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Understand Gauntlet (PRE-SLAYER EDITION)
By Dioroxic
This guide will teach you the basics of Gauntlet, and how the game works. (THIS IS PRE-SLAYER EDITION). And I have no intention of making a slayer edition guide. Sorry :(
Welcome to Gauntlet! Stop shooting food!
Gauntlet is a dungeon crawling arcade game. The original game was released in 1985[] and contains the same basic concepts as the Gauntlet 2014 version. There are 4 characters. A Warrior, a Wizard, a Valkyrie, and an Elf. The goal of the game is to complete all the levels and slay the 3 bosses to gain their shards. After getting their shards, the wizard Morak will grant you untold power and wishes for beating the gauntlet that he summoned. He claims nobody has ever survived the gauntlet.

The game has 3 acts that each contain a boss. Each act has 4 rooms. The boss is at the end of each act in the 4th room. There are 3 floors to each room. I won't spoil the bosses or anything, but this is the basic layout to complete the game.

Now let's take a look at some basic game mechanics that are found in most of the levels.
Dungeon and Hub Mechanics
Most of this can be understood by simply playing the first level, but I will explain it in detail.

The Hub:

  • The game always starts you at the central hub.

  • When at the hub, you may buy relics or loadout items at the shop to help you on your journey. I will cover the shop further on in the guide.

  • The relics you buy are PERMANENTLY owned by your character. This isn't like the old arcade game. If you shut the game down, you will still retain your boots of speed that you bought! In the old arcade game of Gauntlet, you always started with absolutely nothing. Your items never carried over from adventure to adventure. This is a good thing that you get to keep relics. They help quite a bit. Certain relics are better on certain characters or levels. We will cover this later.

  • Loadout items are currently purely cosmetic. If you buy a new sword and shield for Valkyrie, it is only just looks. You do not gain special damage or defense increases. It is smarter to invest your money in relics before you buy cosmetics.

  • Once you are ready to go, pick your level to enter and go fight.

  • Whenever you complete a level (regardless of the order) it will unlock the next area. Example: you have never played the game before, but your friend is on the 3rd level in the first temple. You play with him and beat it. Now you go into your own game. You will have two doors unlocked. The first door of the first temple and the 4th door of the first temple. This is because you beat the 3rd door with your friend. You can actually complete the game out of order this way.

The Dungeons:

  • All dungeons have the same basic mechanics. You go from room to room killing enemies until you make it to the end of the level. You will then go to the next floor. Most levels only have about 3 floors. Once you get to the end, you will receive a good amount of loot.

  • Whenever you enter a room, the are only a couple ways to proceed to the next room. Some rooms have no locked doors and you can run past enemies. This is rare, and usually only on the second floor of each level. When a room is locked, you must do something to unlock it to proceed. This usually requires you to kill all enemies to proceed to the next room. The other common option is getting a key. Keys are placed in levels or on enemies that will unlock doors allowing the characters to proceed.

  • Some levels have monster spawners. It is wisest to kill the spawner as soon as possible so you can fight less enemies.

  • There are a number of items you can find from room to room. Food replenishes health. Gold gives you money, potions give you the ability to use your relics, keys open doors, and explosive barrels are USUALLY used to blow up walls for secret hidden rooms or paths. There can also be some small puzzles that the character may need to figure out to proceed in the level.

  • BE CAREFUL AROUND POTIONS AND FOOD!!! Any character can destroy food and potions by attacking them. You can also consume food if you are completely full on health. So be very cautious around food and don't destroy it or eat it if you don't need to.

  • An interesting note: Attacks that auto target enemies will ALSO automatically target food and potions. This includes the Wizards lightning bolt, the Valkyrie's shield throw, and relics that auto target enemies like the 'Mirror Image' relic. Be very careful when using auto targeting attacks.

  • Another interesting note: There is a mastery that you can level up that actually gives you a small amount of health when you accidentally destroy food. You increase its level by destroying food. So sometimes intentionally destroying food can be beneficial if done correctly. Most of the time however, you do not want to destroy food.

  • The amount of loot you receive at the end of a floor is based on a few things. You gain more loot if you have extra lives. You gain bonus loot if you saved a crown. The crown only applies to the player who has it. You gain more loot based on difficulty as well. Harder difficulties multiply your gold by more. Example is hard = x2 gold.

  • Dying reduces the gold you have gained on a floor. Avoid dying at all costs. If you die a lot on hard, you might actually gain less gold than if you were to play normal and not die at all.

  • Loot is only saved into your characters 'bank' if you complete a floor! This means that if you start the first level, grab 500 gold, then quit, you will not gain the 500 gold to use at the shop. Make sure you are at least completing floors to gain loot!

  • Once you complete your floors or levels, you will see what masteries have increased and how much gold you have gained to spend at the shop.

  • Masteries are 100% passive. You do not need to spend skill points. They stay with your character forever. If you quit Gauntlet and come back later, your character will still have the same mastery level as before. Masteries and relics are the only way to make your character more powerful.

That's the basics of the hub and dungeons.
The Shop - (Relics / Loadouts)
Welcome to the Shop:

  • The only thing that makes your character stronger are relics and masteries.

  • Relics should be the first thing considered when spending gold.

  • You cannot sell back relics or gear you purchase.

  • Relics have 3 levels to them and you can make them stronger by leveling them up with more gold.

  • Loadout items are purely cosmetic.

  • Some loadout items have pre-requisites to them such as beating a certain level on hard difficulty.

  • Some loadout items can only be obtained by special means. Things such as pre-ordering the game, signing up for a WB account. Etc.




  • The above three items mean that if you get 7000 gold on your warrior, when you go to play Elf, your Elf will have 0 gold gained. Same goes with purchasing relics or loadout items.
Masteries Explained
  • Masteries are the best way to make your character stronger. You increase mastery levels by doing just about everything. Eating food, killing monsters, breaking boxes, dying, using special moves, killing bosses, completing levels, collecting gold, and just about everything else.

  • Masteries are not shared between characters. If you have a Wizard with a mastery of 70, your warrior will still be at 0 because you haven't played as warrior.

  • Most of the characters have the same masteries that they can level up. Some masteries are character specific. For instance, only the Valkyrie can increase the mastery of her shield to reflect projectiles. The other 3 characters cannot obtain this because they don't have a shield and aren't Valkyrie.

  • An example of a universal mastery is the Icy Death mastery. Each character can die by being frozen and obtain this mastery. It will decrease the amount of time a character remains frozen.

  • Masteries are 100% passive. You do not need to spend skill points. Just play the game, and your character will get stronger.
Character Strategy - Warrior and Wizard
There are two types of strategy. Strategy that is based on your character, and then strategy that is based on the level. We will cover character strategy in this section.

The warrior:

  • This is arguably the most difficult class in the game. The warrior doesn't really have basic ranged attacks. Most monsters have to be close to do damage, and you do too! This gives the warrior a tough time. You can still be effective, but you must be careful.

  • Use light attacks on small monsters. This is a simple and devastating attack for tiny mobs.

  • Two words, guerrilla warfare. If monsters are coming at you from more than one side, you can't just spam light attacks and expect to stay at 100% health. You WILL get hit. You can spam light attacks at small monsters if they are all right in front of your face, but if you see enemies from multiple angles, get in a few hits and then back off to dodge attacks.

  • Only use the heavy attack for elite enemies. This attack will instagib them most of the time. However, it is very slow and usually only hits one enemy. This attack is definitely useful, but not for small monsters.

  • SPIN TO WIN! Save your special spin attack move for crowd control. One of the best places to use this move is to get in on monster spawners so you can destroy them. The warrior is actually invincible when he uses his spin attack. Spin to get in, then mash light attacks to destroy the spawners. If you see an elite enemy nearby, use the heavy attack to instagib him.

  • The warrior's dash isn't all that useful until it is upgraded to perform the jump smash attack. Use this move to either get in on a spawner, or cross a room to a safe position. Be careful about where you land before you obtain the jump smash attack! There is a little bit of recovery time on the normal dash, and if you dash into a crowd, you will most likely take damage.

The Wizard:

  • This is arguably the most complicated class in the game. The wizard can be extremely powerful if used correctly. There is definitely a lot to learn and cover however. You must be a quick thinker and know how to switch spells very fast.

  • From now on, I will refer to fire as 'F', ice as 'I', and lightning as 'L'. The wizard creates up to 9 different spells using fire, ice, and lightning elements to make them. Two elements make 1 spell.

  • Crowd control - The wizard has two spells that are good for killing large amounts of mobs. The first is the massive fire bomb. This is created using 'F-L'. This crowd control is good if you are at a distance and have a teammate in front of you. You can really support your teammate with this, and also destroy monster spawners easily. The other crowd control option is the lightning spell. This spell is created using 'L-I'. This is great a great all purpose tool. It only shoots if an enemy is within range and it arcs from enemy to enemy. This chain can kill a ton of small mobs very fast.

  • Support spells - This is a VERY important spell to cast on spawners. It's the ice slow down field. This spell is created using 'I-L'. When this is shot, it will create a large field of snow that slows down all enemies inside it. The best place to land this attack is either on a spawner, or on a choke point. This can make destroying spawners a cinch. The other support spell is the electric shield. The electric shield is created using 'L-L'. This attack is great at blocking doorways to stop enemies. It is also great for personal use by the wizard for a small amount of time if you need a moment to think. The third support spell is ice wave. This is made using 'I-F'. This will freeze all enemies in front of you completely. This is great at blocking enemies paths and buying time. Using these three interchangeably can really support a team and make you an amazing asset.

  • Escape option - The wizard has arguably the best escape mechanism in the game. The fire teleport. This is created using 'F-I'. The wizard will teleport a very large distance and cause anything in his path a small amount of damage. You can escape some of the stickiest situations utilizing this properly. Never teleport into a crowd as an attack. You will most likely die. Only use this as an escape option.

  • Long distance attacks - The best long distance attack for killing elites across the screen is the normal fireball. This is created using 'F-F'. This is the wizards standard attack. It does okay DPS on spawners and it is GREAT at sniping elite monsters over a gap or across the screen. The basic fireball also has a small amount of aim assist to it. Only a few degrees of auto correction. This attack shouldn't be heavily relied on, but it definitely shines when you need some good range to hit something from across the screen.

  • DPS options - A great option when you receive a free time to do massive damage is the ice beam. This is performed using 'I-I'. This attack is great when you receive a free chance to attack a spawner with no enemies around it. Or a stunned boss. If you have to be on the move, use the normal fireball attack 'F-F' as it has decent DPS and maneuverability.

  • I covered 8 spells and their great uses for Wizard. The last spell is the storm punch. This is made using 'L-F'. This attack is the least versatile out of all 9. It has slow recharge, low DPS, and no range. This does have knockdown abilities though. If you are rushed by a crowed and everything is on cool down, a storm punch can save your life. More than likely though, you will have a different option. Such as the electric shield, or a teleport, or chain lightning, etc. This spell is very great at destroying boxes and pots that are next to food. It has no auto aiming assistance, so you won't accidentally destroy food or potions.
Character Strategy Continued - Valkyrie and Elf
I ran out of text space in the last section. This section will explain basic Valkyrie strategy. Next section will explain what relics are important, and to who.

The Valkyrie:

  • The Valkyrie is the best defensive character in the game and can really help out teams. The shield makes Valkyrie invulnerable from frontal attacks. Valkyrie can block for her teammates while they attack, and when she gets an opportunity to deal damage, she can deal large amounts.

  • Light attack - This has one purpose, killing mobs. Great for killing any small mobs in decent quantities. You can use this almost whenever you don't know exactly what to do. The go to damage dealer. However, there are better attacks to use in certain situations. DON'T use this to DPS monster spawners.

  • Spear attack - This attack deals insane damage. This attack has two great things that make it shine. The spear attack can kill most elite monsters in 1 hit. Making it a cinch to take them out. The spear attack is also the optimal way to deal high DPS to monster spawners. When given a free opportunity to attack monster spawners, stand next to them and spam the spear attack. You will destroy them very quickly. The drawback to the spear attack is the recovery time at the end. Don't use this to charge into a group of enemies. You will most likely only kill the ones in front, and then you will take damage from the monsters on your sides while you are in recovery. Stick to using this attack on elites and monster spawners. You can also use this on certain bosses and mini bosses for good DPS.

  • Shield throw - This attack is absolutely fantastic. The problem is that you can't utilize the shield's blocking ability while you are throwing it. (Obviously.) This is a great attack for crowd control. See a lot of enemies rushing you? Throw the shield and watch it chain between a massive amount of mobs destroying them. The shield can also be used to kill all the newly spawned monsters when they arrive around the monster spawner. This allows Valkyrie to continue using her spear attack to destroy the spawner while the shield rips apart the mobs who keep appearing. As a bonus, the shield usually hits the spawner as well for small damage.

  • Shield block - This is what makes the Valkyrie an amazing asset. Valkyrie is essentially invulnerable from frontal attacks while her shield is up. She can use this to knock back mobs while her teammates deal ranged attack damage from behind her. The shield will either knock down or sometimes kill enemies that run into it. As a bonus, after you block 10 ranged attacks from elite monsters, Valkyrie will reflect projectiles directly back to the elites and kill them. This makes dealing with elites much easier.

  • Side note: After performing a spear attack, you can cancel the recovery animation by doing a slight shield block. This will allow you to perform another spear attack in faster succession.

The Elf:

  • The Elf is arguably the easiest class to play. There isn't much complication to him, he stays at a distance from most enemies which makes avoiding damage easy, and he has good DPS. If you don't know who to pick, you can't go wrong with the Elf.

  • Light arrow attacks - Spam these like crazy. There is virtually no cooldown and it rapid fires like a machine gun. Just be careful around food! The Elf is usually the character who destroys the most food since he spams a lot of arrows. These light attacks are great at boss/miniboss DPS and great at killing small monsters. LIGHT ARROWS DO NOT DAMAGE MONSTER SPAWNERS!!! Only the sniper shot, bomb attack, and certain relics can damage the monster spawner. Bombs are the most efficient way to destroying the spawner.

  • Sniper shot - This has 3 uses. Killing elite enemies, hitting targets across the screen, and damaging spawners. Very great tool. Do not use this to DPS bosses though. Spamming light arrow attacks and bombs deals great damage much faster. Sniper shot is mainly used for 1 shotting elites.

  • The Bomb - There are a lot of people who utilize this incorrectly all the time. The correct way to use this is to lay a bomb and run away. Draw the monsters into the bombs path and they will be eviscerated. The incorrect way is rushing into a group of enemies, dropping a bomb, and then running away. Remember that the bomb has a small time delay. If you lay it in a group of enemies, they will chase after you and avoid the explosion. You need to lay the bomb IN FRONT of a mass of enemies for it to be most effective. Another great tactic for using the bomb is to preemptively lay a bomb next to a spawner while more enemies are spawning. The bomb will explode when the new monsters appear and destroy them. It will also do damage to the spawner. This is a very efficient way of managing spawners and destroying them.

  • Sniper Shot + Bomb - These two attacks can be combined into an explosive arrow. This becomes very useful when in clutch situations. The Elf is a master of kiting enemies with his roll that has hardly any cool down. You can utilize the bomb arrow to take pot shots at monster spawners while you kite the mobs. This is great for when you can't get in to place a bomb, but need to place one from a distance.

  • Escape roll - This should ONLY be used to escape mobs. Never use this as a tactic to roll into a crowd and lay a bomb and roll away. That is not a smart thing to do. The roll is very good, but it does have a bit of recovery on it at the end. If you roll into a group of enemies, you will be hit before you gain control of your character again, and most likely will die.

  • Side Note: You can place bombs on the ground while in the middle of a roll. Use this to sweep by monster spawners and lay a well placed bomb to get in some free damage and take out some mobs.
Relics Tier List
After extensive testing of all relics at level 3, myself and other top players have come to a consensus about relics. The game says the right relic on the right hero can make all the difference in a fight. Well this is actually untrue. All the relics serve the same functions regardless of what hero uses them. Yes, certain relics like the firetrail boots may make more sense to use on someone like the Elf since he runs away most of the time, but the warrior can do the exact same thing with the firetrail boots that the elf does. Make sense? So instead of classifying each relic to certain characters, the relics should be classified according to a tier list. Certain relics are undeniably better than others, and we will rank them accordingly in this section.

All relics are ranked based on their level 3 abilities.

Side note: The amount of monster spawners in any given room can be from 0 - 4. There are never any instances of 5 or more monster spawners in the game.


  • Siren's Lute - This is by far the greatest relic in the game. Especially on Unfair difficulty. There is actually no reason to use any other relic in the game if you are trying to play optimally. The reason is because this relic causes monsters to completely ignore you for a good length of time. During this time you can destroy monster spawners freely. The only difficult parts of Gauntlet is when there are multiple monster spawners on the screen. Spawners can create an absurd amount of monsters and make handling the crowds really difficult. The sirens lute allows you to deal with the spawners extremely easily, and it gives you health while you do it! Some people may think to activate a sirens lute and then activate another relic to help deal with multiple spawners, but in reality, it would be smarter to use the lute twice in a row. You can kill two spawners and gain even more health during this time. This is what every character should have if they want to make the game as easy as possible.


  • Ring of Mirrors - This relic is no joke. Especially when equipped to the Wizard. This relic will help you destroy almost every mob on the screen, and deal extremely fast damage to monster spawners. This only falls short to the Siren's Lute because the lute gives you health and the Mirror Images does not.

  • Firetrail Boots - At level 3, these boots are just fantastic. Any player can activate them and make a massive trail of fire around the entire room. This will deal with almost all the monsters in the room allowing the players to focus on spawners.


  • Chaos Amulet - This is a solid relic to own. Monsters get attracted to it, and then it explodes killing them. You can either use this to lure monsters away from a spawner, or place it on top of a spawner to deal extra damage when it explodes. The only downside is that you don't gain health like from the Siren's Lute. This relic may explode and kill enemies, but it doesn't actively help you deal damage like anything in the A-Tier relics.

  • Tempest Locket - Another solid relic for dealing with lots of mobs. This relic throws large mobs of monsters to the ground, allowing you to deal with spawners. The only problem is that this relic has a mind of it's own and seeks out the nearest monster. This means it can wander away from spawners and leave you exposed. You also gain no health unlike the Siren's Lute.


  • Demonic Effigy - You would think this relic would be higher rated, but it has a lot of downsides. The damage from the gargoyle blasts is actually rather low. The gargoyle can be killed by monsters, and attracts them. This relic doesn't help too much in fights, it only makes fights that you are going to already win a bit easier. If there are a ton of mobs on the screen and you activate this, your gargoyle will just die and you will still lose the fight. All the relics ranked above this one do a much better job helping you out.

  • Ghost Orb - This relic is average because it does give you health and make you temporarily invulnerable, but the downside is that it takes you out of the game. You will deal far more DPS if you are not ethereal. You can't exactly help your team out when you are ethereal. This relic's main use is to save your skin if you are about to die.


  • Boots of Ranadam - This relic does increase your movement and attack speeds, but it doesn't give you health or distract monsters. It isn't a worthless relic, but when you compare it to all the other options available in the game, it stacks up rather poorly.

  • Freeze Ring - This item doesn't damage/kill enemies, doesn't heal you, and does something the wizards freeze wave already does. It isn't very useful compared to the other relics.

  • Golden Feather - Despite being the most expensive relic in the game, it is arguably the worst relic in the game. All it does is create two turkeys that usually run away, and increase your movement speed for a short period of time. If you want to gain health, just use the Siren's Lute. This relic helps in no way, shape, or form in a fight. The hardest parts of the game are when you face multiple monster spawners. You can't really use this to help in spawner fights because the turkeys will most likely be destroyed. All the other relics offer better options. The Siren's Lute makes this relic totally worthless as the Siren's Lute helps immensely in spawner fights, AND it gives you health! Not to mention, lack of food is only a problem on Unfair difficulty. This relic is totally worthless on Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties.

Conclusion: If you are looking to play the game optimally, everyone should equip the Siren's Lute and either the Ring of Mirrors or the Firetrail Boots.
Gold Farming Strategy
Ever need that little bit of extra gold? Well I created a separate guide to show you how to gain gold quickly! It is low risk, high reward, and pretty fast. Check it out below!
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Sprintervaulter_VR May 21, 2020 @ 1:56am 
I remember playing through the whole game in this mode.
EmotionallyBroken Mar 7, 2018 @ 12:39pm 
Hey, its BJ. I heard you like goobers.
Mr. n Mar 7, 2018 @ 11:43am 
Appreciate the small change. You don't have to change anything else, the Pre-Slayer Edition might be code-frozen (just as the Slayer Edition, actually), but it's playable just the same :). Take care and thank you for the guide again!
Dioroxic  [author] Mar 7, 2018 @ 11:41am 
I saw comments popping up in my notifications. Sorry this is a pre-slayer edition guide. I no longer play this game and have no intention of updating it. So I changed the title to reflect that all info is based on the pre-slayer edition game. Hope this helps avoid confusion in the future. <3
Mr. n Mar 7, 2018 @ 11:32am 
Beep. My guide has just been updated with the info. Please note the caveats, dangers and what gets lost between the versions before deciding to switch! - fourth chapter. Enjoy!
Mr. n Mar 7, 2018 @ 10:08am 
I guess I can't run away from finishing my guide any more. Wait till tomorrow, I should have put something up in my version differences guide by then :).
EmotionallyBroken Mar 7, 2018 @ 10:07am 
Thats pleaseing news, how do I do that through steam?
Mr. n Mar 7, 2018 @ 10:03am 
You can download and install any version that was published on Steam in the past. Fully legit. Multiplayer in classic works as well (tested with 1, 2 and 3 buddies; private lobbies, friend invites and public games).
EmotionallyBroken Mar 7, 2018 @ 10:02am 
Is there more than one steam version?
Mr. n Mar 7, 2018 @ 10:01am 
What do you mean? Also, I have both Slayer and Classic installed next to each other and can switch at will, so I'm having the best of both worlds, you might want to try that :).