Risk of Rain 2 by Hopoo Games is a standout hit among the multitude of roguelikes on the market. Originally released in 2019, the game takes the core mechanics of the original Risk of Rain and translates them to a 3D environment. The result is an incredibly polished third-person shooter with tons of replay value.
In 2022, the game received an expansion called Survivors of the Void. Now that the update has had time to settle, let’s go over our ranking for the strongest Survivors in Risk of Rain 2. Note that this list is based off Monsoon Mode, the game’s hardest difficulty level.
Let’s get started!
All 13 Survivors in Risk of Rain 2, Ranked worst to best
It’s refreshing to know that there aren’t really any wrong options in Risk of Rain 2. Each character can develop an awesome build and absolutely destroy levels, but some have an easier time getting there. We’ll start with the worst Survivors in Risk of Rain 2 and move up from there.
Huntress bottoms out our list, despite being a fan favorite. Her mobility is superb, especially with her Multi-Blink movement skill. Also recommended is her Ballista Shot, which offers some much-needed single-target damage.
What really lets Huntress down is her tiny HP pool and the auto-aim on her primary fire. Having auto-aim in a game like Risk of Rain 2 can be utterly crippling — target prioritization is key in eliminating threats before they eliminate you. This essentially means that Huntress’s two issues compound upon each other.
The last issue with Huntress is deciding which primary fire to utilize. Her default is more reliable, but her alternate scales much better with crit chance. Unfortunately, this means that if you run into a lot of crit items, you’ll wish you were running the alternate and vice versa. Since there is no way to switch mid-run, you’re a bit at the mercy of drops.
Despite getting some solid buffs heading into the new expansion, it’s hard to rate Artificer much higher than this. The main issue with the character is her special skill, either Flamethrower or Ion Surge. Artificer as a concept is based on the idea of using each of her skills off of cooldown, so having wonky options is actually a big deal.
Flamethrower is awkward because you can’t sprint while using it. The damage and scaling of the ability has improved dramatically with the DLC update, but that doesn’t matter much if you still have to be a sitting duck at close range to use it.
Ion Surge allows you to fly endlessly, but it’s awkward to use as a damage skill. This means your actual DPS is almost entirely reliant on hitting your secondary. It’s due to this slight clunkiness in playstyle that Artificer falls this far. If you can make her work, though, she absolutely excels at chain freezing the final boss, Mithrix.
As much as it hurts to put Mercenary this low on the list, it had to be done. Mercenary has perhaps the highest skill ceiling in the game, meaning it demands a lot from the player just to achieve the same results other characters would reach more easily. This isn’t to dissuade any new players from giving him a shot — just be prepared to learn a lot from trial and error.
Mercenary also suffers a bit from the new Void Seed mechanic added in the DLC update. As a combo-driven melee character, damaging AOE fields are kind of a nightmare for him.
The positive is that Mercenary has two different yet highly viable builds. Melee Mercenary stacks attack speed and generates as many invincibility frames as possible with his special, Eviscerate. Ranged Mercenary, on the other hand, does most of his damage through chaining Slicing Winds.
The base character in Risk of Rain 2, Commando specializes in blasting enemies with his primary fire. Typically, Commando builds sink or swim based on the items the player picks up. If they’re able to gain powerful proc effects, they succeed. Otherwise, they may struggle to do damage.
Thankfully for the Commando, the DLC added a bunch of new items that work very well with high proc chance, namely quite a few of the Void items. Commando appreciates this consistency buff, as it was maybe his biggest weakness before.
Unfortunately, though, Commando’s abilities outside of his primary are a bit lackluster. This makes him a prime candidate for picking up the transformative Lunar items and potentially turning your Commando run into a Heretic one.
Acrid marks our transition into characters with busted capabilities in this game. For Acrid, it’s his combination of high survivability and consistent damage over time with his poison skills. In theory, Acrid can wipe most of the game by spreading his DOTs and jumping around to avoid big hits. Unfortunately, this playstyle can leave a bit to be desired, especially concerning target prioritization.
The other negative with Acrid is his narrow range of playstyles. Blight is harder to get going than poison (think the problem with Huntress but worse) and his melee skills are pretty unsafe to use.
MUL-T ranks this high on our list for its insane damage output potential. Whether you’re using Power Mode or Retool, MUL-T scales in its power nearly exponentially.
For primary fires, we recommend some combination of Nail Gun or Rebar Puncher. Both can even be doubled up on. Unfortunately, the Scrap Launcher and Power-Saw both are too weak and situational. This means that MUL-T has options, but not as many as you’d expect for a character of this nature.
MUL-T’s real weakness is a lack of mobility. Being tanky matters less in Monsoon difficulty and even less after the DLC. Now that the collapse debuff exists, it mostly punishes low mobility characters like MUL-T.
Engineer is similar to MUL-T in the sense that he can scale upward extremely hard with a set of good items. Unlike MUL-T, the DLC benefitted him more than it hurt him. Some of the new items go absolutely crazy on the Engineer, including some of the new Void items. The Pluripotent Larva and the Lysate Cell help him get extra turrets, and the Spare Drone Parts turns the Drone build from a meme into an insane DPS option.
Engineer still struggles with a lack of mobility and a weak primary fire, but with a bit of luck, he becomes one of the most broken characters in the game.
Next on the docket is the newest character added before the DLC, Bandit. Understanding Bandit’s place on this list means understanding its passive. Backstab allows Bandit to get guaranteed crits on all attacks made against enemies’ backs, which totals to a lot of damage. This is further amplified by the Bandit’s ability to go invisible with its utility, Smoke Bomb.
Having a lot of damage potential early in a run is the single strongest quality a Survivor can have to increase their consistency. The Bandit is able to get reliable strong early stages due to its passive and relatively strong movement. The most difficult part of the Bandit is its scaling — it can be difficult to backstab enemies in the later game once they amass in large numbers.
Another thing dragging the Bandit down is the relative uselessness of its secondary abilities. They can add a bit of extra damage or momentum halting, but overall, they don’t do as much as the Bandit’s other abilities.
Speaking of consistency, the Captain is the absolute king of that category. Running at least one (or two) hacking beacons allows the player to access powerful item drops like big chests or shrine of chances at a rate unparalleled to any other survivor. In Risk of Rain 2, your power level is directly tied to your items, and no Survivor has the economic power of the Captain.
Unfortunately, the good news doesn’t travel much further than that. The Captain has a very good primary fire, but his other abilities don’t measure up. His Orbital Strike abilities are solid but don’t work in some parts of the game, his secondary is pretty terrible, and he has no movement skill to speak of. This just goes to show how powerful his good abilities are.
It might seem like the plant robot REX is too high on first glance, but REX ends up being one of the highest-ranked Survivors in the game. Sporting incredibly high early-game damage with its secondary, Seed Barrage, REX can mow through early encounters as long as the player is comfortable with its relatively low mobility and fluctuating health pool.
REX has less consistency than Captain, but makes up for it with better scaling and by having each of its skills be extremely useful in different situations. Being able to apply weaken to powerful bosses also mitigates the inherent danger zone REX lives in with abilities that cost HP.
This all being said, REX is a difficult to play survivor with a high skill ceiling. With some understanding, though, it can absolutely tear through the game.
One of the new characters added with the DLC, the Void Fiend is unique in that all of its abilities are available on any given run. The transform mechanic is how the Void Fiend goes from its rather placid Base form into its manic Corrupted form. Within that lies its potential. There are many ways to build the Fiend, with some even opting to stay in its Base form for its hit scan primary fire. That being said, the damage from the Corrupted form is insane at taking down early game bosses.
Once Void Fiend starts to scale, it can run into some issues when its damage isn’t enough to melt through foes anymore and it has to commit to being up close. This is when it’s especially important to scale up to the point where the Base mode is capable of dealing a good amount of damage.
Loader was the strongest character in the game before the DLC, and now finds herself being knocked down a peg. Being immune to fall damage and having some of the highest mobility and DPS puts the Loader in a class of her own as far as early game consistency goes. There’s a reason why she’s the most common Survivor for Risk of Rain speed runs.
Both versions of the Loader’s utility provide the bulk of her DPS. Punching through a line of enemies is the fastest way to clear a stage and only gets stronger with damage and mobility items.
The reason why Loader loses a few points is due to the new mechanics of the DLC. The Void Seeds are inherently difficult for melee-based Survivors to navigate, and the collapse mechanic has the ability to kill a normally tanky Survivor like Loader. None of the new items really do much to change her build style either, so that’s just an even wash.
That being said, she’s still exceptionally powerful. Just be warned — despite being easy to get good results on, she has an extremely high skill ceiling.
The other new addition to the game, the Rail Gunner checks all the boxes as to what makes a Risk of Rain 2 Survivor excel. Combining the damage of Loader with the ability to hit from a distance is one thing. Having the crowd control potential of Artificer with insane scaling potential is another, and pushes her over the edge of broken. The Rail Gunner is easily able to field most challenges the game offers.
Beware that this character also sports a high skill ceiling. Getting used to the weak spot mechanic is critical, no matter which build you end up going. Speaking of weaknesses, the Rail Gunner really only has one — mobility. This can be mitigated with the Concussion Device utility and enough attack speed on the primary. Look out for equipment that provides escape like Milky Chrysalis and Volcanic Egg.
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