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on: November 17, 2017 at 10:33PM

Two-character party good and bad combination guide (starting 6 classes only) via /r/Gloomhaven


Two-character party good and bad combination guide (starting 6 classes only)

A couple of people asked about this yesterday and I've seen questions about it before so I figured I'd make a guide for it in an easy-to-see place. This guide is obviously primarily intended to help new players who will be playing in a party of only two characters decide on a party setup that will work for them.

Why me? Well, I've played a large amount of Gloomhaven with just my fiancee (around 50 scenarios) so while I have very little experience with four-character parties, I have a lot of experience working with just two. Accordingly, I feel very confident talking about what works and what doesn't in such a party size. The one caveat: I have never played or played with the Mindthief in a party of 2, so anything I say about that class will be purely conjecture based on seeing/playing the class in larger parties.

I will do this on a class-by-class basis so that someone who, for example, wants to play a Scoundrel can easily look and see which combinations work well and which don't.

  • Brute
  1. Scoundrel: A classic Brute combination (although more to the benefit of the Scoundrel than Brute). Two melee single-target damage dealers, the combination involves the Brute walking in to set them up and the Scoundrel following to finish them off. A very good combination, although it does have its weaknesses that do need to be played around. Typically, the Scoundrel is much faster than the Brute so they may have trouble approaching the same enemy on the same round as the Brute may struggle to consistently go before the Scoundrel. Thus, many times the Brute may have to go in a round earlier, which can lead to getting hit. Poor healing options mean you need to be careful about taking too much damage. Limited aoe leads to you wanting to isolate and pick-off enemies rather than simply charge directly into the fray.

  2. Mindthief: Very similar combination to Brute + Scoundrel, the Mindthief is another fast single-target melee damage-dealer. Deals a bit less damage than the Scoundrel but is also more flexible as he doesn't need to get in after the Brute, can absorb some hits with his summon, and has a fair amount of cc. Another good combination.

  3. Spellweaver: A great combination that really has everything (I believe it is one of the two best starting combinations of 2 classes alongside Spellweaver + Cragheart as it has both a ton of power and flexibility). Everything the Brute is not, the Spellweaver is, and vice-versa. These two classes perfectly compliment each other with aoe, single-target, ranged, melee, anti-Shield, healing, tankiness, etc.

  4. Cragheart: While the first three combinations are very good, I think this one is just fine. The Cragheart has a lot of aoe which can also affect allies meaning he typically works better with ranged allies than melee ones who complicate his targeting. Thus, this combination has a bit of anti-synergy as the Brute wants to spend more time near enemies than any of the other starting classes. Still, the combination works just fine as the Cragheart provides some healing when needed and a fair amount of ranged damage + aoe. Also, by having two naturally tanky characters, movement is very flexible. It's basically like taking the Spellweaver combination only making the aoe worse and replacing it with a tankier ally who has more healing. More healing isn't super important at two characters and you don't really need another tanky character but it still works.

  5. Tinkerer: The only Brute combination I would not recommend. The Tinkerer specializes in healing, which is just not very good in two-character parties (it's great to have a little but never good to have a lot). In exchange for being the best starting class at healing, the Tinkerer is the worst starting class at damage-dealing, which means he really wants an ally who does a lot of damage to make up for his lack and he doesn't really need the Brute's tankiness since he can heal and is quite tanky (12 cards) anyway.

  • Scoundrel
  1. Brute: A classic Scoundrel combination. Two melee single-target damage dealers, the combination involves the Brute walking in to set them up and the Scoundrel following to finish them off. A very good combination, although it does have its weaknesses that do need to be played around. Typically, the Scoundrel is much faster than the Brute so they may have trouble approaching the same enemy on the same round as the Brute may struggle to consistently go before the Scoundrel. Thus, many times the Brute may have to go in a round earlier, which can lead to getting hit. Poor healing options mean you need to be careful about taking too much damage. Limited aoe leads to you wanting to isolate and pick-off enemies rather than simply charge directly into the fray.

  2. Mindthief: Another great Scoundrel combo. The Mindthief is a melee damage-dealer like the Brute, only he gives up tankiness to be faster and deal more damage. That's actually perfect for the Scoundrel as it aligns itself with her typical plan of "kill stuff before it hits you." The tankiness that's lost isn't even very important as the Scoundrel goes faster than the Brute most of the time, meaning she's likely to take the hits just as much anyway. And the Mindthief is much faster than the Brute, making it much easier to pull off the 1-2 combo with the Scoundrel. Of course, upping the squishiness factor means you need to be even more careful to avoid taking damage, although the Mindthief can pull out his summon to tank some hits if you get into a rough spot. There's also even less aoe (the Brute had a little) so you really need to try to separate enemies and fight them individually or in small groups as much as possible.

  3. Spellweaver: Not even once. This combo is (in)famous as the starting bad combo. No melee ally to approach enemies to help the Scoundrel and two very squishy people leads to a bad time. Of absolutely any starting combo, I would avoid this one the most.

  4. Cragheart: Below average, I wouldn't suggest it, but I suppose it can work if you're really committed to playing these two characters. The Scoundrel wants a melee ally because of her "flanking" cards and the Cragheart is not that. He is tanky, so he can theoretically move into melee without getting overly punished, but he personally has no reason to want to most of the time as he's mostly a ranged damage-dealer. And, of course, his ally-damaging aoe can be quite hazardous to the squishy Scoundrel. If you play this combo, one of these two classes will be playing at a significant handicap.

  5. Tinkerer: Similarly to with the Cragheart, another below average combo for the Scoundrel. Again, the Scoundrel needs a melee ally to really be effective and the Tinkerer has very few reasons to ever want to go in melee. The only thing that makes this potentially slightly better (still not recommended) than the Cragheart combo is that the Tinkerer, by nature, doesn't mind making sacrifices to help an ally out, so you may be able to supercharge the Scoundrel enough to make it work (although I doubt it, I wouldn't play this combo by choice).

  • Tinkerer
  1. I'll make this section a lot shorter by not going through all the characters that can pair with the Tinkerer. Unfortunately, the Tinkerer is the one starting class that is quite handicapped in a two-character party. He specializes in healing and there's no way around the fact that healing just isn't that great as two. He can deal damage, but worse than any other starting character, and damage is what you'll want most of the time when you're just two characters. The only two-character party I think can do decently with the Tinkerer is the Spellweaver. The Spellweaver can (mostly) make up for the Tinkerer's lack of damage by dealing a lot of damage from range. The Tinkerer can use his few decent aoes in conjunction with the Spellweaver's aoes to take down large groups together and otherwise just focus on cc'ing enemies that get close. The Mindthief also does a lot of damage but has to get in melee range and is much too squishy for the Tinkerer to keep alive, while the Tinkerer also can't regularly be relied upon to finish off the enemies that Mindthief approaches. The Brute doesn't deal enough damage to make up for the Tinkerer's lack of damage. With the Cragheart you have another ranged aoe class like the Spellweaver only less damage and more healing, which doesn't work with the Tinkerer who is already heavily into healing. And of course the Scoundrel needs a melee ally, which the Tinkerer is not.
  • Cragheart
  1. Spellweaver: One of the two best starting two-character combos (alongside Spellweaver + Brute) and it may actually be the best. Honestly, playing this combo feels a bit like cheating. You have copious amounts of aoe damage without any melee allies, so you let the enemies come to you and pick them off one at a time or in groups. If any enemies do get into damage-dealing range, the Cragheart can tank some hits with the best of them and provide some healing afterwards. His obstacle manipulation also perfectly compliments a combo of aoe-based ranged characters as he can easily set up death zones, or can be used to slow down enemies as you kill them one by one.

  2. Tinkerer: The Tinkerer is mostly a healing-based support class, at least early on, and the Cragheart already has more than enough healing for a party of two. The Tinkerer does bring some aoe but is overall lacking damage, which is what the Cragheart wants most from a partner. Not a good combo.

  3. Scoundrel: Below average, I wouldn't suggest it, but I suppose it can work if you're really committed to playing these two characters. The Scoundrel wants a melee ally because of her "flanking" cards and the Cragheart is not that. He is tanky, so he can theoretically move into melee without getting overly punished, but he personally has no reason to want to most of the time as he's mostly a ranged damage-dealer. And, of course, his ally-damaging aoe can be quite hazardous to the squishy Scoundrel. If you play this combo, one of these two classes will be playing at a significant handicap.

  4. Brute: The Cragheart has a lot of aoe which can also affect allies meaning he typically works better with ranged allies than melee ones who complicate his targeting. Thus, this combination has a bit of anti-synergy as the Brute wants to spend more time near enemies than any of the other starting classes. Still, the combination works just fine as the Cragheart provides some healing when needed and a fair amount of ranged damage + aoe. Also, by having two naturally tanky characters, movement is very flexible. Not a great combo but not a bad one either.

  5. Mindthief: I have no shame in saying I've never witnessed this combo in action so I have no idea how it would work. I'm guessing not great but it's purely a guess.

  • Spellweaver
  1. Cragheart: One of the two best starting two-character combos (alongside Spellweaver + Brute) and it may actually be the best. Honestly, playing this combo feels a bit like cheating. You have copious amounts of aoe damage without any melee allies, so you let the enemies come to you and pick them off one at a time or in groups. If any enemies do get into damage-dealing range, the Cragheart can tank some hits with the best of them and provide some healing afterwards. His obstacle manipulation also perfectly compliments a combo of aoe-based ranged characters as he can easily set up death zones, or can be used to slow down enemies as you kill them one by one.

  2. Brute: A great combination that really has everything (I believe it is one of the two best starting combinations of 2 classes alongside Spellweaver + Cragheart as it has both a ton of power and flexibility). Everything the Brute is not, the Spellweaver is, and vice-versa. These two classes perfectly compliment each other with aoe, single-target, ranged, melee, anti-Shield, healing, tankiness, etc.

  3. Scoundrel: Not even once. This combo is (in)famous as the starting bad combo. No melee ally to approach enemies to help the Scoundrel and two very squishy people leads to a bad time. Of absolutely any starting combo, I would avoid this one the most.

  4. Tinkerer: Not nearly as bad as the Scoundrel, but still not very good. The Tinkerer is, unfortunately, just not a very good two-character party member as what he brings most (healing) just isn't that important in two-character parties. Still, the Tinkerer can support the Spellweaver with some aoe of his own and a bit of cc, so it's possible to make it work, just far from ideal. I would say this combo is fine, at best.

  5. Mindthief: I believe this is not a very good combo because both characters are squishy but one is still melee. That being said, I have no experience with it so I can't say anything with certainty, still I'm sure you have better options.

  • Mindthief
  1. As I said in the beginning, I have no experience with the Mindthief in a two-character party. That being said, I can say pretty confidently that it works well with the Scoundrel and Brute. Beyond that, I think the rest are not very good combos.

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