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Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion Giant Viper – Overview & Strategy Guide

This post was last updated on September 12th, 2022

Hi there! After giving my thoughts on the basic Vermlings, I will be writing about Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion Giant Viper class of monsters.
These venomous beasts can be a serious threat if they manage to get too close and surround their prey, aka your character.

There will be spoilers ahead, so if you arrived at this page by mistake I’d suggest you stop reading right now.

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Giant Viper

gloomhaven jaws of the lion giant viper image over a background photo

The Giant Viper is a massive snake and it is a fairly common enemy that you will be fighting starting from the tutorial scenarios.
They usually spawn in groups and depending on what ability cards they pull, they can become a very serious threat in a blink of an eye, or in this case from one turn to another.

Where you can find this monster? Scenario: 3, 11, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23.

Giant Viper Stat Cards

gloomhaven jaws of the lion giant viper stat cards
Monster Stat Cards

Normal enemy (average values)

  • Hit points: 6
  • Base movement: 3
  • Base attack: 2

Elite enemy (average values)

  • Hit points: 10
  • Base movement: 3
  • Base attack: 3

The first noticeable thing is the Hit Points value. With an average of 6 (normal) and 10 (elite), these monsters are one of those with the lowest amount of Hit Points in the game and therefore they should die very fast.
When it comes to base movement and attack the music changes drastically. Both statistics are quite high for such a common monster and combined with the poison negative status can potentially make this monster lethal.

Giant Viper Ability Cards

gloomhaven jaws of the lion giant viper ability cards
Monster Ability Cards

Average Initiative value: 31.

The first thing to notice here is the Initiative. With the average value being 31 and with just one card sitting above 50, these enemies are one of the fastest in the game.
This itself should already bring your attention to max focus, as the last thing you want to do is them doing their actions before yours.

And here is why: this ability cards deck is pure hell.

7 cards out of 8 are Move + Attack action and this combined with their average base movement of 3 means that your character will never be safe anywhere on the map.
They have also the ability to Jump on 3 cards, which means that hiding behind obstacles or difficult terrains won’t keep them away from you.

They don’t have ranged attacks (thank God!), but they can inflict the very annoying negative status poison on each of their attacks.
As explained in my Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion – Monsters Overview article, this dangerous negative status makes all attacks targeting your character gain a +1 attack bonus until healed.

If they manage to surround you and your character is poisoned… well, good luck my friend!

Strategy against Giant Viper

  • Use your fastest ability cards to move before them and try to deal the highest amount of damage in order to kill them in 1 or 2 turns.
  • Stay away from their poisonous attacks and try to hit them from distance. Immobilizing them could be very useful as they don’t have ranged attacks.
  • Use multiple target attacks to make the process of killing them quickly even faster.
  • Keep them your top priority to kill when there are other monsters in the room.

This is it for today’s strategy article. Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion Giant Viper enemy can be lethal in some circumstances, but if you keep your focus high and follow the tips I shared above, then fighting against them could quickly become pretty fun!

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in:

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion Classes – Overview & Rank
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion – Monsters Overview