Gloomhaven – The SUN(moner)

The Sun Keeper is an unlockable character in the Gloomhaven game.  The Sun Keeper would normally be considered a front line tank.  I do not have fun playing her that way, so I have developed an alternative play-style..  Welcome to the Sun(moner).

Sunkeeper

Let me preface by saying I started out as the Brute, and tanked for our group of sometimes 3, sometimes 4 actives. I got used to running in, soaking up damage, and then running to the next group… repeat.. It worked, I was able to stay alive, while the others whittled down, and kept me healed for the most part. At the time, I believe we had the Tinkerer, Cragheart, and Spellweaver.

Once I retired, I opened up the SUN ICON.

Once I retired I opened up the Sunkeeper, and I reviewed the cards, and it looked at first as if it was another TANK character.  So I attempted to choose cards that would allow me to play her like that.  Boy was that UN-FUN for me.  The Cragheart was only with us occasionally;  the Tinker has already moved to the Squid-face, and the Spellweaver player didn’t enjoy the play style and switched to the Scoundrel.  Lack of constant healing really made the Sunkeeper too dissapointing to play.  Sure she had her own heals, but alone she did not have enough to be the only tank in the group.  I was spending cards to mitigate damage, and I would wind up exhausted too soon in the scenario.  I figured I was just playing her wrong, so I reviewed all of the (okay 2) guides on the Sunkeeper, and I attempted to follow along but it was hard trying to soak up all the damage as a tank, and dish out enough to make it worth it.  It was also still NOT FUN. Until I decided to switch things up a bit.

We had previously unlocked two items that allowed summons. Since the Sunkeeper can throw a bunch of heals out there, as well as bless adjacent allies (put a bless card in their action deck) then I figured this could be used to my advantage. Enter the two summon items.

  • The Ring of Skulls: Summon Skeleton: HP 3 \ Move 2 \ Attack 2
  • The Mountain Hammer: Summon Warrior Spirit: HP 4 \ Move 1 \ Attack 3
  • Falcon Figurine: Summon Jade Falcon: HP 2 \ Move 3 \ Attack 2
I decided to use these as the basis for my build, and see if I could capitalize on the Sunkeeper as a support class with some tanking when necessary.  Please review below the equipment, cards, and perks I use, and why I chose them.  My Sunkeeper is currently at level 4, but I will design the guide as I see myself moving forward, all the way up until I choose my level 9 card.  We are currently at Prosperity Level 4 as well, and I am sure there will be better items later on, but these choices are made by my current level, prosperity level, and gold on hand.  They may change later, and get a boost, but as of now, this is what it is.

Perk List

  • Remove two (-1) cards: I chose this twice
  • Replace on (-2) card with one (0) card
  • Remove four (0) cards
  • Ignore negative item effects and add two (+1) cards
  • Ignore negative scenario effects
Let me explain the method to my madness.  
Ignore negative item effects, and add two (+1) cards: I was planning on starting out with the Hide Armor, because it is an inexpensive way to get more shields.  This allows me to add the two +1s, but not have to worry about adding the two -1s.
Ignore negative scenario effects: There are just too many of these to NOT take this perk.
Replace one (-2) card with one (0) card: I wanted to minimize the chance of not doing damage when I did choose to attack.  

Remove two (-1) cards: (x2) Another chance to minimize the change of not doing damage.
Remove four (0) cards: This was taken basically to increase my chance of drawing better cards (either +1/+2 or bless cards when they are added).

Sunkeeper Perks
The breakdown of the cards winds up being the following:  
Null (1), -1 (1), 0 (3), +1 (7), +2 (1), x2 (1).
 

With these choices I have attempted to make my draw deck as small as possible, so that the odds of drawing positive cards will be maximized.  There is only 1 FAIL and one (-1) in the deck now.  Chances of drawing bad is 2 in 14.  Chances of drawing good is 9 in 14.  Chances of drawing Neutral is 3 in 14.    When I start to add Bless cards (from the temple or other abilities) it greatly enhances the draw deck.

Equipment

I will start off by listing the equipment I currently use.  We are currently at Prosperity 4, so all my choices are based on this, as well as cash on hand for purchasing.  As prosperity level rises more items will unlock, which may be swapped out for the current items.  Also, as I have more cash on hand, I will be able to replace these with better items.  For now though, this is what I am using.  

  • Head: None (need more cash)
  • Body: Hide Armor (need more cash for an upgrade)
  • Legs: Boots of Striding
  • Two Handed Weapon: The Mountain Hammer
  • Misc Items: The Ring of Skulls, Minor Stamina Potion (level 5 brings another item slot)

Card Choices - Starters

I will be rating each card from a 1 through 5, with a 5 being a MUST-HAVE and a 1 being a NOT-USEFUL for this build.  Please remember that I am going for a Sun(moner) build, and these cards are chosen to maximize the use of my two summons, as well as allow me to soak up a bit of damage, but mostly to make the Sunkeeper FUN to play!

5/5

This is a GREAT card.  

The Top offers 2 true damage on any creature that attacks you for the next 5 melee attacks.  That is a guarantee of 10 damage.  You also get 3 experience along with this.  Since this is a burn, do not use this at the start of the battle.

The Bottom is just as amazing for the type of build we use.  Since we plan on having at least our two summons out, and close, this allows us to give them advantage.

The initiative is also pretty low here, so that increases the cards value as well.

This card is mediocre at best.

The Top offers you a shield until the end of the round, along with a bit of experience.  If you find yourself needing an extra shield from time to time, then this card may be your answer.

The Bottom is a simple Move 3, which is not really impressive.   There are many other cards that offer much more.

The initiative of this card is what offers it a bit of extra play.  It is pretty low, so it may get a spot in the rotation.

2.5/5
1/5

This is a BAD card.  

The Top does not really assist in boosting allies.  While it may help another adjacent ally recover a card it doesn’t really assist.  The 2 experience attempts to make up for this, but with this card being a loss, it would probably NEVER make it into the deck.

The Bottom is a great heal, and with decent range.  The light generation and experience don’t hurt it either.  Where this suffers though, is it is a loss ability.  

The initiative isn’t great, and this card is a double-loss.  So you can either use the top or the bottom once per session.  This is a deal breaker.

This card is a good solid choice.

The Top offers you a repeatable way to assist the other players.  Add light into the mix, and it improves and offers experience. 

The Bottom offers you a way for your allies to be even more useful.  It is a good ability for this build.  

The initiative here is not great, but with these two abilities you most likely want to go after your allies, to give them more options.  Overall this is a support-only card, but with this build you need to have a tool in your box for every occasion.  This is a good solid card.

4/5
3.5/5

This is a good card.  

The Top assists one of your allies at range with a BLESS in their deck, and advantage.  This is a definite plus for a build of this type.  When using the top of this card, initiative is not really an issue, as it can be a set up for the next turn.

The Bottom is great damage prevention.  It also generates light as well as gives 2 experience.   It is a great one use emergency card, but usually if it comes to needing this, you will not have the low initiative to pair this with.   This is a good emergency tool.

This card is a good solid choice.

The Top offers you a repeatable way to heal your allies, or yourself.  It has decent range.  It also generates a light.  The high initiative makes this less of an emergency, and more of a utility. 

The Bottom offers you a large move, a bonus stun, light generation, and an experience.  This is a great one-time use tool, but it comes at a cost of losing the card for the top healing ability.  Initiative doesn’t affect this ability much, as you can always consider this a  strike on your opponents for next turn.

4/5
3.5/5

This is a good card.  

The Top assists one of your allies with an additional move action.  Since the summons are slow, this can assist in getting them into position for next turn.  It can also be used on other players to give them that movement boost needed to complete any location based objectives.

The Bottom is a standard Move 4, which is great to move yourself into position.  

This is a BAD card.

The Top does offer you a repeatable stun, with a low attack value.  With this card having such a high initiative though, it will only be used for a next-turn setup, or need a low initiative paired with it. 

The Bottom is not useful as you do not really DO ranged, especially with a loss.  This teamed with the high initiative makes this card hard to find a place.

1/5
4/5

This is a good solid choice.  

The Top offers you a nice Attack 4 along with a bonus if you have light available.

The Bottom offers you one of your better moves at a 4. 

This card is one of those TANK cards that will be useful in almost any situation.   

This is a GREAT card.

The Top offers you a pretty good Attack 4 with the bonus applies if you have light available. 

The Bottom is where this card shines through though.  For the rest of the scenario you will have a permanent Shield 1.  While your movement is also reduced by 1, you can offset that by using the boots, or other large movement cards.  It also offers experience.

This card allows the Sunkeeper to TANK just a little more damage. 

5/5
2/5

This card is almost useless.

The Top ability is next to useless.  As a tank you do not mind absorbing damage, but taking damage for a heal may be worth it, but not as a one-use emergency.  If you have gotten to a point where you need this, chances are you had really bad luck, and this is not the solution.

The Bottom is very situational, but sometimes necessary.  Every so often you will have a scenario that requires you use a loot ability.  This allows you to assist in completing the scenario.

My recommendation is to forget about this card, and let your other players worry about looting.  

This is a good solid choice.

The Top is very situational.  If you are facing creatures that generate dark, then you can use this to your benefit.  It is an Attack 3 with disadvantage.  When dark is present, it offers you +1 to attack, 1 experience, and generates light.  This card bumps up to a GREAT card when darkness is readily available. 

The Bottom is a standard Move 2 along with a BLESS to an adjacent ally.  If that happens to be a summon, then you receive the BLESS yourself.  

The initiative here is not a detriment as it gives your allies, and even your foes time to generate darkness for you to suck up.  

4/5
2.5/5

This is a mediocre card at best.  

The Top is very situational.  While healing at range is always good for this build, a Heal 1 is usually only good when Wound or Poison is active on many allies.  If you are facing many enemies that poison or wound, then this card becomes a bit more useful.

The Bottom doesn’t offer much, as there are plenty of other ways to generate light that are not loss cards.  

This card is almost useless.

The Top is a one-use heal.  If you have light, you can add another target.  This is not worth the slot.

The Bottom has another range attack, this one offering disadvantage.  It is a bit better than the top, as it can be repeated, with the top heal being used for emergencies.  If you are going to stand just behind your summons, this would be a good card to have.

2/5

Current Level 1 Choices Breakdown

175.Purifying Aura
184.Defensive Stance
178.Empowering Command
183.Hammer Blow
187.Beacon of Light
188.Glorious Bolt

SInce we get 11 cards that puts us in a pretty good place.  We can not be the Jack-Of-All-Trades, so we have to make our selections based on how we can make the most impact.  In the case of this build, it will be summon\ally support as well as tank.  Your first order of business should be to get into position, and drop your summons between you and a few baddies!    You may want to position yourself AWAY from the baddies, as your summons take a turn to actually DO anything.

With these cards you have a solid base for healing your allies as well as tanking damage if necessary.  Glorious Bolt, while a good repeatable range damage card can be swapped out for Lay on Hands, but only if you need a Loot Action for the scenario.

Level 2 Choices

3.5/5

This is a good card.  

With an Attack and Move of 5 you can’t go wrong here.  The initiative is high, but the numbers are worth it.

This is a good solid choice.

The Top is a pretty interesting ability.  Give another player an extra turn.  Depending on what they have available, this could be lackluster, or spectacular.  It is a one-time use emergency card though.  Get a few rounds of the bottom used, before burning this card. 

The Bottom is a very nice heal 3.  It also has the ability for extra targets and experience.  This is needed to keep your summons going longer.

4/5

While a tanky build would instantly gravite towards Practical Plans, for this build we are going to replace Glorious Bolt with Unwavering Mandate.  We have plenty of Attack 4, so the bonus 1 doesn’t help THAT much, and while the extra movement would be nice, it is not really needed, as we need to stay close to our allies.  It also offers us an emergency turn given to one of your more damage dealing buddies.  Perfect for support.

Level 3 Choices

4/5

This is a good solid choice.  

The Top of this card is not a TANK or SUPPORT ability.  It is a great one-time experience generator, generates light, and targets ALL adjacent enemies.  If you can become surrounded, then this card will be valuable.

The Bottom part of this card is the one to look at.  A Heal 3, Range 3 that uses ANY element for an extra heal as well as generating light.  This will find many uses throughout the scenario.  

This is a good card.

The Top is a pretty good ability.  An Attack 4 generating light. 

The Bottom is not as useful as it is an emergency card that shuffles all your allies across the board, if needed.  Usually this is too situational to be very useful.  If does offer an experience though.

The initiative on this card is not bad either.

3.5/5

While another heal would be great here, with our current summons, if they need to be healed 3 or 4, then chances are they have served their purpose.  A burn multi-attack card is also not as valuable to us as a repeatable attack card.   For this we will be replacing Beacon of Light with Mobilizing Axium.  Beacon of Light is the great Anti-Poison\Would card, but we have many other ways to generate light, and we would much rather get our summons a bit of a movement boost, so they can be on or near the fight!

Level 4 Choices

4/5

This is a good solid choice.  

The Top is an amazing ability.  Bless all adjacent allies, and gain an experience.  If you have summons, those BLESS cards will be added to your deck.

The Bottom is a decent Move 3 along with a Shield for the remainder of the round.  With an initiative 18, this is truly worth it.

This is a good card.

The Top is a one-time use Heal 3 that affects Self and Allies.  It also gives experience, and generates light.  Overall this is a great ability, with a good initiative.  But since it is a loss, it can only be used once, and it may be hard to capitalize on the Bottom ability. 

The Bottom is a great defensive ability, with a low initiative.  It generates light as well.

3.5/5

The level 4 choices are where it gets tough.  Both cards are great for support.  For this build we will be going with Righteous Strength and replacing Cautious Advance.  We do not lose anything in this exchange, and we gain a powerful BLESS on all adjacent allies.  Not only can you bolster any adjacent buddies, if this is used on your summons, you get to BLESS yourself (maybe even more than once).

THE REST IS JUST THEORY - AS I AM ONLY LEVEL 4!

Level 5 Choices

3.5/5

This is a good card. 

The Top is an upgrade to two of the current attack 4 cards we have.   If we choose to take this, it will most likely replace Hammer Blow, as replacing Defensive Stance is just not an option. 

The Bottom is a Move 5, multi-bless which is great to move yourself into position as well as throw out a few bonuses.  Since it is a burn though, it is an emergency card.

This is a good solid choice.

The Top add a Retaliate 2 without limits, although does impose a -1 on all of your attacks.  True damage though is a huge bonus mixed with some of the other cards in your kit. 

The Bottom is a basic move with a stun, with the ability to move a bit quicker.  Definitely a keeper, and it awards experience.

This card would most likely replace another attack card, and move us more into the true damage role.  Possibly replace Empowering Command.

4/5

Level 6 Choices

1/5

This is a bad card.

The Top boosts allies attacks until the end of the round, which is useless to your summons, as they act before you.  

The Bottom is a move buff, which is also useless to your summons.

This is a good card.

The Top is an attack 5, but for this you need to be adjacent to an enemy, which is more tanky and less support.  But the strengthen all adjacent is very support. 

The Bottom is just in case you are NOT near an enemy, but your allies are!  

Overall this is a good card, and a good replacement and upgrade for Empowering Command.  Since we have already replaced Empowering Command, this card may have to replace something else.  

3.5/5

I have not progressed beyond this point yet, so I can’t say whether the choices will be effective or not based on what I have chosen so far.  This being the case, I am listing the cards here, and will give my general feeling about the card, but not suggest yet what should be replaced.

Level 7 Choices

3.5/5

This is a good card.

The Top gives you a powerful ability for the rest of the scenario.  As long as you have light available you can add +2, advantage, and +1 experience to the attack.  It is very situational, as with the SunMoner you don’t always have light available.

The Bottom is a move 3 attack 3, which is pretty useful.  

A mediocre card at best.

The Top There are better options for shield and retaliate.  This is not a prolonged effect, even though it is reusable. 

The Bottom is a wasted action.  There may be useful situations where this is needed, but having it as a burn removes it from consideration.

The initiative is very nice.

2/5

Level 8 Choices

3.5/5

This is a good card.

The Top is an emergency burn card that gives two experience.  With the attack being so high, this will be useless against non-elites, as the wound would be wasted.  It is very effective against powerful elites, or bosses though, even though it is single-use.

The Bottom is a standard Move 4, which is great to move yourself into position, and it also offers light, and is reusable. 

This is a good solid choice

The Top is a burn that is very conditional.  This is a very tanky ability, but with light does have the power to just kill any one target outright.  This makes it a great elite finisher.  Combine with this the 2 experience, or 3 with light, and this is one of the few dual-burn cards that may be worth considering. 

The Bottom is great as an emergency card.  Since you have summons, it may be worth even playing early.  All allies gain an attack 4.  This could be your summons, and your team-mates, plus it gives 1 experience.  Well worth taking for the SunMoner.

1/5

Level 9 Choices

3.5/5

This is a good solid choice.

The Top is a pretty good balance to adding some value to your attacks.  While it is quite tanky, it also adds wound (which is true damage) as well as advantage!  You also gain 4 experience for this.

The Bottom is a reusable move 6 jump.  This is the only card for the SunMoner that offers the jump ability, which makes this card almost a must.  

This is a GREAT card.

The Top is an ongoing effect that will help all your allies survive.  If played early, it can mean your summons are alive to add more blesses, which is the name of this game! 

The Bottom is a decent ability that offers shield to ALL allies, as well as light.  It is reusable, so that adds to it’s value.

Also notice the initiative, which also benefits this card!

1/5

Overall, I believe I now enjoy player the Sun Keeper.  It took me awhile to go through all these cards, and examine how they do and might play along side the summons and allies I currently have.  I would love someone else to try this out, and see if they are having as much fun with this as I did!

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