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Gloomhaven - Mindthief and Scoundrel Invisibility Guide (Useful Tips)

Written by Noules   /   Dec 1, 2019    


Taking damage is a pain. Some basic and less basic tips on how to use an all-invisibility pair of Mindthief and Scoundrel.

The Fundamentals



Invisibility is a very powerful status effect, but can be tricky to use properly without a good grasp of the basics of how the game operates.

The most important thing to understand first is just when buffs and debuffs are removed from entities in the game. In particular, most buffs are removed at the end of the next turn taken by the entity with the buff with a few exception not directly relevant for this guide. This is key to making the most of invisibility.

The general idea, therefore, is to go early in the round when applying invisibility, and go late in the next round when already invisible - specifically, you want to go before the enemies on the turn you want to become invisible, and you want to go after your enemies on the turn your invisibility will wear off. This allows a single use of invisibility to essentially waste two sets of attacks from your enemies, and is the key to making the invisibility build work.

So the first thing to remember is: Go into invisibility early, come out of invisibility late. Design your hand to facilitate this behavior.

The second thing to remember is that you are on a clock in Gloomhaven. You have a very limited number of plays to finish the scenario, so you can't afford to waste turns. Your objective is always to generate damage and eliminate enemies. This means that as powerful as invisibility is, it needs to be used in a way to set up your attacks. Avoiding enemy attacks is only a means to an end.

So the second thing to remember is: Invisibility should be used aggressively. Design your hand and strategy to support this behavior.

What Does Invisibility Actually Do?



A number of things, mostly good:

  • The invisible character can't be attacked or targeted by hostile effects. This goes for area of effect abilities, too. The invisible character is effectively immune to enemy characters.
  • The invisible character can still take damage from effects that directly cause damage, particularly traps and retribution effects.
  • The invisible character can't be selected as an enemy focus. The details of how enemy movement is determined is beyond the scope of this guide, but essentially, the enemy focus is the 'main target that enemy is trying to get to'. It is the primary determinant in how the enemies move.
  • The invisible character is treated as an obstacle by enemies for the purposes of calculating paths. This is extremely important to understand as it can cause significant changes in the enemy behavior. The two most relevant things to remember is that

    a) if there is no path that leads to a target, the enemy entity will not move (this also occurs if there are no available targets, e.g. every potential hostile target is invisible);

    b) if there are no paths that avoids all traps or hazards (no matter how long), the enemy entity will be willing to go through traps or hazards to get to the target.

The last bullet is the most important thing to remember: if there is no way to eventually get to a valid target, the enemy will not move; if the only way to eventually get to a valid target is to go through traps, the enemy will go through traps. Careful use of invisibility with a far away, visible target can lead to the enemy killing themselves on their own traps.

Common Tips



For the most part, the Mindthief and Scoundrel can operate independently. The main exception is coordinating your invisibility uses.

The basic observation is that invisibility is only really useful if it results in a net loss of enemy attacks; if one character goes invisible but it just leads to the other character eating all the attacks, the invisibility probably isn't helping. This usually means both characters should go invisible together, but this is not always the case - the key consideration is avoiding enemy attacks.

If your characters are separated enough, it can make more sense to stagger the invisibility uses while the enemy spends time just running back and forth. It's important to account for movement in those cases, however; one of the big advantage of simultaneous invisibility is that you can essentially exactly predict the enemy positions ahead of time.

While the Scoundrel has many abilities that benefit from being near their allies, it's often overkill with the amount of single target damage the Mindthief can already put out. You should probably be going daggers on the Scoundrel instead.

The first piece of gear you should always buy (and this is true for essentially any class) is the Minor Stamina Potion. This is probably the single most impactful piece of equipment you can get - until the Major Stamina Potion (and it's still extremely valuable at that point).

The best way to get consistent value from the Minor Stamina Potion is to line it up during a round where your hand has an odd number of cards - this allows you to squeeze an extra turn before the rest. Of course, it's also extremely useful at almost any time just to get your high value (like, say, your invisibility) card back to use again, but it's definitely ideal on your odd hand rounds.

You generally want to use the Minor Stamina Potion as soon as you can get good value; using it early means you get better options throughout the rest of the scenario since you're essentially a turn behind the curve. It's like taking negative damage.

Specifically for this pairing, this lets the Scoundrel rest at the same time as the Mindthief, making the coordination much simpler for the first rest. For the Mindthief, it's usually an emergency use, since otherwise he doesn't get much value until the third rest (10 to start, 8 during the second hand due to augment, then 7 on third hand - but can drop augment for 8 instead if longevity is needed).

Unfortunately, the game seems to only allow 1 copy of a given equipment per character, so no stam pot stacking like on tabletop.

Get Eagle-Eye Goggles, and don't take rolling modifier perks (especially important for Scoundrels). If you don't have rolling modifiers and you don't have curses. Eagle-Eye Goggles (or advantage in general) means you will never miss. Scoundrels in particular can completely eliminate all negative modifiers besides the miss, meaning they can put themselves in a position where they are guaranteed to do at least listed damage when using the goggles. Combined with their multi-attacks, this can remove a lot of randomness from the game.

Get Invis cloaks. One extra turn of invisibility (which, if you are using this correctly, should be two turns of enemy attacks) whenever you need it is extremely valuable. Unlike most other defenses, this scales with the enemies, making it always good - as long as the usage is coordinated to actually reduce attacks instead of redirecting them.

Top abilities with movement and bottom abilities with attacks/damage are very valuable as they often allow you to focus your actions during your turns (or effectively attack twice and move). In particular, the reusable invisibility effects are movement abilities, making top-movement cards virtually required for best use. Always consider these sort of genre-breaking cards to see if you can find a spot for them.

Mindthief Basic Strategy



The Mindthief comes standard with all the tools he really needs for this playstyle (or at least all the tools the Mindthief can get). While there are a couple of ways you can build the Mindthief, for this pairing you primarily need strong single target damage rather than heavy crowd control.

The biggest problem for the Mindthief ends up being mobility. The Mindthief has many bottom attack options, but moving around at the same time is tough. You will likely want to have +movement boots to be able to make the most out of the movement you can do, and any bottom attack cards with movement attached to them is generally very valuable. For similar reasons, Scurry is one of the most valuable cards available to the Mindthief, powering the basic invisibility combo as well as being just good when you can use it. Try not to lose it.

Your basic starting combo:

Turn 1: Into The Night (14) / Scurry

14 is generally fast enough for the invisibility. Since you don't want this to be a dead turn, and you want to be in position for future turns, you will want a top movement option, which is pretty much just Scurry. Scurry is 20 initiative, and you want to go invis as early as possible, so Into The Night face up. As both of your characters should be invisible before the enemy goes this turn, and you should be going extremely slowly on turn 2, the enemy (probably) won't move from their original positions; put yourself in the optimal location based on this information.

This is a good turn to consider using your Poison Dagger (if you have one) since you generally get the most benefit using it early.

Turn 2: The Mind's Weakness (75) / Some card with good attacking bottom

The choice of which card to be face up depends on what card you are playing, but under most circumstances the 75 from The Mind's Weakness is probably the going to be the slower play. You want to go late here so your invisibility covers the enemy's turn 2 actions if possible.

The other card to play depends a lot on circumstances (and levels). Brain Leech (lvl 3) is very good, as it provides a melee attack to immediately buff with TMW and provides advantage for turn 3. Perverse Edge can be good if you anticipate needing a double stun (one from Perverse Edge which generates frost, then Frigid Apparition on turn 3, eating the frost).

You normally don't want to spend an actual movement card here if you can help it; hopefully you positioned yourself well enough that you can spend all three of your turns blasting away (possibly ending with a movement on turn 3). Bottom attack cards with movement attached to them can be a great play here.

At this point you should consider whether or not you'll need to stam pot to get your invisibility back. If you expect to take only one or two attacks per character before you clear the room (this should be typical), you should probably let it go. Otherwise (this should mean majority of the enemies are in the first room), you probably will want to stam pot - major if possible, so you get the extra turn. Alternatively just rely on your invis cloak if you need in on turn 3.

Note that using a major stam pot may mean you need to either change your next room strategy, rely on the Scoundrel also using a major stam pot, or waste some cards; try to make sure you're really going to need the second invisibility before fetching it from discard.

This is usually the turn I spend my goggles (use it on TMW). Often my turn 2 bottom play is Brain Leech, covering advantage for turn 3 - generally the most important turn - and the 4 potential damage from TMW (with poison) is something you probably were counting on. If you know you'll need a good turn 4 you may want to save the goggles, but a good early turn often means you don't need a good turn later.

Turn 3: Some fast card / Depends on circumstance

At this point what you play depends a lot on the situation. Hopefully, you've either stunned enough of your targets or simply killed enough of them that you're only taking a single attack (or zero) before clearing the room (i.e. eat this round, clear next round, or stun successive rounds and clear on 5). Fearsome Blade is a common top play on this turn (you did account for the traps, right?) or Frigid Apparition for the follow-up stun. Silent Scream (level 3) is a good bottom move to manipulate enemy positioning (read: run into traps).

Turn 4: Clean up

You should generally be able to clear the room by the end of turn 3, or worst case turn 4. If you need turn 5, you might be in some trouble (or it may just mean most of the enemies spawned in the first room). Ideally, you want to spend turn 5 looting and positioning yourself for the next room.

Turn 5: Loot and scoot

Hopefully there's some coins near the door. At least one character should be near the door; having both is usually preferable, but you can make a play of having one character be the decoy to force movement from the enemies from the next room. Very early on, when the Scoundrel doesn't have a minor stam pot ( :( ) the Scoundrel may need to rest on 5 and open the door on 6 while the Mindthief rests on 6. If it's that early, though, the Scoundrel likely doesn't have a second invis, so you'll have to do something more conventional.

Alternatively, run in on 5 with your last two cards, relying on invis cloak for your long rest. This is a much more aggressive play, but usually puts you in a better position to clear room 2 at the risk of not having a safety net of the invis cloak. This is not as reckless as it may seem, as often you can have your first character run in, check out the situation and invis cloak, while the second character may be able to safely long rest without spending the cloak by the virtue of being far away from the enemies.

Turn 6: Long rest

You should be set up to start the next room immediately after the long rest, or, if the Scoundrel had to rest on 5, the Mindthief should be a few hexes back from the door while the Scoundrel opens on 6.

Turn 7:

Ideally this is a repeat of turn 1, except in a new room. This is trickier because you don't know the enemy positions until the turn has already started, and the 3 move from Scurry is often not enough to get you into the ideal position unlike room 1. Hopefully you have +movement boots to help make up for any positioning issues, and can at least to get within melee range of some target.

The other option is to accept that this will be your invis cloak turn. However, if you are going to do this, you should have considered going in on turn 5 instead.

The third option is to spend turn 7 scouting (have one character with a lot of movement near the door open the door, and retreat as necessary). While this is generally the safest immediate play, it puts you behind on the clock and often puts you into a bad situation in middle of clearing the room, where you need to either short rest or long rest under fire. This choice depends a lot on what sort of enemies you are expecting; it's much more viable with melee enemies and a lot less reliable against ranged or summoning enemies.

Mindthief Hand Design & Gearing



From the basic strategy, the Mindthief will want:

  • Into The Night (invis!).
  • Scurry (movement during the invis turn).
  • The Mind's Weakness.
  • Bottom Attack (to go with TMW on turn 2).
  • Fast Card 1 (for turn 3).
  • Fast Card 2 (for turn 4).
  • High Movement Card (positioning for turn 5).
  • Slow Card (for turn after invis when TMW is being sustained).
  • Card 9 (either to be burned on rest 1, or replacement for something being burned rest 1).
  • Card 10.

I would also make sure to have a couple of push or repositioning cards to take advantage of traps in the scenario (and there are a lot). Mindthief has some nice options compared to Scoundrel. Traps have the benefit for scaling with the content, so they are almost always relevant.

For the most part, the Mindthief doesn't have a lot of options for sideboarding depending on the type of enemies, though some sort of access to poison for shielded (or sometimes healing) enemies is a good idea. Having a poison dagger mostly addressses this issue. The other major consideration is that repositioning effects are much weaker if you can't exploit traps and hazards for some reason (e.g. lots of flying enemies).

Gear



In rough order of importance:

  • Stam pot.
  • Stam pot.
  • Stam pot (unfortunately, unlike the board game, looks like items are unique per character).
  • Invis cloak (second backup invis).
  • +movement boots (Mindthief is in general much more starved for movement compared to the Scoundrel).
  • Eagle Eye Goggles.

The other pieces aren't particularly important. Poison daggers are nice, but not critical due to the big buff provided by TMW (though it's annoying that you can't dual wield Poison Daggers for some reason). Alternatively, Hooked Chain isn't a bad option depending on what specific cards are being run.

Scoundrel Basic Strategy



The Scoundrel takes a bit longer than the Mindthief to get going, since they don't have a non-burner invisibility until level 3. Early on you can play somewhat more conventionally or just use Smoke Bomb and Invis cloak for two of the rooms. In the latter strategy, using the invis cloak first helps a lot with the Scoundrel's hand longevity. This does leave you without the safety net, but at lower levels tanking damage is a lot more viable.

Unlike the Mindthief, the Scoundrel's opener changes a great deal over the course of leveling. The Scoundrel eventually becomes very flexible, but initially the invis gameplay is a bit awkward. The big issue is usually in having good bottom attack options. Thief's Knack is a staple throughout the game.

Basic Strategy



Turn 1:

  • Before level 3: Anything fast / Anything else (use invis cloak) or Smoke Bomb / Lower attack option.
  • Level 3: Throwing Knives [10] / Hidden Daggers (if Throwing Knives provide enough value; otherwise same as above).
  • Level 4: Duelist's Advance [16] / Hidden Daggers (note that Duelist's Advance and Hidden Daggers are both level 3 cards).
  • Level 7: Duelist's Advance [16] or something else fast / Stick To The Shadows (depends if the Stick To The Shadows movement is sufficient).
  • The basic concept for turn 1 is the same as the Mindthief: go fast, go invisible, but get value out of the turn. Early on this requires burning some resources, but after level 7 you have way more options (though Duelist's Advance/Stick To The Shadows remains the standard opener).

Regardless of your play, keep in mind what you will be using for turn 2. In particular you really want to get some sort of offense out of your turn 2 bottom play instead of just movement. Make sure to position accordingly, and consider the turn 2 play when deciding if Throwing Knives or another ranged attack is actually providing enough value; if the resulting position makes it difficult to follow up on turn 2, consider something else.

Turn 2:

  • Before level 6: Sinister Opportunity [93] / Thief's Knack or Special Mixture or other bottom attack.
  • Level 6: Burning Oil [95] / Thief's Knack or Special Mixture or other bottom attack.

The main emphasis is to get some good attack value out of the turn 2 bottom card. In some cases, Sinister Opportunity can be the turn 2 bottom attack by maneuvering an enemy into a trap. You should be able to pretty easily plan for turn 2 before turn 1 since both characters being invisible effectively freezes the enemy position until turn 3.

Before ending turn 2, decide if you need to minor stam pot to get a high value attack or e.g. Thief's Knack back. You should have a good feel for how turn 3 will go; ideally you will have several attack options depending if many enemies are hurt or one enemy is still high on health (work around that RNG).

If things really went south or the room has a very large number of spawns, you may need to get back invisibility instead. This should probably be a last resort; since the Scoundrel probably went after the Mindthief (who likely went on 75 of The Mind's Weakness) you might not both be able to commit to getting back invis cards (which means the Mindthief might have to rely on the invis cloak) unless the board was clearly out of control even during the Mindthief's turn 2. Do keep in mind that health is a resource, and there's no reward for ending the scenario with more health; taking a hit a turn or two before you're going to long rest anyway is generally fine (but watch out for enemies with curses).

Turn 3: Something fast / Reposition for turn 4 or another bottom attack for value

This tends to be a good time to use one of the multi-target dagger abilities with goggles. You've essentially worked through the RNG during the first two rounds and you know how much damage you need to finish each enemy now, so you can choose how to allocate the dagger damage safely with goggles. Consider power pot at this point as well due to the high value power pot brings with multi-target attacks.

Turn 4: Depends on board - can be essentially a repeat of turn 3 or looting turn

The room should generally be clear by end of turn 3, or in a state where you can finish off stragglers while looting. You should decide when selecting cards for turn 4 what your next room strategy will be.

  • Long rest next to the door on turn 6, go in using turn 1 strategy on turn 7.
  • One person long rest some distance from the door. Close person goes in with an invisibility option while the far person goes late with a high movement option (staggering invisibility).
  • Go in on turn 5, using invisibility to long rest inside the next room on turn 6 - either relying on invis cloaks or using stam pots to get back invis.

The various options are covered in more detail in the Mindthief section.

If you haven't used your minor stam pot by now, this is probably when you want to use it, selecting an appropriate card for your next room strategy.

Turn 5: Get ready for the next room

Barring something very bad in the first room, this should be the turn you set up for the next room. This usually is getting next to the door and maybe looting if there's a good option to do so.

Turn 6: Long rest

Turn 7: Hopefully basically a repeat of turn 1, except in a new room

Scoundrel Hand Design & Gearing



The Scoundrel hand list changes a lot throughout leveling. But generally

  • Hidden Daggers / Stick To The Shadows (invis).
  • Quick Hands / Duelist's Advance (top move-attack for turn 1 or 2).
  • Sinister Opportunity / Burning Oil (turn 2 slow card; other choices can work).
  • Thief's Knack (turn 2 or 3 bottom attack; other choices can work).
  • Fast Card 1 (for turn 3 - usually some flavor of throwing daggers).
  • Fast Card 2 (for turn 4 - more daggers or movement to help attack).
  • High Movement Card (positioning for turn 5).
  • Card 8 (burned on rest 1).
  • Card 9.

Somewhere in there you should have at least one more bottom attack option (which doesn't literally have to be an attack, just something that contributes to the scenario, i.e. killing things). A second slow card for rounds when you need a second invisibility can also be helpful.

Gear



In rough order of importance:

  • Stam pot.
  • Stam pot.
  • Stam pot (unfortunately, unlike the board game, looks like items are unique per character).
  • Invis cloak (second backup invis).
  • Eagle Eye Goggles.
  • Power potion (major preferably, and both types eventually).

Power potions scale with number of targets, so they are priorities for multi-target or AE classes. Daggers are often capable of hitting more targets than AE effects, being in essence a 3-hex radius AE effect with a target cap. While you don't get those once-in-a-blue-moon giant explosions, power pot daggers are very consistent.

Likewise Eagle Eyes (and advantage in general) is more effective as you get more attacks with it. Having reliable damage makes planning a lot easier. It may be slightly less valuable once classes that can provide advantage in bigger parties show up, but the sheer convenience of on-demand advantage is hard to give up.

The other slots are generally less important. Hooked Chain is a pretty decent option for weapon, giving the Scoundrel a bit more situational control. I generally prefer jumping boots to +movement for Scoundrel since Scoundrel is fairly mobile as is, especially as a dagger build, but either can work.

The other minor niche is as an elemental provider for the Mindthief; the Scoundrel will generally go before the Mindthief (except during invis turns) and so it's fairly straightforward for the Scoundrel to generate elements for the Mindthief with the right gear. This is very low priority however, mainly just to have something to put in the empty slots.

Game:   Gloomhaven
Written by Noules.