Risk of Rain 2 is what most, if not all, rogue-like shooters want to be. I’m not certain how many games I’ve seen the amount of procedurally generated detail, keeping the game interesting, rewarding, and punishing at the same time.
And to add to all of that, this brilliant effort from Hopoo Games recently got its most major update, the Risk of Rain 2 Anniversary update, with a host of new things to explore, craft and experience.
Along with a new character called the Bandit, a new boss called the Grandparent, and close to 100 new lore entries, this new update comes with all the goodies to keep you hooked for another couple thousand hours if you have enjoyed the excellent difficulty scaling, enemy design, and loot distribution so far.
So, keeping that in mind, let us take a look at an updated tier list for Risk of Rain 2 characters, and what you need to prepare for the upcoming one, slated to release in Q4 2021.
Risk of Rain 2 Characters: The Lower Tier
By default, the Survivor that you inhabit when you are dropped into the world of Risk of Rain 2 is the Commando.
And while the severely limited attack options won’t completely debilitate success in the game when playing as the Commando, you now have the option to not go for the lowest in the list, and instead opt for the Huntress who we will discuss in detail in a bit.
The Commando’s Primary, called the Double Tap, allows you to dual-wield weapons with high consistency of damage, which sounds good until you get to the falloff, which is steep, with you losing 50% damage once the distance is 60m.
Despite being an inherent range type, most of the Commando’s attacks are short bursts of intense damage at close range, including the Secondary abilities called the Phase Blast and the Phase Round.
Aside from that, The Commando gets minor utility skills centered around his jetpack to boost his jumps and slides, and specials Suppressive Fire and Frag Grenade, which are about as interesting as they sound.
With frustratingly low health, moderate movement and low damage, fewer damage options, and disappointing unlockables, The Commando makes it to the bottom of our list.
Risk of Rain 2 Characters: Mid-Tier
Yeah, we had to create a lower-tier just to show how bad the Commando is. However, bad isn’t something you have to worry about with Acrid, a melee-range hybrid Survivor with intrinsic poison damage.
In essence, you can use Acrid as a DoT (damage-over-time) character, noting however that multiple Acrid characters cannot stack their damage.
This Survivor comes equipped with a bevy of skills to dynamically enhance your performance on the battlefield without having you feeling like you must lock yourself down to a single playstyle.
Acrid’s Passive is quite self-explanatory, Poison deals 10% of your opponent’s base health as damage over time, as do all default abilities.
The Secondary, Neurotoxin, nets you 240% damage for each enemy hit, the default utility, Caustic Leap, sees you deal 320% along with a pool of poison damage with an extra 25%, and Epidemic, the special which gives you multi-targeting capabilities with 100% damage and range.
While Acrid struggles a bit at boss battles unless the player is significantly skilled, the crowd control and DoT potential of the character more than make up for it, which make Acrid a great all-around option to go for and even main.
Related Read: Best Risk Of Rain 2 Mods
Mages? In a roguelite? Artificer is exactly that, and much more. This ranged focused character is well, a mage, who deals high intensity projectile and offers great chaining and crowd control.
The challenge with a Survivor mostly using ranged projectile damage, however, is that the accuracy of the projectiles is nigh impossible to turn into actual precision.
Artificer’s Passive, ENV Suit, allows her to hover in the air, and her default Primary, Flamebolt, is a quite underwhelming fire-based attack.
Although you can augment her by unlocking her second Primary ability, Plasma bolt, the effort required is considerable.
Each deals 220% damage to enemies on 1.3-second cooldown, not allowing her to continuously have it on, unlike some characters in the game.
Moving on, Artificer has the Secondary Charged Nano-Bomb, which can deal up to 1200% damage to a single target and stunning them, allowing you to charge it while sprinting to regain your stance, and dealing high damage at the cost of a moderate cooldown.
Her other Secondary is Charged Nano-Spear, which is a concentrated version of the former, having the same damage potential but this time freezes all enemies.
Artificer is one of the slowest Survivors in the game, which makes keeping distance and careful use of your abilities your best bet against the constantly rising challenge.
A good but disappointing low-consistency character, the Loader has a very solid stat base and aside from having only one gimmick, is an all-around solid pick.
Starting off with said base stats, Loader has one of the highest HPs in the game, starting off with 208 points.
She gets the Passive Scrap Barrier, which grants her two things; the ability to negate fall damage and a full-on barrier after she hits enemies with her gauntlets.
Her Primary, Knuckledown, is slow on activation but deals 320% damage to all nearby enemies, and her default Secondary, the Grapple Fist, allows her to fire her gauntlet forward and turn it into an impromptu grappling hook, pulling her to her target.
Her unlocked Secondary, the Spiked Fist, pulls enemies to her instead, allowing for the 320% damage and stunning them.
Loader’s default Utility skill is a Charged Gauntlet, which has a staggering damage range of 600%-2700%, which sends her flying in the direction of the attack.
Her Special is the M551 Pylon, which sees her throw a contraption in the air chaining 100% damage to all enemies in the area. It can also be grappled.
A completely melee-focused character, the Mercenary makes up for their lack of range by having an insanely high skill ceiling, allowing higher skilled players to make the Merc even more competitive or equally as competitive as mid and high-range characters.
The Passive that you unlock right after getting the Mercenary is Cybernetic Enhancements, allowing you to jump two times in quick succession.
He is quite resilient too, as the base health regen of the Mercenary is among the highest in the game, allowing you to take much more punishment and focusing on close-quarters combat.
His primary, the Laser Sword, deals 130% damage for each swipe, and a cumulative area demolition of 300% damage for every third swipe.
Mercenary’s default Secondary, Whirlwind, allows for either horizontal slicing for two times 200% damage, or vertical slicing if used in the air for the same amount of damage.
As far as Utility goes, Blinding Assault is a forward dash that hits for 200% damage and allows for 3 chains upon hit, including a stun. Eviscerate, his Special ability, renders the Mercenary completely invulnerable after activation for 6s, dealing extremely high damage for the same time period.
A character with excellent burst damage options and lightning-quick movement speed, the Merc is a lethal build in the right hands.
The latest Survivor to be added to the game, and a great Gunslinger type character, the Bandit is mid-to-high ranged, with a good balance of abilities.
Bandit’s Passive, Backstab is a stun attack that is activated whenever you strike enemies from behind.
Now if you are struggling with the same, the orientation of the enemy’s attack can help you a lot in strategizing a perfect stun.
Having done that, Bandit has two Primary options, one is Burst, a shotgun type weapon that does 5 times 100% damage, and Blast, which is a rifle type weapon that hits once for 330%.
Both are great at different ranges.
Bandit has two Secondaries, the Serrated Dagger, and the Serrated Shiv.
The former is an up close and personal knife to the enemy while the other sees you throw one at them, for 360% and 240% damage respectively, along with the DoT Hemorrhaging, which can deal 2000% base damage over time with a 15s timer. Sheesh.
Bandit’s Smoke Bomb utility allows you to go invisible for 3s, as well as hitting for 200% damage, stunning, and then hitting for 200% again.
Lights Out, the Special, sees you doing 600% damage for a single enemy, and resetting your cooldowns, and Desperado, another Special, hits for the same and gets a 10% stack on each kill instead.
Risk of Rain 2 Characters: Mid/High Tier
A fast, high defense, and high damage character, Engineer has you covered on seemingly all fronts, is a great beginner pickup and a great choice to main as well.
Because of his set of abilities, the Engineer is truly one-of-a-kind, which will make you experience the game in a different light.
The only way to effectively play the Engineer is to focus on his high damage double turrets.
Aside from that, his Primary is Bouncing Grenades, which will net you 8 charged grenades dealing 100% damage. The Engineer can sprint while charging these grenades.
His Secondary abilities, Pressure Mines and Spider Mines are great for area control and will give you either two-stage or fully charged mines for 300% or 900% damage in case of the former, and a singular one for 600% damage in case of the latter.
The Engineer also has one of the best Utility skills in the game, the Bubble Shield, which allows for all attacks from the enemies to be deflected while all your attacks hit for full damage as usual.
The Bubble Shield lasts 15 seconds but must be used carefully to make sure you don’t get mobbed.
The alternate to this is Thermal Harpoons, which has you paint targets to unleash 500% damage harpoons, up to 4.
The alternate starting character to the Commando, Huntress is an extremely fast, agile, and mobile character who is also versatile when it comes to her range of attack and usability in higher tier scenarios.
Starting off, her Utility, Blink, is hands down the best mobility skill in the game, as it allows you to teleport a short distance in the air or on the ground, either negating enemy damage or fall damage, with a cooldown of 7 seconds.
Her Primary, Strafe, is an automatic target finding and seeking arrow which deals 150% damage, but her overall DPS comes from her secondary, the Laser Glaive, which throws a seeking projectile that can bounce up to 6 times and deal 250% damage for each time that it does bounce.
On top of that, it will net you an extra 10% per bounce.
Her Special, Arrow Rain, sees her teleport into the sky and then unleash a barrage of arrows, slowing all enemies it hits and doing 225% of damage.
Surprisingly, there is not much else about the Huntress, but the entire kit that she has makes her much more viable, at least a tier more viable than the Commando, and several other characters in the game.
Barely grazing the absolute high tier in our list is the Captain, a character who has low mobility and defense options (more on that later) but more than makes up for it with his extremely high damage and item synergy options.
The Captain’s Primary, Vulcan Shotgun, is a chargeable shotgun blast that deals 8 times 120% damage, which on a full charge just straight up becomes a sniper, allowing you to engage from greater distances while not having to care about the spread.
His Secondary, Power Tazer, is a projectile attack that deals 100% damage and travels much further if bounced.
You want to use the Secondary for its shocking and stunning capabilities and not for the base damage that it provides.
Moving on, his Passive is the Defensive Microbots, which practically all the defense he has.
But this is extremely powerful as all attacks except hits are deflected immediately, and these bots can stack.
The Orbital Probe, his Utility, are three probes that stun and deal 1500% damage on an 11s cooldown.
His Special is the no cooldown but limited use Orbital Supply Beacon, which allows you to call down two beacon types and two of them in total by default, and four through unlocks.
The Healing one, well, heals all allies in the surrounding area, and the Shocking beacon will apply the same effect as the Tazer to all the enemies inside the beacon.
Risk of Rain 2 Characters: High Tier List
Rex is an interesting character.
Damaging yourself to damage enemies in most cases is poor advice at best and idiotic at worst. But Rex does not care about most cases.
This is a mid-to-high range, insanely high damage character which has to hurt and passively buff itself creating a synergy of damage all around.
Rex’s Passive is Natural Toxins, which allows certain attacks to deal with the Weaken debuff, which reduces their armor, movement speed, and damage.
Rex’s Primary and Secondary work in tandem, the former being DIRECTIVE: Inject, which fires 3 syringes for 3-time 80% damage.
The last shot, if hit, will heal Rex for 60% of the total damage dealt.
The latter, Seed Barrage, will hurt you for 15% of your health, but launch a mortar into the sky for 450%.
So, the damage you deal is so far beyond the hit you receive, that it doesn’t feel punishing anymore.
The Utility skill, DIRECTIVE: Disperse, fires a sonic boom that also applies the Weaken debuff.
Along with that, the Special DIRECTIVE: Harvest, fires a bolt that will deal 330% damage and inject a singular enemy.
On their death, healing fruits will drop which will restore 25% of your max health, which lasts for 20 seconds.
Mul-T flat out gets the most health in the game. The character is a tank in every respect, but the offset is that it deals less base damage than the rest of the cast.
But this makes for an extremely high damage character regardless, that can take a lot of punishment as well.
Mul-T’s Passive allows it to hold 2 equipment at once, for example, one being the high rate of fire Nail Gun and the other being the slower but more powerful Rebar Punch.
This allows for more flexibility in your attack options.
Mul-T’s Secondary, the Blast Canister, stuns after launching a canister for 220% damage. On top of that, it drops stun bomblets for 5-time 44% damage.
Its Utility, Transport Mode, grants you an additional 200% armor, 220% movement speed and deals 250% damage to enemies.
The Special Retool allows you to have two equipments at one, as stated above.
A surprise addition, yes, but given the fact that the design of the Heretic is so cool, and that he is so far removed from each playable character is the main allure, apart from everything listed below, of course.
Now, you can’t choose the Heretic as a base playable character from the selection menu. Instead, collecting all Heresy items in a single instance will allow you to transform into him, augmenting your health bar to insane levels.
And that isn’t even scratching the surface of why this character is so high on the tier list, right at the tippity top.
The Heretic’s primary, Hungering Gaze, is a projectile-based attack wherein you fire a series of shards that bury into the enemy and detonate after a short delay, dealing 120% damage, with 12 charges and a +2 second delay in cooldown per charge.
His Secondary is the Slicing Maelstrom, another projectile attack with a 5s cooldown that charges to hit 175% DoT to nearby enemies.
That’s not all, however, as this also explodes after 3 seconds for 700% damage. Bonkers.
Shadowfade, the Utility, has you fade away to become intangible and increase your movement speed, along with healing you for 18.2% of your maximum health, which on default you keep losing. This lasts for 3 seconds.
Ruin is the Heretic’s Special ability and sees you deal damage to add stacks of Ruin, which upon detonation give 300% base damage and a stacking 120% for each Ruin stack.
As this is not a hierarchy in terms of numbers, all Risk of Rain 2 characters within a certain tier will deal more or less the same amount of damage, but the difference will remain in their dynamism, passive, regens, and crowd control. We hope this guide helps you prepare for the new update in Q4 2021 with new characters!