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Mindthief Enhancements: Insanely Good Combos

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am currently in two different Gloomhaven campaigns – one as a Level 3 Cragheart and one with a now Level 6 Mindthief. In our last few scenarios I have had the ability to enhance my character cards, and have done just that, to devastating results.

Augments, in Gloomhaven, are a core part of the game; however, they need to be unlocked. Until they are unlocked, they aren’t hidden away, you can see what the various augment options are from the very first game. Just to be safe though, a bit of a fair warning first – this article may contain minor spoilers so stop here if you don’t want to see anything.

Okay, so let’s jump right in. We’ve been able to enhance our characters for a few sessions now. Since then we’ve retired our Tinkerer, and now retired our Scoundrel as well. I won’t go into details, as it’s not important. To begin with I didn’t augment my cards, but then in the last game I realised I had 140g to spend – and wow – that can seriously change the game in Gloomhaven.

So, within four cards, with the Mindthief (all Level 1) it is possible to seriously change how the game plays. It is possible to seriously shift the odds in your favour. Please note that I have a minor Stamina potion, as well as a couple of other items that help with turning the Mindthief into an absolute tank! I won’t name the other items, because…spoilers…but they are useful.

With that in mind (pun intended), the four cards worth mentioning are:

  • Empathetic Assault
  • Perverse Edge
  • Submissive Affliction
  • The Mind’s Weakness

Seriously Game Changing Mindthief Augments

So, here’s what we’ve done –

The bottom half of Perverse Edge is a Move 2, Heal 2 (Self). For 50g I added STRENGTHEN onto that action. What this means is every time I use Perverse Edge to move, Nigel (my Mindtheif) gets advantage added for that turn and the next turn. So, we did that.

Secondly, the top half of Submissive Affliction, has Attack 2, +1 Attack for every negative condition on the target. It also gives experience. To that I added CURSE, for 75g, to the action.

That’s it – 125g of upgrades – two cards. The other two cards make those super awesome.


Nigel at Work

The Mind’s Weakness

Before we continue however, let’s take a look at the augment The Mind’s Weakness. It is no secret that the Mindthief revolves around augments, and uses those as its secret weapon. Over the past 15 games or so, I have tried a series of augments across different levels, and now only actually keep one in my hand – The Mind’s Weakness.

You see, the other augments are nice, and there is a way of playing an augment-centric Mindthief – however, what I’ve found is that the only augment you ever really need is The Mind’s Weakness. What that does is add Attack +2 to all melee attacks.

Conversely, judging how abominably fragile the Mindthief usually is, this turns him into an absolute tank. With The Mind’s Weakness, the attack at the top of Submissive Affliction ceases to be Attack 2 and becomes Attack 4, plus one attack for every negative condition on the target. This is vital to the game.


Go Nigel Go!

Submissive Affliction and Perverse Edge

Submissive Affliction and Perverse Edge go so incredibly well together in the game. What you do is use the bottom half of Perverse Edge, giving Attack 1 at Range 2, adds STUN, imbues the battlefield with FROST and gives an experience.

So, you run up to an enemy and the next turn you hit them – the bottom of Perverse Edge followed by the top of Submissive Affliction.

Okay, so there are disadvantages to using a ranged attack up close – namely you get disadvantage on attacks – however, the goal of using Perverse Edge in this case isn’t for the damage but rather for the STUN.

Submissive Affliction then follows up and you are hitting with Attack 2, + 2 for The Mind’s Weakness, +1 for the Stun. That’s 5 in one attack, plus you get to CURSE them.

You then use the Minor Stamina Potion, to pick the combo back up, and next turn use it again against another adjacent enemy.

So, this is an awesome combo and it is awesome for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it stuns enemies and hits them whilst they are down. Neither of the cards are burn cards, meaning you can keep using it as long as you don’t discard them during a rest. Secondly, you get two experience.

Thirdly (yes, I know I said “couple” but shhh), it curses thanks to the enhancement.

The Power of Curses

When upgrading a character it can be tempted to go for +1 on certain abilities. I almost did, until a friend (our ex-Tinkerer) pointed out the power of curses.

Curses are insanely good in Gloomhaven when played against enemies (and insanely painful when played against you) because they add a null card to the enemy deck meaning their attack does no damage. It’s incredibly powerful, especially with a combo that you can keep doing.

What makes this even better, is all enemies share an attack modifier deck. This means you can curse one type of enemy for it to be effective for another completely different enemy. Groovy stuff!

In our last scenario, the enemy deck had up to three additional curses in it at any one time. The modified Submissive Affliction managed to stay in my hand for a long time, and by the time it did actually go it had definitely done its work. It was an an incredible run.

Empathic Assault

The final card worth talking about around these four absolutely essential cards for any Mindthief is Empathic Assault. Empathic Assault has a fairly good top half to the card, as a powerful Range 5, Attack 4, DISARM, Frost, and experience points move. It is definitely an interesting one to hold until the end of the game.

The real place where Empathic Assault is useful though is with the power it has being a self-heal. The movement on the bottom of the card is pretty standard, but the heal is good, and it can be upgraded. This is where Nigel has STRENGTHEN, and it has now gone from a good card to a great card. Combos like the Submissive Affliction/Perverse Edge combo work fantastically well when STRENGTHEN is on the table.

How Has This Changed The Game?

The big question is though – how has this changed the game? Well, firstly, it means the CURSES are useful to everyone as the bad guys miss more. The doubled up and now supremely awesome Submissive Affliction and Perverse Edge combo works incredibly well, not only carving through enemies but also gaining experience (I ended our last game with 24 natural XP, and then 8XP was added on for completing the mission on normal), thanks to the Minor Stamina Potion and a few other tricks. Ultimately, every turn I was gaining an average of 2XP. It was ace.

Finally, being able to be Strengthened for probably one third of the rounds in the game really helped with being the RAT-TANK.

So there we have it – a relatively brief look at a couple of enhancements that have radically changed our game. What enhancements are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Your second combo (Submissive Affliction and Perverse Edge) is incorrect. Elemental infusions are generated after your round ends; thus no stun from the generated frost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see where you are coming from, and you are correct in the ruling, but I think you’re thinking of the combination of the bottom of Perverse Edge with the top of Frigid Apparition. The stun is on the bottom of Perverse Edge as well as the generation of the Frost. The top of Submissive Affliction is just +2 damage and then additional damage from negative conditions. The frost never actually gets used in that combo 🙂


  2. Per page 23 of the manual, Curses are to be removed from the attack deck once drawn, correct? Potentially useful but not as powerful as one might think.


  3. “You then use the Minor Stamina Potion, to pick the combo back up, and next turn use it again against another adjacent enemy.” I am reasonably sure you can’t reuse the same cards over two turns, IIRC the rule explanation is those cards are not in your discard on the turn you use them, only when it’s finished (so it’s too late to use the potion). So you use the combo on T1, potion on T2 to pick the cards up and reuse the combo again on T3, not T2.


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