Gloomhaven’s Cragheart: An Ultimate Strategy and Builds Guide

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The Savvas Cragheart class is arguably the most flexible of the starting classes. It’s the biggest advantage is being built as a support or damage-dealing character. However, one of the easiest builds to play for this class is the ranged damage dealer.

One interesting note about this character is that it is one of the most unique of the starting classes. It doesn’t fit very well into any normal RPG role.

This guide will cover possible builds for the Cragheart. The “Ranged Damage Dealer” build will mainly focus on ranged damage output, with a lot of AoE focus. We will also cover all of the cards in detail at the end.

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Cragheart Build Variants

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Ranged Damage Dealer

A standard ranged damage dealer build. This will work with pretty much any group. However, this class puts out a large amount of AoE and ally damage which makes the situational cards better in smaller groups.

Level 1 CardsCard SelectionCore ItemsPerk Order
Heaving SwingLevel 2
Sentient Growth replaces Rock Tunnel
1. Boots of Striding1. Replace one -1 card with one +1 card (three times)
Crushing GraspLevel 3
Clear the Way replaces Crushing Grasp
2. Minor Healing Potion2. Remove four +0 cards
Unstable UpheavalLevel 4
Rock Slide replaces Unstable Upheaval
3. Heater Shield3. Add two earth cards
Rumbling AdvanceLevel 5
Petrify replaces Dirt Tornado
4. Minor Stamina Potion4. Ignore negative item effects
Massive BoulderLevel 6
Cataclysm replaces Crater
5. Add one +1 Immobilize Card (twice)
Backup AmmunitionLevel 7
Meteor replaces Opposing Strike
Forceful StormLevel 8
Rocky End replaces Massive Boulder
Earthen ClodLevel 9
Blind Destruction replaces Rumbling Advance
Dirt Tornado
Crater
Rock Slide

Cragheart Perks

The Cragheart perk choices are middling compared to other classes. We want to focus mostly on increasing our odds. In order to do that, replacing one -1 card with a +1 card is our best choice. Removing +0 cards is a good choice afterward.

After increasing our odds, our choices will diverge based on the goals of the build. Ignoring negative item effects is a good choice if we have armor. Otherwise, adding earth generation can be useful if you have chosen cards that will benefit from it.

Immobilize and muddle are a great addition after our odds of picking a good card have increased.

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Cragheart Cards

Level 1 Cards

Good

  • Forceful Storm
  • Massive Boulder
  • Crushing Grasp
  • Backup Ammunition
  • Rumbling Advance

Okay

  • Heaving Swing
  • Opposing Strike
  • Unstable Upheaval
  • Nature’s Lift
  • Rock Tunnel
  • Crater
  • Dirt Tornado
  • Earthen Clod

Bad

  • Avalanche

Crater

The top action is good normally. It can be great if you have a consistent source of earth. The bottom action is less useful since it consumes a card.

Since there is a situational aspect of doing damage to allies and the bad initiative, this action won’t get used often.

Dirt Tornado

The top half of this card is a solid AoE but with the negative of ally damage. To do the most damage you want to throw yourself in the middle of a group of enemies with no allies nearby, which kind of sucks.

The bottom half gives us a move 3 which would be nice if it had a good initiative. To get the most out of this, you will have to be paired with a good initiative card.

Earthen Clod

The top half has a good range with a mediocre attack. Pretty much the only situation this is worthwhile is when we have earth to use the immobilize.

As with the other Gloomhaven guides, if given the choice, we will choose any other way to mitigate damage rather than heal. So the bottom isn’t a great option either.

Forceful Storm

The top action is just the right amount of damage to make it worth a card loss. The disarm is really what gives us a reason to use it. Useful when you’re ready to burn a card.

The bottom action focuses on focuses on melee damage which is just okay for this class. The initiative isn’t actually that bad for this class but isn’t great either. We can overlook that for the top action.

Massive Boulder

The top half of this action has friendly AoE damage, which makes this situational. However, it does generate earth which is useful for us.

The bottom half of the card is a move 4 which is a lot for the Cragheart class. This is the most useful part of the card. Partner this with a higher initiative and you can have yourself a decent escape plan.

Avalanche

The top half of this card gives us a possible attack 8 and more if we have earth. Unfortunately, the card loss makes the action less attractive.

The bottom half of the card is interesting but doesn’t tend to be super valuable. Often we will choose to move before making an obstacle.

Crushing Grasp

The top half of this card is straightforward with a non-card loss attack 3 and immobilize. Stacking on the earth generation really adds value to how often we can use the element.

The bottom half is just a loot. It won’t get used often but is handy sometimes.

Overall, the top action along with the “fast” initiative for the class make this a keeper.

Heaving Swing

Attack 3 on top is useful but, like I’ve said on other Gloomhaven guides, push 1 doesn’t buy you much. The true damage makes it more enticing, but I promise the situation won’t come up that often.

Normally the bottom action wouldn’t be enticing. However, since we have so much ranged damage potential in this class it makes it semi-useful. Not a go-to action but not a bad move.

Initiative is decent as well which is a plus.

Opposing Strike

Attack 3 on top is decent but you won’t be put in many positions where you will hit two targets, so we’ll chalk this up as just 3 damage.

Retaliate, although better for this class that moves so slowly, is a bad action as far as value goes.

Unstable Upheaval

Either action on this card is situation and is consumed when used. They both also hurt allies.

The top action is basically a 20 hex bomb with an attack 3. Unfortunately, you’ll definitely hit some of your buddies. Definitely situational in that we would want tons of enemies around and earth at our disposal to use it.

The bottom action isn’t especially useful. Damaging allies to save damage isn’t usually worth the move. Without a doubt, the best thing about this card is the initiative. Unfortunately, with both actions being pretty brutal if used in the wrong context, we won’t take advantage of it often.

Backup Ammunition

The top action on this card is especially useful when going for a ranged build. Unfortunately, the card loss makes it less useful since you will naturally want to use this earlier in the round.

The bottom move 3 is something we can use until the top is used. So no complaints on this action.

Nature’s Lift

The top action heal is useful if you are building a supporting character. Otherwise, this tends to not get used much.

The bottom action doesn’t complement the top well since it is a card loss. Also, we won’t have a consistent source of wind. So this action isn’t very useful.

Rumbling Advance

The top action, again, is great for a support build. In addition, the earth generation is great for Cragheart.

The bottom action gives us a decent movement action with some earth generation. Unfortunately, it will be slightly situational since we will want to avoid adjacent allies. This gets worse with larger groups.

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Level 2 Cards

Either of these cards is a good choice. Grab explosive punch if you are lacking movement or initiative. Otherwise, Sentient Growth will give more kick to your hand.

Sentient Growth

In larger parties, this card makes more sense to go after. The top ranged attack with a heal will give us a lot of chances to be used.  The bottom move 2 isn’t quite as useful as the move 4 of Explosive Punch but goes a little further with added attack and healing. Again, this card will often be useful.

Explosive Punch

The top half of this card is extremely situational. You won’t run in too many chances to get more than 4 damage out of it and, when you do, it will usually put out 8 damage. Doesn’t justify a card loss most of the time. Luckily, the bottom move 4 is good to have and, coupled with the good initiative, makes this card an okay choice.

Level 3 Cards

Clear the Way is the better choice here. Blunt Force is too weak to make up for the card loss.

Blunt Force

Our top action on this card only puts out 8 damage max for a card loss. And that’s if we have earth to consume. Needless to say, this is behind the curve. The bottom is slightly more useful, but with only 2 moves and a retaliation it doesn’t make up for the top action.

Clear the Way

This card gives us another situational top action that can do a decent amount of damage if enemies are grouped together. Fortunately, an earlier card allows us to make obstacles which makes this more useful. The bottom move 5 would be very nice if it wasn’t a card loss. However, being able to disarm traps and remove obstacles is useful for the group.

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Level 4 Cards

Either of these is an okay choice. I tend to lean towards Rock Slide for the movement on the bottom.

Kinetic Assault

An attack 4 non-loss card top half is pretty good. Throw in the initiative and it’s excellent for this class. Unfortunately, the bottom half adds no value. We will lose a card for retaliate 3, and retaliate is low on the list of things we want anyway. If you go for this card, it’s for the top action.

Rock Slide

This top action can really add some AoE damage to your hand. It also gives us a great way to create obstacles and capitalize on Clear the Way. The only downside here is the ally damage which makes it slightly situational. If you grabbed Clear The Way earlier, go with this card.

Level 5 Cards

Petrify will be a better choice since it will scale as enemies get stronger and give us some offensive movement on the bottom.

Petrify

This card’s value actually goes up as the game progresses. Enemies become more difficult to kill, so an instant kill is a nice option for a card loss later. The addition of the obstacle generation is alright as well. The bottom action is really the icing on the cake here, the move 3 gives us a way to use this card until we are ready to use the top action. Immobilize is a nice perk to using this as well.

Stone Pummel

The top action initially looks pretty nice. Unfortunately, you will need to be in the middle of a group of enemies to use it. Without any real efficiency in tanking, this is a dangerous position to be in. We can easily generate obstacles now, which makes the bottom useful. However, we will rely on having consistent melee attacks. If you’ve built up a decent melee deck this could be useful but usually isn’t worth the bad top action.

Level 6 Cards

Cataclysm is always a better choice.

Cataclysm

One of the best cards we’ve encountered up to this point. A huge AoE with immobilization is right up Craghearts alley. We will often have earth to use to make this top action even more powerful. The bottom action is exactly what we want in a bottom action for this class. A move 3 that can be supercharged with earth to make a move 6! This is our best non-loss movement card. The fast initiative of 26 for this class is also a great feature to round this card out.

Dig Pit

The top action isn’t particularly helpful. On paper it sounds neat but getting enemies to walk into traps isn’t the cleanest method of stunning them.  The bottom action is okay with a move 2 and the invisibility is sweet. However, we aren’t going to beat Cataclysms bottom action.

Level 7 Cards

Usually Meteor will be the better choice at this level.

Brutal Momentum

We have a solid top action on this card that can deal 3 to 7 damage with no card loss. The bottom action combines extremely well with some of our ranged AoE attacks. Definitely worth using.

Meteor

The top action is great when it works. Finding 3 hexes that are open to use this card isn’t common which makes this card very situational. With it being consumed as well, it makes this top action a hard sell. The bottom action is better and with a good initiative it almost outweighs the bad top action. Almost.

Level 8 Cards

Choose Rocky End for a ranged build. Grab Lumbering Bash for a support role.

Rocky End

The top action is a great option if you’ve been picking up all those obstacles generating cards. Generally, you will spend a round generating obstacles to destroy smaller enemies then destroy all of the obstacles you’ve created in one attack for an elite. Definitely a fun strategy.

The bottom action is another great move that actually often sets up the top action with the obstacle stipulation. With a slightly above average initiative, this action is useful.

Lumbering Bash

Attack 5 on a non-loss card top action is slightly above average. What stands out about the top action is the move. The best top action move we have so far. This is the best reason to take this card. The bottom action is great if you are focusing on a healing role. Otherwise, it can be pretty useless. 

Level 9 Cards

Pulverize will be easier to find a use for, so that is usually the best choice.

Pulverize

The top action is useful but situational since you want to be in the middle of a group of enemies to use it. If you do end up in this situation it turns into a great card. I’m not a big fan of the attack-move-attack cards and this one is no different. 5 damage spread across multiple enemies with a card loss, even with a move 5 to sweeten the deal, is lackluster at this level.

Blind Destruction

The top action is a worthwhile card with attack 4 and no card loss. However, it can be situational, particularly if you have multiple melee allies. The bottom action is even more situational than the top. Finding a useful 4 hex movement without passing a friendly unit is just frustrating to deal with.

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