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Deep Rock Galactic: Driller Build Guide and Tips (2024)

NOTE: Our Deep Rock Galactic: Driller Guide has been recently updated for Season 4.

If you want to conquer Hoxxes IV and uncover all of its untold riches for yourself, you’re going to have to dig deep. Real deep. Thankfully, the Driller is fully prepared to mine through the entire planet if that’s what it takes, and with this guide, you’ll be the best one in Deep Rock Galactic.

With his arsenal of tools, no rock or threat can keep the Driller out for long. However, being a good Driller means recognizing where you’re needed the most in every situation. Whether it be creating a path to connect your split team or focusing on keeping enemy swarms under control with your main gun, you’re constantly needed somewhere.

To ensure your success and help you gain the most mileage out of the Driller, we’ve created our comprehensive Driller guide on everything Driller-related in Deep Rock Galactic. We’ll go over what’s expected of your role, the best builds for the Driller, how to utilize your equipment, and other tips and tricks to help you conquer Hoxxes IV.

Let’s get started!

Role of the Driller Class

As the Driller, you’re effectively leading your team’s charge. It’s your job to drill through the Compacted Dirt walls that separate sections of the map, clear out any annoying terrain that prevents easy traversal, and create paths to hard-to-reach areas.

Tactical Tunnels

It’s not uncommon for your allies to get separated or lost in the winding caverns of Hoxxes IV, so you can drill straight to them if the distance is too great. Alternatively, you can dig tunnels to key objectives (like the exit pod) if finding a natural path is too troublesome.

Drill - Staircase
Improvised stairs – not pretty, but it gets the job done. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Digging convenient tunnels is especially critical when you’re dealing with Morkite refinery pipelines and hacking pods. In these cases, you can create convenient straight tunnels to lay down the pipelines and connection pods. This removes the headache of trying to connect points A and B in caves with severe inclines and obstacles.

Additionally, your team will sometimes have to carry heavy objects like Aquarqs or Drilldozer batteries to certain locations. Drilling tunnels that you can simply walk/jump through while carrying objects is much better than trying to parkour your way across the environment.

A beautiful tunnel between the refinery and Morkite geyser with an easily connected pipeline. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Driller in Combat

As for combat, your primary weapon (regardless of choice) is fantastic for providing AoE coverage to deal with swarms of enemies. If your team is at risk of getting overwhelmed, you can lure the enemy to an area where you can effectively funnel them into a stream of death.

If a teammate gets downed in the middle of a swarm, you’re one of the best at rescuing them, as you can bathe their surroundings in fire/ice/acid to create an opening. It’s arguably worth doing so even if they’re still standing, given that a bit of friendly fire damage is better than being mauled by dozens of enemies. Alternatively, you can drill a tunnel under them to safely revive them. Just make sure you don’t get swarmed as well from behind!

Rescuing a downed teammate in Deep Rock Galactic.
Don’t worry, he’s immune to 3rd degree burns while downed. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

You can even use tunnels offensively, namely against turrets. Missions with the Rival Presence modifier are teeming with mechanical enemies, and one such threat is the massive clusters of turrets. While you can deactivate all the turrets by hacking the control node, reaching it and being able to safely do so is another issue.

This is where you shine. Digging out the area underneath a turret, will instantly destroy it. You can remove the turrets that are preventing you from reaching the control node, or you can dig a tunnel to the control node and hack it from the safety of the ground (assuming you’re in reach of it).

As for the new Rockpox enemies introduced with Season 4, the Driller can mostly still rely on his tried-and-true method of spraying AoE death everywhere. However, you might want to switch your secondary to take out the weakpoint blisters on sturdier enemies after spraying them down with your primary.

Burning Rockpox enemies with the flamethrower.
Purge the infection with cleansing fire. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Unfortunately, you can’t clear away terrain that’s been infested with Rockpox by drilling it, but you can make small trenches in particularly infested areas. It may be just enough room to give your team a breather from accumulating more infection.

Best Driller Perks

No matter what equipment you take on a mission, there’s one perk that is an absolute must-have on the Driller — Friendly. All of your primary weapons have massive AoE presence, and your arsenal of explosives tend to have large blast areas. Reducing friendly fire damage is essential on the Driller, or your team will hate you.

We also strongly recommend taking Dash as one of your active perks to get you out of danger quickly. You’ll often be up close spraying enemies with your primary, so having an exit strategy is always useful.

Beyond those two, you can fill your remaining perk slots with whatever suits your playstyle. That being said, we have some suggestions.

Active Perks

  • Dash – As mentioned above, having a way to immediately escape is incredibly useful.
  • Field Medic – Given that you’ll often have to make emergency rescue tunnels or bathe the surrounding area in elemental death, this further helps you be the team’s savior.
  • Beast Master – The tamed Glyphid is great at pulling attention from enemies and keeping them nicely grouped in one area to blast with your primary.
  • Iron Will – The Driller is arguably the best one to run Iron Will, as he has the firepower to actually clear out a swarm of enemies and rescue an ally before going back down.

Passive Perks

  • Friendly – As mentioned above, this perk is essential.
  • Born Ready – This one is a bit situational depending on which weapons you run, but it can be a life-saver. Simply switch to your Drills and start digging a tunnel to buy yourself some time to fully reload and start blasting the nicely grouped up enemies.
  • Thorns – Helps deal with any enemy that slips through your primary weapon’s barrage, as they’ll probably be on the verge of death. Especially useful against those tiny Swarmers.
  • Vampire – Since the Driller’s weapons typically chip away at enemy health, you can rather reliably finish off enemies with a melee strike to activate this perk. Plus, both your Drills and the Impact Axe grenade will count as melee attacks.

Related Reading: Best Perks for Deep Rock Galactic

Driller Primary Weapons & Builds

Regardless of whether you choose fire, cryo, or acid, the Driller packs the best weapons for keeping swarms under control. You can turn any environment into a hellscape for your enemies (just be sure to keep an eye on your ammo).

1. CRSPR Flamethrower

Screenshot of the CRSPR Flamethrower primary weapon in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

The CRSPR Flamethrower is the Driller’s default primary weapon, and arguably the best starting weapon of all the dwarves. Its performance holds up even after you’ve unlocked the other guns, and recent buffs have made it even more of a mainstay.

As you’d expect, this flamethrower lights your enemies on fire and steadily eats away at their health. When you fill up your enemy’s heat meter (indicated by a flame icon next to their health bar), they’ll ignite and take periodic damage.

However, dealing direct damage with flamethrower can be rather ammo intensive. Instead, it’s usually more practical to light the enemy’s path on fire so they have to walk through the flames. Focus on creating lines of flame and kite your enemies through them.

Flamethrower - FIring Line
They’ll be nice and crispy by the time they reach you. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Do note that at higher difficulties, the enemy AI will usually try to patrol around your flame lines, so you may need to light more areas on fire to keep them under control. However, the flamethrower is still one of the best weapons for crowd control when a massive swarm approaches.

If all else fails, you can always just do a quick 360-degree spin and create a ring of fire around you and your team to ensure enemies have to walk through your flames to reach you.

Another important thing to note – fully lightning mechanical enemies on fire will instantly kill them. Given the increased appearance of mechanical enemies in missions with the Rival Presence modifier, you’ll often be relying on this trick to conserve on ammo.

While it’s fairly easy to fully ignite turrets and such (mainly by igniting the terrain around them), it’s considerably more difficult to ignite enemies that fly around (we’re looking at you drones). In those cases, it may be more ammo efficient to use your side arm.

Turret on Fire
The turret flambée is almost done. Chef’s kiss. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

And yes – the mini-boss Nemesis will also instantly die if ignited. Just be careful with your distance when dealing with it. You’ll want to find the sweet spot where you’re in range of burning it, but also far away enough to avoid getting grabbed by its tentacle arms.

As for Rockpox enemies, fire luckily continues to be one of the best ways to deal with them. Especially when they die and release the baby leeches/worms within them. If the area is already ignited, they should die immediately upon spawning.

Build A: Direct Damage

This build emphasizes just directly burning your enemies to a crisp. You’ll want as much max ammo as possible, so resupplies will give you more. Aim directly for your enemies and don’t stop firing till they’re dead.

  • [2] High Pressure Ejector
  • [1] Unfiltered Fuel
  • [3] More Fuel / [1] Oversized Valves – if you’re not worried about ammo.
  • [3] More Fuel
  • [2] Targets Explode
  • Overclock: Face Melter — The damage boost is easily worth the reduction in range and slightly more frequent reloads.

Build B: Sticky Flames (Recommended)

This build is all about keeping those lines of flames you create burning for as long as possible and is the one we recommend the most for the CRSPR Flamethrower. It’s fantastic for keeping swarms at bay, or at least ensuring they

While incredibly ammo efficient, you’ll still have to anticipate the enemy’s movement to make the most out of this. Try to stick to shooting only small puffs of flame to light the terrain on fire.

  • [2] High Pressure Ejector
  • [3] Sticky Flame Duration
  • [2] Sticky Flame Slowdown
  • [2] Sticky Flame Duration
  • [1] Heat Radiance — Makes it easier to ignite nearby enemies, but requires good kiting to be effective.
  • Overclock: Sticky Additive / Sticky Fuel — If you’re very good at managing your ammo, go with the second one.

2. Cryo Cannon

Screenshot of the Cryo Cannon primary weapon in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

This is the Driller’s best weapon for helping his team deal massive damage and locking down major threats. This time, you’re working with ice and a cold meter. Blast enemies with cryo long enough and they’ll freeze solid, taking triple damage from any direct damage source (AoE damage doesn’t count!).

You don’t have to worry about hitting frozen enemies in their weak points — their entire body takes extra damage (technically speaking, frozen enemies have their weakpoints disabled). We recommend swapping to your sidearm to finish off high-health frozen targets.

As a bonus, frozen enemies don’t trigger special death effects (like the Praetorian’s death fog). Even better, flying enemies instantly die after freezing and hitting the ground!

Keep in mind that, unlike the flamethrower, the cannon is better suited for direct damage. Don’t bother with trying to alter the terrain — freezing the area will only slow the enemy at best.

A frozen Praetorian moments before it receives an Impact Axe to the face. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Unlike the flamethrower, the Cryo Cannon cannot be reloaded and instead functions off of a pressure system. The more pressure, the longer the gun can fire before having to wait to rebuild pressure. You can check the pressure gauge on the far right of the weapon.

Do note that larger and tougher enemies typically take longer to freeze and break out quicker than regular enemies. In those cases, you may want to continue blasting them with the Cryo Cannon to keep them frozen while the rest of your team takes advantage of the frozen damage multiplier.

However, we advise against using the Cryo Cannon when dealing with mechanical enemies, as they have a very high resistance against being frozen. If you do manage to freeze one, you’ll probably have depleted half your ammo on a single enemy.

Conversely, it’s the opposite case when dealing with Rockpox enemies. Freezing them and effectively turning their entire body into a weakpoint makes it a lot easier to kill them, as you don’t have to specifically aim for their blisters.

Build A: Freeze and Shatter

There’s only one real build we can recommend for the Cryo Cannon, and that’s one that focuses on freezing enemies as quickly as possible with direct damage. Thankfully, the cannon can do a surprising amount of damage and will instantly kill most low-health enemies with this build.

We recommend pairing it with the Subata using our Mag Dump build below to ensure that you can finish off bulkier enemies who won’t die instantly from being frozen.

  • [3] Stronger Cooling Unit
  • [1] Larger Reserve Tank
  • [2] Increased Flow Volume
  • [2] Supercooling Mixture
  • [1] Fragile — Chance on freezing enemies to do massive damage. Higher chance on low health targets.
  • Overclock: Tuned Cooler / Improved Thermal Efficiency / Flow Rate Expansion – Honestly, any of these are good options and effectively do the same thing, which is help you freeze more things.

3. Corrosive Sludge Pump

Screenshot of the Corrosive Sludge Pump primary weapon in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

This is the final primary weapon you can unlock for the Driller and is arguably his strongest one if you can master it. A bit of an inversion from the Driller’s other weapons, the Sludge Pump is a projectile-based weapon that immediately applies a nasty corrosion DoT (damage over time) to any hit enemies.

Notably, each shot has a bit of an arc to it, requiring you to get used to its unusual trajectory to land shots consistently and effectively. Luckily, each shot deals direct damage and has a small splash radius, so you can apply corrosion to multiple grouped-up enemies at once.

Alternatively, you can charge up a shot at a higher ammo cost to create a sludge bomb that releases clusters of goo puddles on impact that slow and eat away at the enemy. Do note that the puddles do not reapply the corrosion DoT, though. You have to directly hit enemies with a projectile again to reapply the effect.

Proper usage of the charged shot can create death zones that you can keep kiting enemies back and forth through to kill them quickly and safely. Fortunately, unlike the flamethrower’s Sticky Flames, the enemy AI doesn’t try as hard to avoid these puddles.

Just note that it’s not really effectively to apply puddles to walls and vertical surfaces due to the game’s coding being somewhat inconsistent. If you want to do so, angle your charged shot slightly higher than where you want the puddle to be and try to get closer before you fire it.

Screenshot of the Corrosive Sludge Pump in action in Deep Rock Galactic
Multiple goo puddles being ignited by the EPC. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Thanks to some buffs from Season 2, the weapon now chews away enemy armor by default! This makes it highly useful for dealing with armored enemies like Praetorians, Glyphid Guards, and Dreadnoughts.

Fun fact: you can ignite the puddles to deal extra fire damage to enemies! If you’re running the Experimental Plasma Charger with the heat mod or have another Driller on the team with the flamethrower, you can do some nasty combos. Don’t worry — igniting the puddles does not reduce their duration.

However, there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing this weapon over your other options. Besides the increased difficulty in needing to actually aim properly, the Sludge Pump has less ammo in comparison to its counterparts. It also struggles to deal with hordes as quickly, since you have to charge your shots and wait for the DoT damage to kill them.

Luckily, thanks to the tweaks and buffs given to the Sludge Pump back in Season 2, it remains an incredibly strong weapon in the right hands. Its corrosion DoT is incredibly effective as very few enemies resist it, being particularly lethal against most robotic enemies.

Plus, since its shots are considered projectiles, you can directly target the blisters on Rockpox enemies! One or two well placed shots to those weakpoints will usually be enough to let the corrosion finish it off. Just remember to periodically hit sturdier enemies with direct shots to reapply corrosion as needed!

Build A: Charged Shot

This build focuses on turning areas into massive goo-infested death zones that you kite your enemies through to poison them to death. It’s fantastic for dealing with swarms, holding choke-points, and buying time for your team.

However, you’ll want to rely on your sidearm to take out solitary enemies, as you don’t want to waste precious ammo on the Sludge Cannon. We strongly suggest pairing it with the Experimental Plasma Cutter using our direct damage build below, so you can deal with isolated threats and light the puddles on fire.

  • [3] Air Sensitive Compound
  • [2] Atomizer Nozzle
  • [2] More Goo Canisters / [1] Supersaturation – You’ll most likely need more ammo for higher difficulties.
  • [1] Spillback Extension – Conserving ammo is more important than reduced charge time.
  • [1] Protein Disruption Mix – It’s more important to reliably keep enemies in the goo than to deal a bit more damage.
  • Overclock: Disperser Compound — Your goal is to cover as much ground as possible with your charged shots. While the initial damage loss is a bit annoying, you’re mainly relying on kiting enemies through the puddles to kill them.

Build B: Direct Damage (Recommended)

Just keep peppering your enemies with single shots and let the corrosion steadily chew away their health. This Sludge Pump build is considerably simpler to play and manage ammo on.

While it’s a bit weaker at dealing with hordes of enemies, if there are enough enemies clumped together, the splash from each shot should affect all of them. Plus, any major bulkier threat will fall to your corrosive onslaught.

This is also the ideal build to take on missions teeming with mechanical enemies if you’re not running the flamethrower.

  • [2] Better Air Pressurizer
  • [3] Potent Goo Mix
  • [2] More Goo Canisters – While having more damage would be nice, ammo is more important.
  • [2] Improved Spooling Mechanism – You’re rarely going to be using charged shots with this build, so it’s better to be able to fire one off quickly when you really need it for emergencies.
  • [2] Fluoroantimonic Acid
  • Overclock – Volatile Impact Mixture / Hydrogen Ion Additive – With the Volatile overclock, you’ll have to regularly keep shooting enemies, but the added damage more than makes up for the reduced DoT duration. If you’d rather just let the corrosion deal the bulk of damage, run the Hydrogen overclock instead.

Driller Secondary & Builds

The Driller has three options for his secondary. The first two are effectively pistols and sit on wildly opposite ends of the difficulty curve to master. The third one is basically a beam cannon that amplifies status effects.

However, all three are respectable weapons in their own right and drastically help with ammo conservation on the Driller’s main weapon. With the right builds, they can further amplify your main weapon’s role.

1. Subata 120

Screenshot of the Subata 120 Side Arm in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

This is the Driller’s default side arm — a standard pistol with reliable aim and decent damage output. This gun shoots as fast as you can fire it. The Subata is mostly used to handle threats that your primary weapon can’t reach and to help conserve on ammo against isolated threats.

While it was rather lackluster previously, Season 4 has brought a slew of changes to its mods that have made it much better and versatile.

Thanks to those changes, the Subata is surprisingly effective at taking advantage of enemy weakpoints if you have steady aim and build appropriately. Depending on which modification you take for its final row, you can either devastate burning enemies or any of the flying Mactera bugs.

Build A: Weakpoint Precision

This build makes the Subata an incredibly precise weapon capable of dealing heavy damage to weakpoints. It’s best used to pick off isolated enemies or to finish off stragglers that have been ignited/poisoned.

As you can probably guess from that last phrase, it’s best paired with either the Flamethrower or Sludge Pump. If you’re planning on using the Cryo Cannon, use our next build – the Mag Dump.

  • [1] Improved Alignment – The description is a bit confusing. Once you stop firing and let the spread of the Subata reset, its next shot will be perfectly precise. Just don’t fire the weapon in rapid succession, and you’ll be able to hit any weakpoint with lethal accuracy.
  • [1] Expanded Ammo Bags
  • [1] Recoil Compensator
  • [1] Hollow-Point Bullets
  • [1] Volatile Bullets / [3] Neuro-Corrosive Toxic Catalyst – Choose based off which primary weapon you’re using. These mods are meant to help you finish off sturdier enemies.
  • Overclock: Chain Hit – Getting more bang for each shot is great, especially since you should be aiming for weakpoints all the time.

Build B: Mag Dump (Recommended)

This build is designed specifically to complement the Cryo Cannon to execute any frozen enemies that are still alive. Recall that frozen enemies have their weakpoints disabled and instead just take triple damage from any direct damage source.

Your goal is to pump as many hard-hitting bullets into the frozen target as fast as possible. Accuracy is not a concern here, as you’ll already have to be fairly up close to an enemy to freeze them in the first place.

  • [2] High Capacity Magazine
  • [2] Increased Caliber Rounds – The increased damage will offset the need for more ammo.
  • [3] Quickfire Ejector
  • [2] High Velocity Rounds – Weak points are disabled while frozen, so flat damage is better.
  • [2] Blowthrough Rounds
  • Overclock: Automatic Fire – You’ll want to be up close and personal, so your bullets don’t miss.

2. Experimental Plasma Charger (EPC)

Screenshot of the Experimental Plasma Charger Side Arm in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

This is a bit of an oddball of a weapon, and arguably the hardest weapon to master in Deep Rock Galactic. The EPC can be used as a standard pistol with a heat sink system. Instead of reloading, simply stop firing for a bit to let the weapon cool down. It also has the option of charging up a more powerful shot that travels a bit slower but explodes on impact for AoE damage.

Manual Detonation
Manual detonation of a charged shot. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

What makes this weapon so interesting and difficult to master is its last row of modifications. The Thin Containment Field mod lets you detonate a charged shot with a follow up normal shot. This manually detonated shot does a tremendous amount of damage and can even destroy the surrounding terrain.

Thanks to that, you can also mine minerals with the explosion (though be careful, it usually sends the loot flying in every direction). The only problem with this combo is getting the timing down to trigger the detonation at the right moment.

If you plan to go down this route, we strongly recommend practicing with it in a solo mission where you have plenty of Nitra to call in multiple resupplies. While it sounds easy on paper, actually gauging the distance and timing is rather difficult.

Alternatively, you can mod the weapon to heat up enemies and light them on fire as well. It’s a great way to further complement the Flamethrower’s playstyle or to ignite the Sludge Pump’s puddles (do note that it takes 3 shots to ignite).

Build A: Direct Damage (Recommended)

This build is designed for uncomplicated direct damage and grants the EPC the ability to ignite things.

  • [1] Increased Particle Density
  • [2] Overcharged Plasma Accelerator
  • [3] Tweaked Radiator
  • [2] High Density Battery
  • [1] Burning Nightmare — It takes about three shots to light a Sludge Pump puddle on fire.
  • Overclock: Energy Rerouting – We’re taking this mainly for the increased battery size (more ammo).

Build B: Charged Detonation

This build is for you if you’re all about that high risk, high reward charge lifestyle. Or if you just absolutely hate trying to mine hard-to-reach minerals.

  • [3] Higher Charged Plasma Energy
  • [2] Overcharged Plasma Accelerator — Makes detonating the charged shot a lot easier.
  • [1] Improved Charge Efficiency / [2] Crystal Capacitors – This one is personal preference.
  • [1] Expanded Plasma Splash – Most things will already die from the detonated charge shot, so it’s better to increase the AoE range.
  • [2] Thin Containment Field — This is what lets you actually detonate the charged shot manually.
  • Overclock: Energy Rerouting / Overcharger – In most cases, we’d rather have more battery and quicker charge up times. But if you feel like you need even more damage, you can run the Overcharger overclock.

3. Colette Wave Cooker

Colette Wave Cooker
Also great for warming up burritos. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

The latest in microwave technology has been added to the Driller’s arsenal in Season 2 for easy cooking on the go. This beautiful portable microwave is the best (in our opinion) secondary weapon for the Driller and can be customized to further enhance his primary weapon’s role or as a standalone oven of invisible death.

The most notable aspect of this weapon is its range. As in it has infinite range. If something is in your line of sight, you can microwave it from any distance. This makes it amazing for dealing with dangerous threats that you can’t reach easily or don’t want to risk getting to close to (like the Nemesis).

Making this even better is that the weapon’s beam is wide enough to do AoE damage. Everything in its reticle will be hit by the microwaves. Depending on which modification you take from its 4th row, you can further increase the beam’s width or sacrifice a bit to increase the rate of fire.

The weapon’s damage is also quite impressive for a secondary, easily shredding through health bars. It even ignores armor and avoids triggering enemies’ death effects, much like frozen enemies.

However, it can not take advantage of an enemy’s weak points (except for the unique ones it can make through its Blistering Necrosis overclock). This makes it less ideal for dealing with enemies that you usually eliminate through weak points, like the flying Mactera.

Colette Wave Cooker ACTION
Roast, microwave, and repeat until ready. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Do note that it functions on a battery system, so you’ll have to juggle the weapon’s heat bar. Even with modifications reducing heat generation, it’s prone to overheating so careful management is needed.

One final thing to note about the Wave Cooker is its potential to enhance elemental effects. Its 3rd and 5th row of modifications focus on this, allowing you play off whatever element you primary weapon focuses on and cause more devastating effects on afflicted enemies.

Want to make them explode? Perhaps slow them down and keep them locked in your corrosive puddles longer. Maybe cause temperature shocks and spread burning/freezing mists to nearby enemies? Pick the modifications that you want to strengthen your preferred playstyle.

Build A: Temperature Shock (Recommended)

This build revolves around fully burning/freezing the enemy first with your primary weapon, then swapping over to the Wave Cooker to trigger a massive temperature shock to chunk their health bars.

This is one of the best builds in the game right now, letting you easily delete most major threats in seconds (don’t be surprised if it eventually gets nerfed).

Given that it’s easier to ignite enemies than freezing them, we recommend using the Flamethrower with the Sticky Flames build. Enemies on fire already generate an aura of heat, and the explosion from the 5th row modification (Exothermic Reactor) produces another 50 heat.

This should be enough to light other nearby enemies on fire. The Sticky Flames will prevent them from being doused, allowing you to trigger the temperature shock reaction repeatedly by microwaving the next ablaze target.

If it’s a single enemy you’re focusing on, just light it on fire again and repeat the process. Though do be careful when dealing with enemies that are immune to heat/fire.

  • [3] Concave Lens – You’re actually not likely to run out of ammo if you’re mainly using this to trigger temperature shocks. Increasing the width makes it easier to trigger temperature shock on multiple ignited enemies.
  • [2] Larger Power Supply – You want to trigger temperature shocks as fast as possible.
  • [1] Densification Ray – You would think you want Temperature Amplifier instead, but it’s a largely redundant/negligible effect. It’s better to keep enemies slowed and stuck in your Sticky Flames.
  • [2] Power Supply Overdrive – Both options aren’t really necessary. This is better for large foes.
  • [3] Exothermic Reactor – The lynchpin of this build.
  • Overclock: Mega Power Supply – You’re mainly taking this for the faster rate of fire. Each tick of damage is another chance to trigger temperature shocks on an ignited target.

Build B: Geneva Violations

Both the usage of radiation and chemical warfare tend to be seen as war crimes. That’s why this build combines them together to make you the ultimate war criminal. Note that you need to use the Sludge Pump for this build to work.

This build is largely focused on eating away your enemies’ health with DoT damage and spreading poison to nearby enemies. While it’s a bit overkill for smaller enemies, it’s fantastic for chewing away at bosses and other bulkier threats’ health bars.

Thanks to the weapon’s 5th row modification (Contagion Transmitter), as long as the enemy has the corrosion DoT on them or is standing in a sludge puddle, damaging them with the Wave Cooker has a chance at applying a Neurotoxin to all nearby targets.

Even better, the Wave Cooker can then proc this effect off of the enemies affected by the Neurotoxin it just released. Alternatively, you can use the Neurotoxin Grenades to easily set up crowds for this chain effect as well.

  • [2] Magnetron Tube – To offset the reduced battery size from the overclock.
  • [2] Larger Power Supply – Increased rate of fire equals more chances to trigger the Neurotoxin.
  • [1] Densification Ray
  • [2] Power Supply Overdrive – Lets you apply the overclock’s radiation very quickly.
  • [1] Contagion Transmitter – The lynchpin of this build. All damage done to poisoned targets has a 10% chance of spreading a Neurotoxin cloud. Plus, it deals an extra 30% direct damage to afflicted targets.
  • Overclock: Gamma Contamination – All damage from the Wave Cooker has a 25% chance to apply Radiation to the enemy. If you activate the Power Supply Overdrive, you can apply Radiation almost instantly to an enemy.

Driller Equipment & Builds

Now that we’ve gone over the Driller’s weapons, lets take a look at the rest of his kit and how to make the most out of it.

Reinforced Power Drills

Screenshot of the Reinforced Power Drills tool in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

At last, we’ve reached the Driller’s namesake. These high-powered dual drills let you quickly dig through nearly everything in the game, as long as you’ve got the fuel for it. You can carve tunnels to get to objectives faster, reconnect split up teammates, make an ascending spiral ramp or staircase to get higher up, get your team out of bad situations with an emergency exit tunnel, etc.

The only thing these drills can’t dig through is minerals (like gold and Nitra), solely because of gameplay balance reasons. However, if you dig out all the terrain that those minerals are attached to, the cluster of minerals will be immediately mined.

As a note, the drills will overheat if used for too long. Just ease off them for a few seconds when you reach around 95% heat to give them a chance to cool down. If they reach 100% and overheat, you’ll be stuck in a very slow cooldown period.

While you can use the drills offensively, it’s really not worth it. The damage output is quite low and slow, consumes precious fuel that could be used for digging, and puts you in dangerous melee range. The only scenario where this might be decent is if you’re running the Cryo Cannon to freeze everything first and have the Vampire perk to regenerate health on melee kills (which the drills count as).

However, the drills are a decent fallback option for when you’re dealing with enemies that more or less die in a single hit such as Swarmers and Naedocyte babies. You can also use it to destroy armor plating on some enemies to grant your team easier access to squishy bits.

Build A: Dig Forever

On that note, our build for the Reinforced Power Drills is designed to let you dig as efficiently and quickly as possible. Avoiding overheating is rather easy, so those mods are largely ignored.

  • [3] Expanded Fuel Tanks / [2] Hardened Drill Tips – First option for better mileage per fuel. Second option for faster drilling if you only care about speed.
  • [1] Magnetic Refrigeration
  • [1] Supercharged Motor
  • [1] Increased Tank Pressure

Satchel Charge

Screenshot of the satchel charge item in Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

The Driller’s second piece of unique equipment is the highly explosive Satchel Charges. There are two main uses for these — blowing up massive holes in the terrain and murdering packs of enemies. As a bonus, the blast can mine mineral deposits as well!

Both options are incredibly useful, but we have to go with hollowing out the terrain in most cases. The satchels are a bit finicky when you try to stick them to walls, making positioning them for optimal murder a bit hard at times. Plus the blast radius is so large that you’ll often catch your own team in it.

Additionally, optimizing the charges for terrain clearing allows you to set up easy safe havens via bunker blasting. Simply drill a small tunnel horizontally, toss a charge in, and boom! Now you have a little Hobbit hole to hide in and only need to defend a single entrance.

You can apply this to defending/holding objectives as well. Dig under the objective (say the uplink module) a bit, toss a satchel charge down, and now you have a bunker with the entrance at the top of it. Have your team’s Engineer surround the entrance hole with bug repelling platforms and simply funnel kill the approaching enemies.

Bunker Hole
Entrance hole is to the left. Partially completed emergency escape tunnel to the right. | Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

However, make sure you have a partially completed exit tunnel. Sometimes too many enemies (namely exploders) will pour in, forcing you to retreat. If you dig out too much, the exit tunnel can start spawning enemies. Dig out too little, and you won’t have enough breathing room and time to get your team to safety.

This strategy is mostly only needed for harder missions, as it’s a bit overkill for Hazard Level 3 and below. Proper usage of it can be a life saver though. Just make sure to communicate to your team what you’re doing first. Also, this does not work in the Magma Core region, as explosions turn the terrain into burning magma.

As a side note, we do want to point out that the blast charges are very good at destroying armor on some of the tougher enemies. Like a Dreadnought who happens to be standing still to roar at your team. It’d be a real shame if someone tossed a high grade explosive right on top of them.

Build A: Terrain Destruction (Recommended)

This build focuses on using a Satchel Charge to clear out the terrain and increasing the blast radius.

  • [2] Extra Satchel Charge
  • [1] Kill Switch
  • [1] Extra Satchel Charge
  • [3] Rock Mover

Build B: Bombs Out

If you’d rather have even more firepower at your disposal, this build turns your Satchel Charges into miniature nukes.

  • [3] Bigger Charge
  • [1] Kill Switch
  • [2] Volatile Compound – Note that this makes it so your Satchel Charges have a health bar. If it takes enough damage, it’ll detonate prematurely.
  • [2] Concussive Blast – Anything still living will be stunned for 5 seconds. More than enough time to kill it.

Driller Grenades

The Driller’s grenades are all focused on one thing — murder!

1. Impact Axe

Impact Axe Grenade - Driller Grenades
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

This is the first “grenade” you start with. We say grenade, but it’s really a throwing axe. However, it’s one of the hardest hitting attacks in the game, capable of removing massive chunks of the enemy’s health if you hit their weak points with it. Even better, you get eight of them (the highest count of any dwarf’s grenades). Plus, there’s something satisfying about throwing axes into a Praetorian’s face.

As a bonus, the axes do deal some AoE damage upon impact. Additionally, if you completely miss hitting an enemy with an axe, you can pick it up and use it again!

In fact, you can cheese the system a little bit if you need to resupply your ammo but have excess axes. Simply throw the extra ones at the ground nearby, resupply, and you can pick those axes up again later when you need them.

Using these against high priority threats can make your team’s life a whole lot easier. We especially recommend pairing it with the Cryo Cannon to devastate frozen enemies with that damage multiplier.

2. HE Grenade

HE Grenade - Driller Grenades
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

The High-Explosive Grenade does exactly what it sounds like. You toss it and It detonates after a few seconds, chunking any nearby enemies and terrain.

It’s great for breaking armor, clearing out crowds, and inflicting a fear effect on nearby enemies. You can carry up to four of them at a time. While not bad, it’s probably the weakest grenade choice for the Driller.

3. Neurotoxin Grenade

Neurotoxin Grenade - Driller Grenades
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

An interesting variant from conventional gas grenades, the Neurotoxin Grenade is completely harmless to your allies and will only affect enemies. Even better, its effect radius is the largest one of all the grenades in the game.

Enemies who travel through it are poisoned, taking damage over time and becoming slowed. Additionally, the gas from the grenade can be ignited to deal massive explosive damage.

To get full usage out of this grenade, let the gas spread out as much as possible, then ignite it with any source of fire damage. Do note that the ignition flame has to be direct damage, so things like Sticky Flames won’t trigger it. Many players consider this to be the best grenade for the Driller.

4. Springloaded Ripper

Springloaded Ripper Grenade - Driller Grenades
Ghost Ship Games / Jeffrey Hsu

Part of the latest batch of grenades to be added to the game in Season 3, the Springloaded Ripper is a deadly but somewhat limited addition to the Driller’s arsenal.

After throwing one of these, it will prime itself after a brief delay and start rolling forward infinitely, until it reaches the end of its 8-second lifespan. Everything that comes into its path is torn apart, with lesser enemies dying instantly and larger ones even having their armor ripped off.

Unfortunately, since it’s completely terrain-dependent, it’s useless against aerial enemies. It also doesn’t have much width to its range, so unless your enemies are lined up nicely, it’s not likely to hit.

That being said, it’s extremely effective if you can funnel enemies into one of your dwarf-made tunnels before unleashing one to rip through the corridor. Outside of situations like that one, we find it to be a bit too niche to our liking, but you can definitely find success with it. Especially since out of all the grenades in the game, it does the most damage. Just be careful to not toss this near allies, as it deals a staggering amount of 70 friendly fire damage.

Join the High Ground

And that’s it for our guide to the Driller in Deep Rock Galactic — thanks for reading! We’ve updated it for Season 4, but if there are any other tips/tricks that you think we should include in our guide, please subscribe and leave a comment below.

Happy gaming!

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Actually Hardened Drills is worse for driling economy. The Best build for LONGEST distance drilled is 3 1 1 1.
And for drilling FASTEST best is 2 1 1 1.

Thank you very much for pointing that out! Very rock & stone of you. We’ve made a small update to our guide noting the differences.


I’m just getting into DRG and you helped me figure out a lot about the driller. Thanks for the guide!


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