Desktop Dungeons: Rewind – Beginner’s Strategy Guide



    With the release of Desktop Dungeons: Rewind, is this the first time you’ve encountered the game? Are you sending them adventurers to their deaths every single run? This is the guide for you! With these 7 tips, you’ll be racking up boss trophies in no time.

    7 tips for effective dungeon crawling


    Hello guys! I am a long time Desktop Dungeons player and was a play tester for Desktop Dungeons: Rewind. My biggest hope for this remastered version is that it attracts new players.

    While it’s a great game, Desktop Dungeons has a bit of a learning curve. The devs have worked hard to make the game easier for new players, but it’s still a challenge. With this guide, my goal is to help those who are struggling to get a foothold!

    1: Don’t fight your peers.

    Minecraft has “Don’t dig straight down”. Rocket League “Don’t break the headlock.” And so does “Rule #1” in desktop dungeons. But unlike those two games, the desktop dungeon rule is completely counterintuitive: whenever possible, never fight an enemy that’s the same as you.

    To understand this principle, we first need to review two important game mechanics.

    Bonus experience

    When defeating an enemy, you gain experience equal to the enemy’s level. But if that enemy is a higher level than you, you gain bonus experience based on the level difference: x(x-1)+2, where x is the level difference. This translates to +2 additional experience for a 1-level distinction, +4 for a 2-level distinction, and +8 for a 3-level distinction.

    If you want to beat a boss, you usually want to be at least level 7 or higher. The higher the level, the easier the boss fight. At the very least, you’ll usually need enough base HP to tank a single hit from a hard-hitting boss! Therefore, to win a dungeon, you should always go for high-level kills. Differences of 2+ levels are great, but differences of 1 level are more than enough to get the levels you want.

    If you don’t fight high level enemies you will lose.

    Strike order

    The strike order can be a bit confusing for new players. There are complications and edge cases (eg first strike), but generally:

    • If the enemy is of the same level or taller than you, the enemy strikes first.
    • If the enemy is lower level than you, you attack first.
    • When in doubt, stand with the enemy on the map. If it turns towards you, it will hit first.

    Note that enemies of the same level usually attack first, just like higher level enemies. This means that an enemy one level below you is usually a much easier fight than an enemy at the same level.


    Given that you should always go for higher level kills, and enemies of the same level attack first, you’re not getting much out of single level kills. They don’t give you bonus XP, but can still be a pretty tough fight. It’s better to do slightly harder high-level battles that will give you bonus XP.

    There are some situations where it makes sense to kill an enemy of the same level. For example, on a narrow map, you cannot start as a level 1 character with the resources to take level 2 kills. But your mindset should always be the same: fight enemies of the same level as a last resort.

    2: Leverage Levels

    In addition to increasing your stats, leveling restores your health and mana to 100% while curing poison and mana burn. Level-ups are massively powerful, and you should always try to take advantage of them. And I mean always – this resource should be used in every dungeon.

    But how can you control when you level up? This is not always possible, especially in the early levels. If one kill will take every last inch of your health and mana, you’re already using up a lot of good! But for tougher battles, using the “Level Up Catapult” is invaluable.

    A great time to take advantage of leveling up is during a boss fight. Here’s how it works:

    • When you’re close to leveling, often up to level 8 or level 9, restore and recover mana to prepare to fight.
    • Kill the boss and cast glyphs until you use up all your health and mana.
    • Kill one or more low level enemies you can hit in one hit (see #3) until you level up. Beware of First Strike and Death Gaze enemies – they can still kill you!
    • Use your newly restored health and mana to finish off the boss.

    You should almost always plan on using the level-up catapult to kill a tough boss. But don’t overlook the strategy for other tough enemies – it works on them too!

    3: Save the snacks for later.

    As you level up, you’ll start to be able to kill the weakest enemies in one hit, without retaliation. The community often refers to these enemies as “popcorn”. The WONAFYT glyph often has the effect of turning an area of ​​the map into a “popcorn bowl” that summons low-level enemies.

    Popcorn is very attractive. It sits there, begging for a victim. But in most cases, don’t eat your popcorn prematurely! There is no reason to kill him now when he can be killed at any time. Save it to remove the cursed, pleasing gods, and most importantly, the level-up catapults (see #2).

    Note that some enemies do not make tasty snacks. Goblins and Gorgons are the most troublesome as they will fight back unless slowed. Tanker enemies like Metmen and Zombies are also hard to kill.

    4: Know your tools.

    Desktop Dungeons is all about choosing your battles wisely. Since combat is mostly predictable, you can easily predict which enemies you can defeat. The challenge is in realizing the potential of the tools at your disposal!

    Your goal is usually to find high-level enemies that are invincible (see #1). When considering whether to fight an enemy, take a look at the combat forecast – specifically, the number of tick marks on your health bar. You’ll rarely be able to kill a tough enemy by hitting them – you’ll need some help! Think about what tools and tricks you have access to, and consider whether they are enough to swing the fight in your favor.

    Here’s a sample of the tools you can use, with a particular focus on early game combat:


    For most characters, a glyph that helps you deal damage or take more hits is one of the most accessible ways to kill high-level enemies. In fact, BURNDAYRAZ is guaranteed to spawn in every run, so you can always count on him for at least one boss fight. PISORF, if it arises, is also excellent. Other glyphs that give you an edge in combat include BYSSEPS, GETINDARE, WEYTWUT, ENDISWAL, HALPMEH, APHEELSIK, and CYDSTEPP. Finding one of these early on might just be enough to get you through the first few levels.

    Class Abilities.

    • Many classes have tools that specifically help defeat certain types of enemies.
    • Berserks will eat warlocks for breakfast, priests are great zombie killers, monks like to kill flesh men, etc.


    Many of the common items sold in desktop dungeon shops are perfect for helping your character defeat high-level enemies. A simple pendant of health is enough to swing a fight at early levels, while a Trollheart will provide long-term benefits. The Fine Sword provides an excellent damage bonus. Quest items (unlocked through Silver Class Challenges) are often even more impactful, if somewhat more situational.

    God (once opened)

    Many gods offer cheap bounties that can help turn the fight in your favor. Worshiping Binwar, Tiki, or Johra will give you a useful outline. Yehura, Earth Mother, and Glowing Guardian all have ways to increase survivability. Taurog’s Blade deals an amazing early damage. And Glowing Guardian is notable for the extremely powerful Humility, which basically lets you gain experience bonuses for fighting enemies with the same level of stats. This is just a sample – the gods have many more complex powers that are beyond the scope of this guide.

    So, how do you choose the right fight? It’s not always easy. But by knowing what tools are available to you, you’ll know how to punch above your weight in no time!

    5: Explore with intention.

    Black Space is the main way to restore health and mana between battles. Except for certain classes, glyphs, and other situations, you generally don’t want to search during combat because the enemy will also respawn. The regeneration rate – for both you and the enemy – is 1 HP per level per tile. This means that you can rarely take out an equal or higher level opponent. Note, however, that there are many exceptions to this guideline, the most obvious being the Monk class.

    Don’t feel bad when you inevitably waste black space exploring the map and looking for targets, especially in the early parts of the run. But if you have a good target in mind, and you just need to search to restore health and mana, don’t waste blackspace unnecessarily!

    • Since Blackspace restores both health and mana, getting both bars “balanced” can be difficult. For example, a warrior will often be hungry, while a cleric will search a lot to replenish their huge health pool. When health and mana are “out of balance,” try to get value from more resources so it’s not wasted.
    • If you have a lot of health, you can use it to take out a pesky low-level enemy like a goblin, gorgon, or matman that you might have trouble killing later on without getting hit.
    • If you have more mana, consider using it for “utilities” like Endiswal, Imawal, or Wonafyt.
    • Halpmeh and Bludtupowa are designed to convert one resource into another. When using Bludtupowa, try to position your character so that you reveal tiles that are otherwise inaccessible.
    • Sometimes, it can be difficult to avoid waste due to map geometry. For example, you may only need 1 black space tile, but your only option is to search for 3 or more tiles at once. So, when health and mana are low, prefer tiles that show a lot of black space. It’s a very subtle trick, but will help avoid wasted searches in the long run.

    6: Secure your spikes.

    It’s a simple one. Save potions for the dungeon boss fight(s), or otherwise the hardest fight(s) whenever possible. In general, you shouldn’t really need to use potions for leveling. This principle also applies to other mechanics that can be used to “spike” your health and/or mana, be they items, blessings, or other means.

    For healing poison and mana burn, it’s best to rely on leveling up (see #2). Snakes and wraiths pose little threat as long as you can clear the kill level.

    7: Eyes on the prize

    This final guideline is one that is easy to forget amidst the chaos of dungeons. There is only one requirement to successfully complete the dungeon: kill the boss. Everything you do in a dungeon – leveling up, getting boosters, buying items, worshiping gods – is all for the purpose of preparing you for one or more final battles.

    Is there a level 9 Goo blob sitting there, annoying to kill? There is no need. Stay focused on the goal!



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here