them get one back towards the end.

For my party, this ability wasn’t particularly helpful.

Bottom ability

Yes! A decent damage dealer in the bottom slot. So, so good to have one of these. Now we can do damage with top ability and a bottom to quickly take monsters off the board!

Overall Restock card rating

Eek! 73 initiative. Oh well, at least we have a decent reusable bottom ability that we compare with something else.

Sharpening Kit

Level 1 Quartermaster card Sharpening Kit
Level 1 Quartermaster card Sharpening Kit

Top ability

Nice! A heal. We can use it at range on allies, but thankfully, we can use it on ourself too! And we’ll likely need it from our part time tanking job.

Heal 4 is a pretty decent amount at level one – that’s 40% of our total HP! Plus, you know what we can do with a heal? Enhance it with a Strengthen, Bless or anything else that helps us!

That 1 experience point is an easy one to get!

Bottom ability

And for when we don’t need to heal? We can do more damage! And so can our friends!

This ability with a coordinated AoE turn from everyone in your party gives really impressive results!

Overall Sharpening Kit card rating

To go along with the awesome abilities, we have a 23 initiative! Amazing, amazing card!

 

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Level X Quartermaster cards

At level 1, we can also choose from the level X cards and we’ll want to for this damage tank Quartermaster build!

Quartermaster level X cards - Crushing Hammer, Reserved Energy and Scroll of Recall
Quartermaster level X cards – Crushing Hammer, Reserved Energy and Scroll of Recall

Crushing Hammer

Top ability

Lovely, lovely Stun! Much needed as we’re on the front lines and doing some tanking. But look! It’s on a loss ability. Sigh.

Oh well, it’s better than no Stun! Just means we need to save it until later in the scenario and use it to grab the experience and keep a monster at bay when our health is likely getting low.

Bottom ability

Perfect combo! We move up to the monsters and put our shield up! We can also enhance this with a buff for us because it’s applied to self.

Overall Crushing Hammer card rating

17 initiative! Our lowest available at level one. That’s a huge bonus in itself and means we can get the Shield up before the monsters start hitting!

Reserved Energy

Top ability

An ally refreshing all spent items seems very cool. There are just two things that make it less impressive than it first appears. That ally needs to be adjacent to you and they need to have decent items to Refresh to make this action more worthwhile than you dealing damage or absorbing hits.

Given that you’re likely to be smashing monsters and tanking, you aren’t going to be adjacent to allies most of the time. Plus, it’s not like this ability offers anything unique because all spent items are refreshed on a long rest anyway.

Bottom ability

Another Move 4 is great! We’re certainly not lacking for movement at level 1!

Overall Reserved Energy card rating

The top isn’t particularly powerful at level 1, Move 4 is ok, and the 88 initiative is fine if we want to go late and in a round. But, for this level 1 build it doesn’t make the cut. It’s too support focused and we have better options.

Scroll of Recall

Top ability

This is the solution to our 9 card hand limit! We can just refresh a Stamina Potion and keep getting cards back for extra turns in a never-ending loop. Theoretically, we can have infinite turns this way. In reality, that doesn’t stop our allies from getting exhausted during a scenario! But it does help us and means we can use our more powerful abilities more frequently.

Plus, when we get really powerful items we can use them again and again instead!

Bottom ability

Awesome! Now we have some crowd control to help with tanking without needing to just take damage for the team. We can drag 3 monsters around to manipulate their movement. We can pull them into traps, move them out of the way if they are blocking a path or are out of line of sight. It’s super helpful!

Overall Scroll of Recall card rating

Being able to refresh our Stamina Potion is amazing! We can just keep going and going. Very nice. The 98 initiative is about as high as we can go without resting so guarantees us going last which sometimes you want to do!

Level 1 Quartermaster build

So with this build, we’re looking for damage first, tanking second and support as an added bonus but not a focus. Fortunately for us, the Level 1 Quartermaster build is really good right from the beginning and lets play this kind of role. Wahoo!

Level 1 Quartermaster deck

Level 1 Quartermaster build cards
Level 1 Quartermaster build cards

So here’s our level 1 deck. In general, we’ve taken mostly damage cards, all the tanking cards we’ve come across and as a bonus, Sharpening Kit and Restock have supporting abilities on their top halves.

  • Cleaving Axe
  • Crippling Bow
  • Hastened Step
  • Restock
  • Impaling Spear
  • Iron Bulwark
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Scroll of Recall

Level 2 Quartermaster cards

Level 2 Quartermaster cards - Bladed Boomerang and Reforge
Level 2 Quartermaster cards – Bladed Boomerang and Reforge

Bladed Boomerang

Top ability

We are being spoilt! A level 2 ranged option where we get Wound and an experience point as well. That’s just great

The Wound will slowly tick down the health of monsters that we can’t reach just yet so by the time we engage them, their health is already reduced.

Bottom ability

Another of my favourite kind of sandwich abilities! This time we have a movement focused partner to Hastened Step. Move, Hit, Move.

With this, we can nicely reposition ourselves while giving a monster a little bop! The 1 damage isn’t amazing but we can enhance it with something like a Poison that improves our damage on the monster affected and the damage of our allies too.

If we forget about the hit in the middle, this is still a move 4, but the hit makes it more flexible than just 4.

Overall Bladed Boomerang card rating

Another solid card with 2 reusable abilities that we will have no problem finding uses for. The 40 initiative isn’t great, but it’s not the worst.

Reforge

Top ability

A classic support action here. This can be amazing depending on what item you and your allies have. If you have an uber-powerful item that can do something amazing, then being able to get it back and use it over and over for awesome damage, can be totally worth choosing this card for.

I didn’t have access to anything amazing, and neither did my allies which made this ability less appealing to me.

Bottom ability

Hah! The bottom of Reforge is the partner to Scroll of Recall that makes this class broken if you want to play it that way. You can level all the way up to 9 in one scenario using the same sequence over and over again if you want to.

The Quartermaster Infinite Turn

Turn 1

Play top of Scroll of Recall to refresh your Stamina Potion.
Play bottom of any other card.

Turn 2

Play top of Sharpening Kit to heal self and gain an experience point.
Play bottom of Reforge to pick up your two discarded cards from turn 1.
Use Stamina Potion to pick up Sharpening Kit and Reforge.

Repeat over and over up doing the Quartermaster infinite loop until you reach level 9.

While it’s totally possible to play the class like this, and you can theoretically carry on for ever after all your team mates are exhausted and the monsters are defeated – it’s not very fun!

Assuming you don’t want to play the game breaking combo that zaps all the fun of adventuring and levelling – how does this ability stack up?

Well, it’s basically a reusable Minor Stamina Potion. Seeing as we already have Scroll of Recall to refresh our Minor Stamina Potion and get back 2 discarded cards, we don’t really need this ability doing the same. Granted, it frees up Scroll of Recall so we can use it on something else and use the bottom of Reforge to increase our stamina instead. But is that better than having a damage-dealing ability in this slot instead?

Overall Reforge card rating

A fantastic really high initiative for when you want to go late in a round, but we already have Scroll of Recall for when we want to do that and for getting back our Stamina Potion too.

Level 2 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

Given our damage focus, Bladed Boomerang is the better choice – unless you have access to some amazing items or what to do the infinite turn combo.

What to drop

Cleaving Axe. The AoE is just too risky for us to use it to its full potential so we’ve been using it for the Move 4 anyway. Occasionally, it’s a 4 damage if we hit 2 monsters. Now that we have a Move 4 with a little damage in the middle and a much safer single-target ability with Wound, we can easily swap it out.

The Wound and the additional 1 damage (ideally with Poison enhancement) from the Move make up for the rare occasions that we were doing more than 2 damage with Cleaving Axe. Plus, we get a 12 faster initiative!

Level 2 Quartermaster deck

Level 2 Quartermaster deck cards
Level 2 Quartermaster deck cards
  • Bladed Boomerang
  • Crippling Bow
  • Hastened Step
  • Restock
  • Impaling Spear
  • Iron Bulwark
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Scroll of Recall

Level 3 Quartermaster cards

Level 3 Quartermaster cards - Continual Supply and Scroll of Lightning
Level 3 Quartermaster cards – Continual Supply and Scroll of Lightning

Continual Supply

Top ability

As a persistent effect, this is a strange one. We only have 9 cards in our hand so to make this ability be good value to us we really need to use it alongside the bottom of Reforge so we could keep getting back our discarded cards. Otherwise, we’d just be exhausted too quickly!

For a support focused Quartermaster this could be really cool if you’re adjacent ally has items that really help them to pull off epic moves.

Bottom ability

With this ability we effectively swap this loss card for 2 others and gain one card back overall along with the ability to do two potentially really powerful abilities again. Right now, our deck doesn’t have two really powerful losses and this build doesn’t rely on powerful losses either. We’d be using this bottom ability to get back the 3 damage Stunb on Crushing Hammer and the top of Restock which you may not even be using.

Overall Continual Supply card rating

A double loss ability card needs to have 2 amazing abilities on it to earn a spot in our hand, especially with our 9 card limit! Continual Supply doesn’t make the cut. The top is support focused, and the bottom one doesn’t make sense for our cards.

Scroll of Lightning

Top ability

Wow! This is a powerful reusable ability at level 3! With 5 damage we can get through a shield or two. And the range 3 is a nice distance.

The Light is a nice bonus if you’re playing with a teammate who can use it.

Bottom ability

The move 3, push all adjacent monsters 1 is actually an awesome bottom ability for this card. Because if we’re in a position to use this ability, we’ll be in melee range and would have Disadvantage if we chose to use the top ability instead. Having said that, the top is so good it’s worth using even with Disadvantage in melee range sometimes!

Overall Scroll of Lightning card rating

The top ability is amazing and you’ll love it every time you use it!

Level 3 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

Scroll of Lightning.

What to drop

We’ll be using Scroll of Lightning mainly for the top, so we can’t really afford to take out any move abilities, even though we’re bringing one in. Restock is the only card where we’re using it for one half at the moment because the top is a Loss support ability. Losing the bottom damage isn’t perfect, but we have Bladed Boomerang and Crippling Bow with bottom damage dealers as alternatives if we want them.

Restock goes.

Level 3 Quartermaster deck

Level 3 Quartermaster build deck cards
Level 3 Quartermaster build deck cards
  • Bladed Boomerang
  • Crippling Bow
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Impaling Spear
  • Iron Bulwark
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Scroll of Recall

Level 4 Quartermaster cards

Level 4 Quartermaster cards - Giant Club and Side Pouch
Level 4 Quartermaster cards – Giant Club and Side Pouch

Giant Club

Top ability

Whack! 5 damage. Perfect ability for a card called Giant Club! No messing around when we’re in a monster’s face. We don’t have time.

Nice 1 experience too for that monster bash!

Bottom ability

Awesome, a 3 damage Muddle to replace that lower damage dealer we swapped out at level 3!

Overall Giant Club card rating

I love how simple Giant Club is at dealing damage. Nothing fancy, just decent damage values. 61 initiative isn’t going to win us any speed awards though.

Side Pouch

Top ability

Another support ability of the refresh items kind. It’s very powerful in the right circumstances, especially at higher levels with higher prosperity items. But it’s a Loss so you need to make sure the trade is worth it. I’d guess you’d hang onto it until just before the final room so your ally can go in with powerful combos at the ready.

Bottom ability

The best place to see a Loot is after a Move. Move and scoop. The Loot action always makes me think of the gravitational style looting you get on video games when you run near gold and it gravitates towards you.

With this Loot ability, you’ll not be short of a few coins.

Overall Side Pouch card rating

With a support focused top, it’s not very aligned with this build. The Move 3, Loot is great though.

Level 4 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

Side Pouch is tempting. But it’s not as tempting as whacking monsters with a Giant Club!

What to drop

Crippling Bow is looking rather weak at level 4. Now that we have Scroll of Lightning for a bigger ranged damage option, we don’t need this 3 damage top anymore. We may miss the Immobilize range 4 on the bottom, but we were using this card for the top mostly anyway.

Level 4 Quartermaster deck

Level 4 Quartermaster build deck cards
Level 4 Quartermaster build deck cards
  • Bladed Boomerang
  • Crippling Bow
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Impaling Spear
  • Iron Bulwark
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Scroll of Recall

Level 5 Quartermaster cards

Level 5 Quartermaster cards - Reinforced Steel and Scroll of Judgment
Level 5 Quartermaster cards – Reinforced Steel and Scroll of Judgment

Reinforced Steel

Top ability

Wow! Even with starting items, we can see how useful this ability can be. Eagle-Eye Goggles could give us a permanent Advantage, Heater Shield could give us 1 Shield anytime we want it, we could add an extra jump with Winged Shoes.

If this is what it can do with starting items, you can see how this ability gets better with higher prosperity level items! We can choose what we want to refresh so we can have the bonus we need to match the situation we’re going into.

Bottom ability

Sweet! A Shield 2 to protect us when we need to tank and we can help out our allies too if they happen to be up front with us. This is a nice ability to use while we hang onto the top loss until a little later in the scenario!

Overall Reinforced Steel card rating

See that 12 initiative?! Exactly what we need when using a Shield to get it in place before the monsters come for us! And later in the scenario when we can afford to use a loss, we have that amazing top to refresh the items we want to use again!

Scroll of Judgment

Top ability

Woah! 4 range is a huge AoE! That’s basically an entire room! 2 damage isn’t very high, but this is direct damage so it will ignore all Shields. The damage potential for this card is immense! By my reckoning, if we’re in the centre a range 4 is 60 hexes! Even if we ‘only’ hit 10 monsters we’ve done 20 damage.

Not a bad trade for 2 health!

The single-target damage isn’t high enough to remove monsters from the board, but it’ll weaken all of them!

Bottom ability

This is a perfect combo. We can move up to a monster and immediately Stun them so they miss a turn. It’s especially effective for us because we can’t take loads of hits in our semi-tank role.

Overall Scroll of Judgment card rating

An awesome card! A lovely reusable ability that will protect us from damage and an incredible AoE on the top.

Level 5 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

This is the most difficult card choice so far! Either card is going to serve you really, really well. I took Reinforced Steel because we get another awesome AoE option at level 6.

What to drop

By level 5 I had access to a prosperity level 4 item that I could use alongside my Minor Stamina Potion to get back more discarded cards. Which meant I didn’t need to carry Scroll of Recall anymore to refresh my Minor Stamina Potion to increase my number of turns.

Level 5 Quartermaster deck

Level 5 Quartermaster build deck cards
Level 5 Quartermaster build deck cards
  • Bladed Boomerang
  • Giant Club
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Impaling Spear
  • Iron Bulwark
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Reinforced Steel

Level 6 Quartermaster cards

Level 6 Quartermaster cards - Catastrophic Bomb and Quiver of Arrows
Level 6 Quartermaster cards – Catastrophic Bomb and Quiver of Arrows

Catastrophic Bomb

Top ability

1,2,3,4… 12 hex AoE! Boom! At a range 3 too. We don’t even need to be near any monsters!

It only does 1 base damage across each hex but don’t let that fool you. If you play Sharpening Kit first you get a +1, use your Eagle-Eye Goggles for Advantage, use a Power Potion if you have one for another +1, add on the modifier card flips you’ll do for each hex, plus any items that give you damage bonuses and the damage output on this is incredible!

Bottom ability

Fun fact: In 1st edition, this ability used to cause and deliver 10 damage. In 2nd edition, it got nerfed to 7. Is it still worth doing? Absolutely! If you’re up against two monsters, 7 damage can be enough to finish them off. We’ve got 20 hit points at level 6 and we can use our Heal 4 on Sharpening Kit to get more than 50% of this back straight away.

Overall Catastrophic Bomb card rating

Awesome card! This is the reason why we didn’t feel too bad leaving Scroll of Judgment behind at level 5. Even the 46 initiative doesn’t bother us because we’ll be playing it alongside Sharpening Kit which has a faster initiative of 23.

Quiver of Arrows

Top ability

Wow! There are a few Gloomhaven classes where this ability is absolutely incredible! If you’re playing alongside one of them, you’ll know what I mean! That additional target could mean taking 2 monsters off the board in a turn instead of one.

If I were playing with one of these, I would probably have taken Quiver of Arrows instead! In this case, the damage output boost I could give to an ally would far outweigh anything I could do!

Bottom ability

Move 6 is a big Sprint across the board!

Overall Quiver of Arrows card rating

Worth taking if you have an ally with a hugely powerful ability they can benefit from an extra target. We’ll also get to add a pretty fast initiative card to our hand.

Level 6 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

Catastrophic Bomb.

What to drop

We don’t have a move on the bottom of the card we’re adding so we can’t afford to get rid of a card with a bottom move ability. Of the cards with a non-move bottom action, the one we will miss the least is Iron Bulwark.

The top 3 damage and Muddle is looking quite weak at level 6 and we’re replacing it with an ability that does a lot more damage. Plus, we have Shields on Crushing Hammer and Reinforced Steel and likely an item that grants Shield we can refresh, so we can still mitigate some damage as a part-time tank.

Level 6 Quartermaster deck

Level 6 Quartermaster build cards
Level 6 Quartermaster build cards
  • Bladed Boomerang
  • Giant Club
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Impaling Spear
  • Catastrophic Bomb
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Reinforced Steel

Level 7 Quartermaster cards

Level 7 Quartermaster cards - Refreshment and Scroll of Blizzards
Level 7 Quartermaster cards – Refreshment and Scroll of Blizzards

Refreshment

Top ability

So this is pretty neat, we can refresh an item that’s not normally refreshable. But who is long resting that often? Ideally, we want to minimize our long rests, because each one means a turn where were not doing any damage!

Reinforced Steel has a much better persistent loss with a reusable bottom ability that we can use in the meantime.

Bottom ability

With our 9 card hand limit, we’d benefit from this ability more than our allies!

But we can’t.

If we were going for a support build, would we want it? This ability would mean that whichever class you use it on is likely have a lot more turns than the rest of the group! They’ll be the last one standing. The issue is, that classes have a way of managing their cards that gets around low and limits, and players figure this out as they go.

So it’s a nice bonus but not really worth carrying this card around and using it as standard actions for the rest of the time.

Overall Refreshment card rating

A Double Loss card for a 9 card hand limit class really needs to earn its spot. And Refreshment doesn’t for this build. The bottom is support focused which we’re not, and the top is only applicable on long rests which we don’t really want to take if we can avoid them!

Scroll of Blizzards

Top ability

That’s a lot of little red dots! It has the same 1 base damage that we get with our other big AoE, so we can boost it in exactly the same way – Power Potion, Sharpening Kit, Eagle-Eye Goggles etc. Trouble is, we can only reliably boost one huge AoE regularly. The position of the hexes can make it tricky to get a monster in each one. You really need to use it when you first enter a room when the monsters tend to be clumped together.

It’s also at range 2 rather than 3, so we’re pretty close to the monsters when we throw snow in their faces and make them come after us!

What sets this apart from our other AoE ability is that little enhancement dot next to the damage value just asking for a Curse or Wound. Either will set you back 320 gold but will be amazing if you can afford it!

If you add Curse and get a monster in each hex, that’s 8 out of the maximum of 10 Curses going into the monster deck on one turn! That will stop a huge amount of damage to us and our teammates.

With Wound, we have 8 monsters affected by 1 direct damage per turn which ignores Shields. A lovely way to get rid of high-shielded, low-health monsters.

Bottom ability

“Get me outta here!” That’s what this ability is for. If you find yourself surrounded by monsters and you just need to get away from them this is perfect (providing they don’t have any ranged abilities!).

You can hit them all, stick them in place and move away from them! This bottom half also creates Dark which can be a huge bonus for a team with a particular class on it.

Overall Scroll of Blizzards card rating

Another huge AoE is really tempting and absolutely amazing when it’s enhanced. Otherwise, it’s tricky for us to boost it enough to make it worthwhile because we’re already boosting our other AoE which has better range and more hexes!

Level 7 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

It depends. If you’re dripping in gold then get Scroll of Blizzards. A reusable Wound or Curse AoE across loads of monsters is never going to get old!

If you’re not doing so well for cash, then you can go back to level 5 and get another AoE that’s more effective at dealing direct damage to an entire room of monsters! You got it, Scroll of Judgement! As an added bonus, we also get a Move and Stun to help us with tanking! Hurrah!

What to drop

Impaling Spear. It’s the least flexible level 1 card we have remaining.

Level 7 Quartermaster deck

Quartermaster level 7 build deck cards
Quartermaster level 7 build deck cards
  • Bladed Boomerang
  • Giant Club
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Scroll of Judgment
  • Catastrophic Bomb
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Reinforced Steel

Level 8 Quartermaster cards

Level 8 Quartermaster cards - Fortified Position and Portable Ballista
Level 8 Quartermaster cards – Fortified Position and Portable Ballista

Fortified Position

Top ability

Nope. We aren’t healing allies regularly with this build, we’re all about the damage with some tanking options whenever we can get them.

In Gloomhaven, you aren’t an ally of yourself. So we can’t heal ourselves with a ‘heal allies’ action.

We have Sharpening Kit if we desperately need to heal and our allies can’t help us. This just isn’t worth the loss.

Bottom ability

A lovely upgrade to the bottom of Crushing Hammer! One extra movement and another Shield.

Overall Fortified Position card rating

10 initiative, and a great bottom half but, why, oh, why did it need to have such a poor top ability? Ugh.

Portable Ballista

Top ability

That’s a decent line. 5 hexes with 4 damage on each, that’s 20 damage potentially. In reality, we probably get 3, maybe 4, monsters with this one regularly. But even so, that’s pretty decent! We only need to be adjacent to 1 monster to do it too! It’s a huge upgrade to Imapling Spear. if

Bottom ability

Very nice for getting through Shielded monsters! Now, providing we have a Power Potion, we can use our huge AoE on Shielded groups and still do at least 2 damage to each of them. We’ll be missing out on the damage from the top ability if we use it though.

Overall Portable Ballista card rating

This 41 initiative is ok. The top is amazing at dealing direct damage and we now have a way of getting through Shields to use on our AoE.

Level 8 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

Portable Ballista.

What to drop

A tricky swap. Let’s take it back to basics. We’re focused on damage primarily. So in terms of pure damage output from a single ability, Bladed Boomerang is lagging behind.

We are going to miss the move, hit, move sandwich but every other card is more important to us. They either do more damage, boost us to allow us to do more damage, help us to Shield or have movement that we need.

Bladed Boomerang goes.

Level 8 Quartermaster deck

Quartermaster level 8 build cards
Quartermaster level 8 build cards
  • Portable Ballista
  • Giant Club
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Scroll of Judgment
  • Catastrophic Bomb
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Reinforced Steel

Level 9 Quartermaster cards

Level 9 Quartermaster cards - Bag of Holding and Scroll of Annihilation
Level 9 Quartermaster cards – Bag of Holding and Scroll of Annihilation

Bag of Holding

Top ability

Want all the gold in the room? It’s yours! Every time.

Feels quite selfish to scoop all the loot when you’re already at level 9. When you retire a character in Gloomhaven all money the character owned is gone.

I’d feel bad using this card so late in my character’s journey and would rather some lower level allies got some loot instead. After all, when they get better, your party gets better.

Bottom ability

Pretty sweet that everyone can refresh all consumed items! There are some amazingly powerful ones in the game! This can make the end of a scenario an absolute breeze. If you have some awesome items in your party then you can pick this up and have some fun.

Overall Bag of Holding card rating

You’ll have the richest retirement of any Gloomhaven class if you take this card! A Loot 3 you use throughout the scenario until near the end will net you a lot of gold! But you can hope your allies forgive you a bit when you refresh all their consumed items in exchange!

Scroll of Annihilation

Top ability

‘normal or elite’. Elite? Yes please! That’s the toughest monster in the final room gone immediately. Bye!

Bottom ability

Yay! No damage for us until the end of the next turn from monsters nearby. This ability makes us a much more effective tank. Where was it at earlier levels? Oh yeah, not there because it’s so powerful!

Walking up to a few monsters and using this feels awesome. They block the way so their monster buddies can’t get close to you, and yet they can’t do anything to hurt you themselves!

Overall Scroll of Annihilation card rating

The bottom of this card is amazing. You’ll love using it over and over. The top makes the final room much easier too. It fits really well with our damage tank build because we get abilities that support both aspects.

Level 9 Quartermaster build

What to pick up

Scroll of Annihilation.

What to drop

Tough choice! It depends on how you play and what you like doing.

We need to make sure we have balance in top and bottom actions. Currently we play these cards mostly for their top:

Top ability cards

  • Portable Ballista
  • Giant Club
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Catastrophic Bomb

Bottom ability cards

  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Scroll of Judgment
  • Hastened Step
  • Reinforced Steel (until we want to play the persistent top loss.)

Scroll of Annihilation is mostly going to be a bottom action until the end so we need to look at the bottom action cards. Sharpening Kit we use with our AoE. Hastened Step is our only big move so we need to keep it. Which leaves Crushing Hammer and Scroll of Judgment. Crushing Hammer is still there for its 17 initiative, Move and useful Shield 1.

Scroll of Judgement is actually not too different to Scroll of Annihilation. Scroll of Annihilation will stop all adjacent monsters from hitting us rather than 1 which is nice and we can instantly take 1 difficult monster off the board, rather than hitting a lot of monsters for very little damage.

I dropped Scroll of Judgement.

Level 9 Quartermaster deck

Level 9 Quartermaster build cards
Level 9 Quartermaster build cards

So here’s our final deck! we got exactly the mix of cards we were looking for. Mostly damage with a mixture of melee, ranged, AoE and single target abilities, some crowd control, Shields and some damage boosts. We don’t have any abilities purely for supporting allies, though they might benefit from the bottom of the Sharpening Kit and Reinforced Steel if they are nearby!

  • Portable Ballista
  • Giant Club
  • Hastened Step
  • Scroll of Lightning
  • Scroll of Annihilation
  • Catastrophic Bomb
  • Sharpening Kit
  • Crushing Hammer
  • Reinforced Steel

Quartermaster Perks

Gloomhaven Quartermaster perks sheet
Gloomhaven Quartermaster perks sheet

Most of our perks help us with the damage aspect of the build and not the tanking aspect. However, we do have the classic perk that helps us equip armour without penalty. Yay! We take that perk first.

After that, we improve our number modifiers. And then add in the refresh items perks that are so good for us! Then we thin the 0s out of our deck to increase the chances of us drawing the good modifiers we’ve added so far before adding in all the rolling effects.

We add Stun first because it’s such a good effect – so good that we can’t add it as an enhancement! Then I added in the plus 1s, target followed by Muddle and Pierce. But it doesn’t hugely matter which order you add these in so long as you leave Pierce till last because it’s only useful against shielded monsters and you might flip it when facing a monster with no Shield.

  1. Ignore negative item effects and add two +1 cards
  2. Remove two-1 cards
  3. Remove two-1 cards
  4. Replace one +0 card with one +2 card
  5. Replace one +0 card with one +2 card
  6. Add one +0 refresh an item card
  7. Add one +0 refresh an item card
  8. Add one +0 refresh an item card
  9. Remove four +0 cards
  10. Add one rolling Stun card
  11. Add two rolling +1 cards
  12. Add two rolling +1 cards
  13. Add one rolling Add Target card
  14. Add three rolling Muddle cards
  15. Add two rolling Pierce 3 cards

Quartermaster Items

Quartermaster starting item cards - Eagle-Eye Goggles, Hide Armor, Poison Dagger, Heater Shield, Boots of Striding, Minor Stamina Potion and Minor Power Potion
Quartermaster starting item cards – Eagle-Eye Goggles, Hide Armor, Poison Dagger, Heater Shield, Boots of Striding, Minor Stamina Potion and Minor Power Potion

Items are the Quartermaster’s thing! With Reinforced Steel and our perks allowing us to Refresh spent items, grabbing items that are spent rather than consumed is a huge bonus for us because we can use them over and over!

You’ll also benefit more from higher prosperity items than other classes purely because you can use them more frequently!

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

Eagle-Eye Goggles

30 gold

Not hugely important before you get your huge AoE, but definitely get them afterwards.

Hide Armor

10 gold

Several extra Shields during a scenario thanks to our refresh items perk and abilities!

Poison Dagger

20 gold

Pretty cheap way to get Poison on a bunch of monsters!

Heater Shield

20 gold

Some more bonus Shields!

Boots of Striding

20 gold

We start out with pretty good movement but get slower as we level because we swap out some move options for slower ones. So boots that help with movement become more important later in your adventure.

Stamina Potion

We only have a 9 card hand limit so we really need this. We can only have one item of each type, but if another type of potion comes available that gives you cards back, I’d suggest you get one of those as well!

Minor Power Potion

To boost our big AoE!

Quartermaster Enhancements

Compared to other classes, the Quartermaster doesn’t have as many enhancement slots on his cards. And good reason too. Because of all the item refresh perks we get, we’re just as well spending our money on items instead.

Having said that, there are some fairly low-cost enhancements we can put on our reusable abilities that make a big difference.

Strengthen on Crushing Hammer Shield (bottom)

50 gold

Now we can have Advantage whenever we want! Particularly helpful just before any multi-target ability like Impaling Spear or Portable Ballista. We can’t use it just before our big AoE because we’re boosting that with the bottom of Sharpening Kit instead.

+1 on Hastened Step Move (top)

30 gold

You’ll be especially thankful for this additional movement option at higher levels as your movement options reduce.

Jump on Hastened Step Move (bottom)

50 gold

A nice perk to have. It means you can avoid traps, get around obstacles and monsters and generally have more options on where you go.

+1 Heal on Sharpening Kit (top)

30 gold

If you’re using the top of Sharpening Kit rather than the bottom like you usually would to increase your damage, then it’s because things aren’t going to plan. In these cases, an extra 1 heal is very, very welcome! Plus, it’s cheap enhancement to get!

Quartermaster Experience

Gloomhaven Quartermaster Class board showing hit points and experience by level
Gloomhaven Quartermaster Class board showing hit points and experience by level

You’ll level at a regular rate as the Quartermaster. There aren’t any abilities that will give you loads of experience points from using them once.

The good news is that many reusable abilities have 1 experience point on them and you’ll be using them regularly. Those 1 experience points soon add up.

Quartermaster Combos

One great thing about this Quartermaster build is its versatility. You can respond to what’s going on around you. If you’ve just entered a room and the monsters are all bunched up, get an AoE in there. If you’re facing a couple of monsters head on, Stun or Disarm one of them one and focus high damage on the other. Need to take some hits for the team? Throw up a shield.

Having said that, there are some cool combos that I see as being ‘classic’ Quartermaster.

Big, boosted AoE! (Level 6)

  1. Play the bottom of Sharpening Kit for +1 damage. Lead with its 23 initiative.
  2. Use your Eagle-Eye Goggles for Advantage.
  3. Use your Power Potion for another +1 damage.
  4. Play the top of Catastrophic Bomb for that sweet AoE.

Infinite Turn

Even though we didn’t use this combo in this build, no Combos section for the Quartermaster would be complete without this!

Turn 1

  1. Play top of Scroll of Recall to refresh your Stamina Potion.
  2. Play bottom of any other card.

Turn 2

  1. Play top of Sharpening Kit to heal self and gain an experience point.
  2. Play bottom of Reforge to pick up your two discarded cards from turn 1.
  3. Use Stamina Potion to pick up Sharpening Kit and Reforge.

Repeat over and over up doing the Quartermaster infinite loop until level 9.

Quartermaster Names

Our Valrath Quartermaster is the master of all implements. They resupply their allies and themselves with all the kit they need to take down monsters all day long! They can handle themselves, dishing out powerful damage and raising shields for protection. Despite specializing in adventuring kit, they are a diplomatic and peaceful soul with a head for business. With these traits in mind, my Quartermaster was called Aiden Hawker.

Here are some more Quartermaster name ideas I came up with just for fun.

  • Ward Cudgel
  • Kris Talwar
  • Hal Berd
  • Rusty Helm
  • Chief Lancet
  • Rod Buckler
  • Dirk Magnate
  • Axle Broker
  • Vend Armin
  • Billy Club

Conclusion – Gloomhaven Quartermaster Guide – Damage Tank

The Quartermaster damage tank build is fantastic fun to play! It feels great to have a hand of abilities that allows you to hit things and take hits for your team when needed.

As you get better and better items through scenarios and increased Prosperity, you will love this character even more! I hope you enjoy it!

I’m currently creating guides for all the locked classes! If you enjoyed this Quartermaster 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 Lightning Bolt 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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