Gloomhaven Quartermaster Guide

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

The Valrath Quartermaster has the potential to be one of the strongest characters in Gloomhaven, but a great deal depends on your initial choices and how you build them.

So if you want to know how the Quartermaster plays best then this is the place for you, as by the time you’ve finished reading this article you should have a great idea of how its various aspects fit together.

The Valrath Quartermaster is a versatile and powerful character with the ability to reuse items and cards that other classes would have to consume. It can be built to specialise in attack or support roles and can be devastating to enemies at higher levels.

Of course, getting the very best out of each of the seventeen different classes in Gloomhaven can be a real struggle, and that’s part of the challenge and fun of the game.


It can all sometimes feel overwhelming, so I’m going to offer you some tips on how best to approach this class and get the best out of them.

As always in an article like this, though, there are spoilers, so you’ll lose some of that element of surprise if you keep reading.

Even so, I’ll stick to the earlier levels of the character’s development as much as possible to try not to give too much away.

There Are Different Versions Of This Character

It’s worth noting that some of the elements of the Quartermaster have been tweaked over the various printings of the game to deal with a couple of issues.

It didn’t take long for gamers to work out that the original version of the character was able to set up infinite loops with its cards, which made it ridiculously powerful.

The designer then closed a couple of those possibilities down in later editions of the game, so I’ll be talking about the latest version of Gloomhaven whenever possible.

The good news is that there are still some really strong angles to be played with this character and that it can be played in a really feisty way.

Dig into the way that the Quartermaster is built and how the cards interact with each other and you can build a character with some seriously impressive abilities.

In other words, the Quartermaster is no longer ridiculously powerful in the latest versions of the game, it’s just massively powerful.

And that’s good news for you!

The Quartermaster Is Great At Manipulating Equipment And Items

As with all of the characters in Gloomhaven, you really do need to read the class description before you start to use them.

In so many games all of that text and background story is little more than fluff and filler, but in Gloomhaven it’s all information that you need to have at hand to play well.

The Quartermaster is part of a group of creatures known as Valraths, and the background information tells us that they were once close to demons and excelled at warfare.

However, they have developed to become mild-mannered in nature and have come to view diplomacy and negotiation as more effective than violence, so they are not fans of blood and gore.

Even so, they remain powerful but they are now excellent businessmen, and have a keen awareness of the value of items.

Critically, the background information tells us that “skilled Quartermasters have also been known to strike off on their own, aiding smaller adventuring parties in maximising the effectiveness of their equipment.”

In other words, the Quartermaster is a great supporting class which works really well as part of a team.

It can act as a solitary character, of course, but it comes into its own as part of a group, working to help the other members of the party to achieve their best.

It also thrives when equipped with the right equipment, so you’ll need to bear this in mind when developing and building the character.

As ever, keep the principles of the character in mind as you play and you’ll be able to do some serious damage to any enemies that happen to stand in your way while helping your allies.

Will It Attack Or Support?

The Quartermaster is a good, solid character on its own, but I’ve already mentioned that it works really well as part of a team.

So when you are first setting up the character it is a good idea to think about what you would like its speciality within the group to be.

This will vary depending on how many characters are in your party, which classes they represent, and also how many different players there are in your group.

Fundamentally you need to ask yourself whether you want your Quartermaster to specialise as an attacker or as a supporter.

Once you have answered this question you’ll have a great idea about what your focus should be both in your choice of initial cards and in how you go about developing the character as it levels up.

Refreshing Is At The Core Of The Quartermaster

The Quartermaster is powerful enough to deal damage to decent effect, even at level one, but more importantly it also comes with cards that allows it to refresh consumed items.

This ability with items is at the very core of what the Quartermaster is, and needs to be at the heart of all your decisions.

At level 1 a couple of those cards are consumed when used, but something like Scroll Of Recall allows you to refresh one of your consumed small items, and eventually comes back into hand.

It has a hefty initiative of 98, close to the very top of the range, so you need to pair it with something either with a far lower number or offering some decent protection, but it’s a powerful option even early in the game.

It means that when the character is starting out you can already consider cards such as Restock or Oversized Pack.

Restock allows allies within Range 2 to refresh one of their spent or consumed items, while Oversized Park allows you to do the same to all of your spent or consumed items.

Both of these cards are consumed when used, but if you can get Scroll Of Recall played safely you could take one of them back into hand.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of how useful the Quartermaster can be,

The Hand Limit Is Tight, But Only At First Glance

Although the Quartermaster has a hand limit of only nine cards, which seems very restrictive, it is not quite as bad as it seems at first glance.

Again, that’s because of its ability to regain consumed cards back into hand.

You’ll still need to think carefully and plan ahead as there’s not a vast amount of wiggle room, but there is more space to manoeuvre than with a character like the NIghtshroud, where every choice matters a great deal more.

I’ll discuss it in more detail in a moment, but the Quartermaster plays well when low and high initiative cards are paired, and also when you can time your Refresh moves to get cards back into hand at the right time, normally at the end of a cycle through your deck.

The Quartermaster Moves Well But Is Heavy

The Quartermaster is not a bad mover, and is able to make its way around the board fairly easily, but it is a heavy character when it’s carrying equipment.

Its attacks can be devastating, especially at higher levels, but it takes it a while to implement these as they tend to feature on cards with higher initiative numbers.

Because of this it’s definitely worth pairing slow attack cards with low initiative cards that allow you to get into position or which generate something useful like Shield.

If you imagine that your Quartermaster is taking time to swing their hammer or arm their bow then you can also picture them standing still as they take aim.

While they are doing that they are vulnerable, so having something early in the turn either to protect you or to take you out of the way is always useful.

Hastened Step has a Move 5 with an initiative of 26, for example, but it also comes with a great Attack 2, Move 1, Attack 2 ability as well, which can be awesome at higher levels.

On the other hand, Iron Bulwark, with an initiative of 19, gives you and adjacent allies Shield 1 for the whole turn, which is ideal for when you are lining up a high initiative attack as the second part of the pair.

Just remember not to play two low initiative cards together, as they are much more effective when used one at a time and paired with a high initiative card.

Looting Is Always A Good Idea

The Quartermaster loves its items, so gold is something it is going to be trying to pick up at every opportunity as you’ll really be able to go to town when buying upgrades.

I’m going to keep mentioning this, but its ability to take consumed items back into hand means that it can use them much more effectively than other classes and become massively powerful.

Oversized Pack grants you an awesome Loot 2 ability at Level 1, and even its high initiative of 82 isn’t too much of a problem when you remember that you should be pairing these kinds of cards with those low initiative options that keep you safe.

Have this in your build and you’ll be scooping up gold at every opportunity, and before long you’ll have a backpack full of items that you can use again and again.


Quartermaster Experience Comes In Steadily

There is a moderate amount of experience scattered through the Quartermaster’s deck, so it can regularly pick up a point here and there.

It does possess cards in the initial build that offer a little more experience, such as Restock and Crushing Hammer, but they are consumed when they are used for those abilities.

As always, though, if you can find a way to take them back into hand then they can be reused.

In general, the Quartermaster will pick up experience slowly and surely, and although those points will certainly be useful for picking up perks, the character is solid enough on its own not to need to have to worry too much about this as a priority.

In short, play the Quartermaster as you want to play it and the experience will trickle in little by little until you are in a position to spend it to beef up your character.

Perks Should Play To The Quartermaster’s Abilities

One of the running themes of any Gloomhaven character guide is always to play to that character’s strengths, and it’s no surprise that I am going to advise you to do the same here.

Whether you are looking at a supporting or attacking Quartermaster, the most obvious characteristic of this class is that ability to refresh items.

With this in mind it makes sense to choose your perks based on the same parameters, and that’s where things get interesting.

The Quartermaster begins with a modifier deck that, like so many, is based around an average value of zero, so it would seem sensible to use the perks that beef up those cards.

The likes of “Remove four +0 cards” and “Replace one +0 card with one +2 card” are both tempting, but think creatively and there’s a better option, especially early on.

Never forget that the Quartermaster thrives on its use of equipment, so is there possibly a perk that dovetails nicely with this?

As it happens, there is.

“Add one +0 Refresh an item card” is exactly what you need, and it’s a perk that you can use three times.

You might think that adding more +0 cards to your modifier deck is counterintuitive, but that’s not the bit of the card that we’re interested in.

Instead, we’re trying to get as many possibilities into our build to allow us to refresh items.

Weirdly, that makes this card more valuable initially for the Quartermaster than the option to replace a +0 card with a +2 card.

Get those perk cards that allow you to refresh into your modifier deck first, and then start removing the -1 cards and the +0 cards that don’t allow you to refresh and you’ll be tipping your card draws towards allowing you to keep reusing your items.

Then get the +2 cards in there and you’ll really be a force to be reckoned with.

In fact, take this “playing to your strengths” principle to all your Gloomhaven builds and you’ll always be letting your characters do what they do best.

Level Up Based On Your Initial Build

The way that you level up the Quartermaster is going to be linked to its initial build.

Once you have decided on the role your character is going to fulfil then you should continue to work in that direction as you add more powerful cards to its deck.

Even so, that ability to refresh and reuse should always be kept in mind, so a card like Reforge at Level 2, which allows you or an adjacent ally to refresh a spent or consumed handheld items, is a no-brainer.

At Level 6 you’ll find cards like Catastrophic Bomb, which smacks enemies with Attack 1 across a large area with Range 3, which doesn’t sound very powerful but can be beefed up with other items and abilities.

By this stage the Quartermaster should be doing some really serious damage to enemies and laughing in their faces as it takes items and cards back into hand as well.

Keep your focus on what the Quartermaster is as you refine its deck and it will reward you for it.

Further Tips On Levelling Up

In terms of the core cardplay the Quartermaster is all about using items and abilities to boost its actions, so make sure that you keep this in mind when you are replacing cards in its deck.

Something that appeared weak early on in the build can gain serious heft later on, and the cards that you add need to be considered in the context of what can be played with them.

To put it simply, don’t just read a card and accept it for what it is – think about it in a long-term context.

So always ask yourself what item you might use to enhance it or which card you would pair with it to take it from good to awesome.

Items Are A Gold Mine

When it comes to the Quartermaster and items the world of Gloomhaven really is your oyster.

This class is a pretty powerful machine from the off, but when it starts to equip itself with some proper weapons, potions and armour then it’s a character best avoided by the enemy.

Again, much of this comes down to its amazing ability to take consumed cards back into hand and use them again and again.

For this reason you need to be looking at Stamina and Power potions right from the off, as the Quartermaster can use these and then – boom! – take them back and use them again.

Even the Minor Stamina Potion will allow you to recover up to two of your discarded cards, and although the Potion itself is consumed you can use the Quartermaster’s ability to take it back into hand, of course.

These potions can help you to get the Quartermaster through those tricky early levels while it learns its craft and see it through to its emergence as a vicious warrior.

The Boots Of Striding are also useful early items, adding +2 Move to a single movement, and the Eagle-Eye Goggles are essential, offering Advantage on an entire Attack action.

That Advantage is another way of ensuring that you are not on the back foot when playing those high initiative attack cards, which is why the Goggles are so important.

In fact, when it comes to armour and weapons the choice is yours depending on what kind of character you want to develop, but anything that adds Jump is also worth thinking about, as it can get you out of some tight spots, and Shield is useful as well for the same reason.


Do Your Research

If you’re keen to learn about this class then it’s well worth reading several guides as this is a character with a wide range possibilities.

Watching how other players have put together their Quartermasters, and hearing the reasoning behind their choices, can highlight issues that you will need to consider.

Then you can build the Quartermaster that works for you and slot it into your group to act as a powerful ally.

Whichever speciality you choose for your Quartermaster it can end up being really powerful, so if you’re happy to find out where it can go then watch this video by MandatoryQuest for some really detailed information on what lies ahead for this class.

YouTube video

On the other hand, if you want to see it in action, Rob’s Gaming Table takes the character through its paces in this video in which they play through one of the solo scenarios for Gloomhaven.

YouTube video

The Quartermaster Summed Up

As always with Gloomhaven characters, there is so much choice involved in how you do your initial build and where you go from there that the possibilities are pretty wide open.

However, if you keep these principles in mind then you’ll be developing a Quartermaster who is a worthy member of the Valrath race.

  • Decide early on whether your Quartermaster will attack or support
  • Develop the Quartermaster according to its role
  • Use its ability to refresh used and consumed items
  • Don’t forget that it can do this for allies as well
  • Pair low and high initiative cards together
  • Looting is a powerful option
  • Potions are great early items
  • Use early perks to manipulate items
  • Later cards should be enhanced with abilities from items
  • Shield and Jump will help in tight spots
  • The more items you have, the better!


Image credit, license, No changes made.
Image credit, license, No changes made.
Image credit, license, No changes made.
Image credit, license, No changes made.

About the author

James Declan discovered board gaming via a one hour sesh trying to escape Forbidden Island with his daughter and has never looked back.