Risk of Rain Characters Guide by Thanes of Danes
Welcome to my Risk of Rain character guide, I hope you enjoy what I’ve done with it. Within you will find advice on each of the ten unique classes in this wonderful platformer roguelike. My aim is to provide insight for both struggling newbies and seasoned veterans alike, so if I missed a spot on either end of the spectrum, feel free to let me know in the comments section or via a steam friends add (I’m very friendly!). Currently, this is an incomplete guide-you may notice several sections missing at the time of writing.
Another item of note is that this guide is a safe place! You won’t find homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, etc (the worst you’ll encounter is a terribad joke/pun). I know that the Steam community generally frowns upon prejudice, but I want to let you, the reader know that you won’t have to worry about reporting me or any triggering content.
With all that said, let’s begin!
Before we dive into the specifics of each class, let’s take a few moments to define some terms I’ll be using throughout the guide. IMPORTANT: I describe damage relative to skills of the same type. For example: 200% damage on a basic attack skill is very high, but 200% damage on a cooldown based skill is medium.
Crowd Control (CC): Stuns, knock backs, slows, etc-generally imparing effects.
Area of Effect (AoE): Abilities that can hit more than one target in a given area.
Tank/tanky: Tough damage soaker.
Squishy: Fragile, vulnerable.
Survival Skill: A skill that has the potential to mitigate or negate an enemy attack.
DPS: Damage Per Second, a catchall measure of offensive potential.
Scaling: How well an ability or character functions with gear (high scaling is good).
Railgun: An attack that fires in a straight line and penetrates all targets it hits (Quake fans will know this one).
Kiting: Peppering an enemy with ranged attacks while running away.
Nuke: High damage dealt instantly.
The Commando is the first character you will play, and as such, has been designed with flexibility and ease of use in mind. His attacks are rather average in the damage, crowd control, and speed departments and he has one survival skill. While he might seem boring and mediocre on paper, his blend of defense and offense with a dash of mobility gives him tactical flexibility that other characters lack.
Shoot twice for 2×60% damage. (Basic attack)
Traits: Low damage, average attack rate, hits twice, high scaling potential, long range.
At 120% damage total with a decent attack speed, Double Tap is the very definition of vanilla, average, and boring…that is, until you get some items. Because each attack has two separate shots, it has twice the chance of triggering effects on hit. With a Rusty Knife or AtG, this forgettable attack becomes a force to be reckoned with.
Full Metal Jacket:
Shoot though enemies for 230% damage, knocking them back. (3 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Medium damage, railgun, CC, long range.
This is the Commando’s only offsenive ability that doesn’t fire multiple times, but don’t let that fool you-this skill is vital for both offense and defense throughout the whole game. While it doesn’t have the on-hit triggering abilities of Suppressive Fire or Double Tap, FMJ can deal massive total damage to enemies in a line and provide you with a second or two of breathing room to run away or let the cooldowns of your other abilities tick down.
Roll foward a small distance. You cannot be hit while rolling. (4 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Survival skill, dash.
As with Double Tap, it is easy to underestimate the utility of Tacitcal Dive. However, when combined with the CC on FMJ and Suppressive fire, it makes the Commando supremely difficulty to pin down. Use it to dash through crowds of enemies, mitigate fall damage, or dodge a particularly powerful attack.
Fire rapidly, stunning and hitting nearby enemies for 480% damage total (6×80%). (5 Second Cooldown)
Traits: High damage, CC, very high scaling potential, long range.
Suppressive Fire, as a skill, represents the Commando perfectly: it combines damage, crowd control, and high scaling potential all into one convenient package. While it doesn’t have top marks in any category other than triggering items, Suppressive Fire provides breathing space in the form of stun/kockback, and damage that can be spread out (enemies on both sides) or concentrated (enemy in one direction). Use this whenever you’re not running away, as it is applicable in all combat situations.
The Enforcer is tanky to the extreme. With the ability to completely shield himself from damage, knock enemies back and stun them, this hulking mass of muscle, metal, and grit is the epitome of defensive play. Unfortunately, all of this comes at a price. The Enforcer is slow and must immobilize himself to operate at full capacity. Furthermore, he is extremely dependent on his basic attack to do most of his damage, which limits both his range and tactical options. Despite this, The Enforcer is a formidable soldier and those with a keen eye for positioning will appreciate his defensive ability.
Fire a short range shotgun blast for 160%, hitting all enemies. (Basic Attack)
Traits: Medium damage, slow attack rate, railgun, short range.
This is your bread and butter damage dealing ability. While it may not have the raw damage or range of other attacks, its ability to hit multiple targets is invaluable and lets The Enforcer dispose of large mobs of enemies efficiently. Don’t hold still while using this ability! Since it has such a slow attack speed, you may as well move or use other abilities between shots.
Smash nearby enemies for 210%, knocking them back. (5 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Medium damage, AoE, slow attack, short range.
A very straight forward ability, Shield Slam is perfect for situations where enemies are swarming you. If in Protect and Serve’s defensive stance, wait for enemies to pass the threshold of your shield, then knock them away. Two things about this skill that aren’t obvious are the fact that it knocks enemies in the direction you are facing and that it has a small AoE behind you as well. Combined, these two traits make Shield Slam very effective at keeping enemies in front of you.
Protect and Serve:
Take a defensive stance, blocking all damage you take from the front. Increases attack speed, but renders you immobile. (2, then 6 Second cooldown)
Traits: Survival skill, situational.
A shield in the way keeps the enemy at bay. Enemies in front of you will have to deal with a faster Riot Shotgun and a thick wall of steel. Enemies behind you will have you at their mercy. One of the best ways to hedge your bets with this skill is to set up with your back to a wall or a ledge so that you can only be attacked from one direction. Even if you’re only being attacked from one side, you still need to worry about enemies wandering past your shield. To prevent this, use Crowd Control to stun enemies in your shotgun range, then Shield Slam them away if they persist. If your position is compromised, don’t be afraid to lift up your shield and retreat to a better position-the cooldown might be long, but waiting for your shield to ready up is preferable to dying.
Launch a stun grenade, stunning enemies in a huge radius for 250% damage. Can bounce at shallow angles. (5 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Medium damage, AoE, CC, medium range.
While Protect and Serve might be The Enforcer’s best known ability, Crowd Control is the real workhorse. When set up in a defensive location, the stun and knockback can be used to keep enemies in your shotgun’s killzone. When fleeing a bad situation, it can buy you time to run or set up in a different position. It is generally best to save this skill for situations where the stun can best be used-its damage is nice, but without mobility, The Enforcer needs to control the flow of combat more than anything else. NOTE: unlike Shield Slam, the kockback on Crowd Control is normal. It pushes enemies away from the point of impact, so if there are enemies behind/on top of you, don’t use it. You will only end up pushing them further behind you and further compromising your position.
The Banit is great on paper, but falls short of expectations in game. A stellar basic attack and huge offensive and defensive potential is unfortunately stymied by the realities of play-most noteably that the cooldown reset on Lights Out is impractical to attain once the difficulty meter starts to rise. Still, he’s a fun character and if the developers fix his issues with Lights Out, he has great potential
Note: I am of the opinion that the Bandit is *underpowered.*
Fire a powerful slug for 150% damage. (Basic attack)
Traits: Medium damage, fast attack speed, high scaling, long range.
The Bandit has one of the best basic attacks in the game. When tapped, its speed allows you to attain very good DPS while also triggering on hit items fairly often. This, combined with great range, make it extremely powerful when you have time to hold still and shoot.
Toss and explosive in an arc for 230% damage. (3 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Medium damage, AoE, indirect fire, short-medium range.
A vanilla AoE attack with a low cooldown. It has very slight knockback, but not enough to qualify as a good source of CC. Consider jumping to extend its range. Use this against groups of enemies, but otherwise just stick to Blast when dealing with single targets.
Turn invisible. After 3 seconds or after using another ability, surprise and stun enemies for 140% damage. (13 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Survival skill, AoE, CC, short range.
Smokebomb is a very unfortunate skill. While it has great application as a survival skill (invisibility and a slight speed boost), its enormous cooldown makes it a skill that can only be rarely used. I generally ignore the stun/AoE portion of the skill and use it for escaping difficult situations.
Take aim for a headshot, dealing 600% damage. If the ability kills an enemy, the Bandit’s cooldows are all reset to 0. (7 Second Cooldown).
Traits: High damage, nuke, long range.
On paper, this ability looks fantastic. In game, it usually ends up being a nuke on a long cooldown. While this skill has huge potential, it is rarely realized once the game goes past five minutes because enemies stack up and it becomes difficult to aim at one target in particular. As such, the cooldown reset is basically non-existent. Developer suggestion: make Lights Out automatically target the enemy with the LEAST amount of health on screen. That way it might be possible to actually use its cooldown reset in dangerous situations to provide an extra Smokebomb.
Fast, fluid, flexible: that is the Huntress. She excels at keeping her distance from enemies while turning them into pin cushions. All of her attacks are useable while moving, and she even has an instant teleporation skill. The one major weakness that the Huntress has is that she auto-targets her prey based on distance and direction. As of writing, I believe she favors targets that are close/in the direction she is currently running. Still, her horizontal mobility is unmatched and lets her pick her fights with ease.
Fire an arrow for 140% damage. You can shoot all skills while moving. (Basic Attack)
Traits: Medium damage, average attack speed, long range.
As the Huntress, you will spend most of your time running away from hordes of enemies and holding down Z. Strafe has decent DPS and long range, so it’s never a bad idea to fire it-even if you can’t see any enemies on screen, firing it forward can potentially soften up a distant mob while you move.
Throw a glaive that bounces to up to 4 enemies for 300% damage. Increases by 30% per bounce. (3 Second Cooldown)
As a woman of many skills, the Huntress uses a handy Laser Chakram Glaive to assist in culling groups of enemies. Between its low cooldown, high damage, and long range, you should throw it whenever possible. Try to hit low priority targets first so that the bonus damage is applied to more threatening targets.
Teleport foward a small distance. (3 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Survival skill, instant dash.
Low cooldown instant transporation. The Huntress is about as no-nonsense as you can get when it comes to getting out of sticky situations. Note: this skill DOES NOT give the user invulnerability like Tactical Dive. As such, it is less effective for dodging through groups of enemies, but more effective for quickly moving past a lone target that has just spawned in your path. It is also very useful for getting some horizontal distance while mid air-use it to dash across gaps to safety!
Fire an explosive arrow for 320% damage. (7 Second Cooldown)
Traits: High damage, AoE, long range.
With a cooldown of 7 seconds, you’ll want to be a little more sparing with this skill. It’s very effective against bunched up groups, so try to use Blink to tactically dash through small groups to get them to huddle up. If there is an enemy significantly far ahead of a pack, try to hold off on using this skill until it’s dead or the group catches up. Also, while this skill does have multiple portions to the attack (intial explosion, then cluster bombs), I don’t think that the cluster bombs trigger on hit items because from what I can tell, they use the same yellow text as item damage that also does not trigger effects.
APPLY FORCE TO ALL COMBATANTS FOR 180% DAMAGE. (Basic Attack)
Traits: High damge, average-slow attack speed, railgun, CC, short range, great Johnny Cash cover.
While slow and short ranged, this attack is still potent against crowds. Knock enemies back until they get too close, retreat, wrinse, repeat. This is your basic damage dealing ability, and should be used in all combat situations. Quick tip: use while jumping to move and attack at the same time.
FIRE A DRONE FOR 190% DAMAGE WHILE ALSO HEALING YOURSELF. GAIN DRONES BY KILLING ENEMIES. (0 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Single target, spammable, low damage, survival skill, long range.
X is the button you press when you feel like you’re in grave danger. DRONE is a potent heal that can bring you back from the brink just long enough to thin your enemies’ ranks with your other skills and acquire more drones. This should generally be saved for emergencies, as the only way to get more drones is to kill enemies.
INCREASE ATTACK SPEED AND STUN CHANCE BY 30%. INCREASE DURATION BY ATTACKING ENEMIES. (7 Second Cooldown)
Traits: CC, small movement speed boost upon activation.
OVERCLOCK should be activated when you need to clear out a group of enemies quickly. As the description says, you should attack as many times as possible to keep the duration going for as long as possible. Of note is the fact that FORCED-REASSEMBLY also extends the duration of this skill by a great deal. I like to use it when the OVERCLOCK meter is about half empty, as this will mostly fill it back up.
APPLY GREAT FORCE TO ALL COMBATANTS FOR 400% DAMAGE, KNOCKING THEM INTO THE AIR. (5 Second Cooldown)
Traits: High damage, CC, AoE, slow attack.
It’s hammer time! This ability is useful for dealing with crowds or disrupting enemies for a quick escape. I like to jump before using this ability, as it lets me dodge attacks and reposition while the slow attack animation plays out. Use in most situations-especially in tandem with OVERCLOCK. Note: the AoE strikes slightly ahead of where you’re facing, so don’t expect to catch too many enemies standing behind you.
The tricky, trap-centric Engineer makes short work of enemies through shrewd deployment of his turrets and mines and judicious use of his indirect fire weapons. As someone who probably doesn’t have any experience in combat, he shines in situations where he is out of the direct line of fire. His offensive power is extreme, but it comes at the price of having zero defensive abilities or survival skills.
Launch three grenades for 3×80% damage. (Basic Attack)
Traits: Very high damage (240% total), indirect fire, short range, very high scaling potential, average-slow attack speed.
The Tri-nade is arguably the best basic attack in the game. While it doesn’t have the range of other attacks, it more than makes up for it with high damage and three separate shots that all have a chance to trigger on hit items. As if that weren’t enough, you can even fire them down ledges on to enemies below. This gives the engineer the ability to simply stand above targets and barrage them to death in perfect safety. Quick tip: jump to extend its range! Use whenever possible.
Drop a trap that explodes for 300% damage. Hold up to 15. (6 Seconds to Resupply)
Traits: AoE, high damage, very spammable when stockpiled.
This is the closest thing to a defensive skill the Engineer has. When in a pickle, run away and drop your entire supply of mines in the path of your pursuers to thin them out significantly. They can also be used as an indirect fire weapon when between two platforms with a gap. Simply jump the gap and drop a mine mid air. These are also useful for setting up kill zones-this is especially handy before activating the teleporter. In general, you should save these for emergencies, as they are most effective when deployed en mass. Don’t be afraid to drop one or two when you’re at 15, though, just to keep the cooldown running.
Launch four heat-seeking harpoons for 4×250 damage. (5 Second Cooldown)
Extreme damage, indirect fire, homing, high scaling, slow attack.
1000% total damage missiles that home in on targets. Just let that sink in. Done? Alright, let’s discuss usage (feel free to clean yourself up). Use these babies whenever they’re off cooldown. Since the damage is split up between four rockets, you’ll never have to worry about wasting all 1000% on a single, weak target, so while this skill isn’t an AoE, it’s still effective against hordes of enemies. Like Tri-nade, this skill can be used out of the line of fire, since the missiles home in on any nearby targets (you can even use this skill to ‘scout’ areas by firing and observing the missiles). Since actually firing the missiles takes a little while, I like to jump before I use it so that I can spend a bit of the firing time moving.
Drop a turret that shoots for 3×100% damage for 30 seconds. Hold up to 2. (40 Seconds to Resupply)
This is your emergency skill. They have extreme damage, distract enemies, high scaling, and medium-long range. When in a tough spot, drop your turrets and run (can be combined with mines for extreme kiting action!). These turrets are like extra players helping you out when you need them most, so put them in firing positions with a good line of sight and, if possible, against a wall/ledge so that they don’t have to (slowly) turn to face enemies. Unfortunately, this skill has the longest cooldown in the game (comparable to that of an item), so don’t drop turrets in situations where you don’t need them. A good rule of thumb is to only drop them when you feel an impending game over, man.
Two dashes, a super jump, and a whole lot of AoE damage. This might sound a bit like a sitcom, but in reality, it’s the Miner. Unparalled short range mobility and massive melee damage keep him in control of the fight, but players need to pay special attention to the timing and cooldown of his abilities, lest they charge into a fight without the proper tools to win it. The key to surviving is being patient, timing abilities properly, and always having a backup plan. The Miner is a very advanced character, and as such, a bit of frustration and confusion should be expected when playing him (even with the aid of this guide).
Note: I am of the opinion that the Miner is *underpowered.*
Crush nearby enemies for 140% damage. (Basic Attack)
Traits: Medium damage, melee, two target max, average attack speed.
This is the worst basic attack in the game. Almost no range and mediocre damage relegate Crush to use as time saver skill when the player needs to mop up weak enemies. Only use it when you’re 100% sure you’re safe, as its unimpressive lineup of stats make it nigh useless in dangerous scenarios.
Charge up for 2 seconds. On release, dash through enemies for up to 600% damage. You cannot be hit while dashing. (8 Second Cooldown)
The big daddy of all dashes, Drill Charge provides both a powerful offense in the form of very high damage and defense in both a dash and invulerability. Use it to cut through swathes of enemies with a full charge or make a hasty exit when your other abilities are on cooldown with a simple tap. Pay attention to the very long cooldown-this is your most valuable skill, so using it properly can spell the difference between victory or defeat in a given fight. Quick tip: REMEMBER THE ONE TWO POONCH! ZAP BLAST ‘EM, THEN WHACK DRILL ‘EM!
Blast backwards a small distance for 200% damage, stunning all enemies. You cannot be hit while dashing. (5 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Dash, medium damage, survival skill, short range, CC, railgun.
Use this ability to navigate tough situations where you’re surrounded and need to consolidate enemies on one side. This can also be used offensively-simply turn your back to the enemy and give them the hardest butt bump they’ve ever felt! Like the Miner’s other skills, Backblast has a relatively long cooldown, so use it wisely.
To The Stars:
Jump into the air, hitting all enemies below for 3×180% total. (5 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Jump, AoE, medium damage, survival skill.
As if two dashes weren’t enough, The Miner also as access to a super jump. Use this at the apex of a regular jump to get a nice double jump that will let you quickly reach higher up areas or avoid enemies. Carefully timing the cooldowns of Backblast, To The Stars, and Drill Charge can put you in a nigh-perpetual state of dashing and jumping that will make you difficult to hit.
Shoot an enemy for 250% damage. Reactivate the ability to reload your weapon, granting bonus damage if time correctly. (Basic Attack, triggers special reloading mini-game)
Carefully take aim, increasing the damage the longer the button is held down. On release, fire a bullet for up to 2000% damage. (4 Second Cooldown)
Backflip a large distance. You cannot be hit while rolling. (6 Second Cooldown)
Send your Spotter to analyze the most dangerous enemy, increasing critical strike chance against it by 100%. (10 Second Cooldown)
Maul an enemy for 120% damage. The target is poisoned for 24% damage per second. (Basic Attack)
Spit toxic bile for 220% damage, stunning enemies in a line for 1 second. (3 Second Cooldown)
Secrete poisonous sludge for 2 seconds. Speeds up allies while slowing and hurting enemies for 90% damage. Lasts for about 15 Seconds. (17 Second Cooldown)
Release a deadly disease, poisoning enemies for 100% damage per second. The contagion spreads to two targets after 1 second. (11 Seconds)
A quick and deadly melee character, the Mercenary plies his trade with a strong mix of survival skills and AoE. The low cooldown on Whirlwind, triple dash on Blinding Assault, and invulnerability time of Eviscerate let him dance around the battlefield with little pause while also dealing consistent damage. Although he can be a bit tricky (timing your skills is very important), his unique playstyle is well worth the effort put into unlocking and mastering him.
Slash in front of you, damaging up to 3 enemies for 130% damage. (Basic Attack)
Traits: Low damage, AoE, average attack speed, melee.
A basic melee attack that is well suited for use between skills. Its ability to hit three targets means that it can do a surprising amount of damage if applied to a crowd. Simple and utilitarian, use this whenever it is safe.
Quickly Slice twice, dealing 2×80% damage to all nearby enemies. (2 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Low damage, high scaling, AoE, slight jump.
Whirlwind has an exceptionally low cooldown, and as such, should be used whenever it is available. Use it to break falls and move in combat (just combine with a jump).
Dash fowards, stunning enemies for 120% damage. If you hit an enemy, you can dash again, up to 3 times. You cannot be hit while dashing. (6 Second Cooldown)
Traits: Low damage (medium damage total), high scaling (three dashes), survival skill, railgun, short range.
This will be your go to survival skill as the Mercenary. When faced with a group of dangerous enemies, use this to evade attacks and reposition for a good Whirlwind or Laser Sword, then wait for the next opportunity to dodge and repeat your attack. Failing that, engage with the first dash, hit as many targets as possible with the second, and then disengage with the third for a good amount of damage and/or a way to tick down your other cooldowns safely and efficiently. It’s hard to write down all of the applications of this skill because it so situational. You might plan on using all three dashes aggressively, but then a few more enemies might spawn and you will have to spend your remaining uses of this skill on running. As a rule, be aware and be ready to change up your strategy when using this skill-getting caught without it is extremely punishing.
Target the nearest enemy, attacking them for 6×110% damage. You cannot be hit for the duration. (6 Second Cooldown)
Traits: High damage, high scaling, survival skill, short range.
Eviscerate is one helluva ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ skill. When used properly, it can dodge attacks, deal immense amounts of damage, and let you tick down the cooldowns of your other skills in safety in a single useage. These properties make it best to keep in reserve for maximum utility. Open with Whirlwind, dodge an enemy’s retaliation with Eviscerate, then escape/attack with Blinding Assault-this is a decent combo for most situations. Note: if an enemy is killed with less than all six strikes, you will automatically use your remaining strikes on another nearby foe, so don’t worry about hitting a weakling and wasting damage.Other Risk of Rain Articles
Risk of Rain Characters Guide
Risk of Rain Unlock All Characters Savegame Edit