Darkest Dungeon 2: Every Character Ranked Worst to Best
Not even hope can save you in Darkest Dungeon 2, but the game's best characters will make things slightly easier.
Darkest Dungeon 2 makes a surprising number of changes to its cult-classic predecessor. While fans are still trying to get used to the game’s roguelike design, there are some things about the Darkest Dungeon experience that never change. Most notably, Darkest Dungeon 2 is about as difficult as its predecessor was, which means that you’ll need to build the right party of the best characters if you’re going to survive.
As it was before, each of Darkest Dungeon 2‘s characters offers unique skills that allow them to serve a variety of roles. Which character you bring into battle will often depend on the situations you anticipate facing. Furthermore, you have to consider not just an individual character’s power level but how they synergize with the rest of your party. As such, it’s usually worth investing resources into upgrading a variety of characters and trying new characters (and character combinations) as they become available.
However, a rough tier list of Darkest Dungeon 2‘s best characters is already starting to form even in the earliest days of the game. That being the case, here’s a power ranking of every character in Darkest Dungeon 2.
Wait, Where’s the Bounty Hunter?
As the Bounty Hunter is only occasionally available in Darkest Dungeon 2, I decided to not rank him with the full-time members of the game’s roster. However, he is a very powerful character who can get you out of a jam if you decide to temporarily request his services.
You can make an argument for a lot of Darkest Dungeon 2 heroes at the moment, but Occultist is the one character who just hasn’t found his niche quite yet.
Simply put, the Occultist has an investment problem. So many of his abilities require some kind of multi-round prep package or combo set-up. That wouldn’t be a problem if his skills were incredibly powerful, but many of them are not. In theory, the Occultist offers a valuable package of support abilities and backline attacks, but his upper-echelon skills in those areas just aren’t as consistently beneficial as what other heroes have to offer. It’s hard to rely on a Darkest Dungeon character that needs things to go right, and it’s really hard to rely on them when their payoffs aren’t quite good enough for you to build around.
Occultist’s debuff abilities suggest there will eventually be a home for him. At the moment, though, he’s a major gamble in a valuable spot.
10. Grave Robber
Grave Robber is actually a very valuable character in the early parts of Darkest Dungeon 2. She can also be a pretty valuable character in the middle parts of the game. Unfortunately, you’ll soon realize that the versatility that makes Grave Robber valuable early on is also her biggest weakness.
Grave Robber’s ability to do a little bit of everything becomes less valuable when you start looking for a lot of a particular thing. She’s not really a pure damage character, and her support/debuff abilities tend to lag behind other options. You can pull off some interesting things with her Poison Dart and Flashing Dagger attacks, but it’s just so hard to find a spot where she feels like your absolute best option rather than a nice utility alternative.
The Grave Robber has more to offer than other characters, but her lack of an obvious and undeniable role hurts her overall potential.
Much like Grave Robber, Runaway is a bit of a “do it all” character who can play several roles in a variety of parties. While I think that slightly hurts her overall power level, Runaway does do a few things that make her a viable choice in some parties.
Most notably, Runaway is able to consistently inflict the “Burn” status effect on multiple enemies. That’s a valuable bit of DoT damage that works remarkably well on any enemy that doesn’t have unusually high resistance to the status effect. While that burn damage is ticking away, you can use Runaway’s valuable heal ability (which only requires your target to be bleeding) or even take advantage of her smoke screen skills.
Runaway’s value is closely tied to your need for consistent DoT effects. If you’ve got a sturdy party who can make the most of that damage, she’s quite good. If you need a little more than that (or just something a little different), then you’ll need to look elsewhere.
On the surface, Vestal is a straightforward support character. The majority of her skills either heal your party, buff your party, or debuff your enemies. While that’s obviously all valuable, the problem is that Darkest Dungeon 2 is a game that wants you to die more than the Vestal wants to keep you alive.
Simply put, I don’t know if the Darkest Dungeon 2 team will find a way to buff a character like the Vestal simply because such a character could break the game. At her best, that’s what the current version of Vestal does. She’s uniquely capable of keeping your party alive in situations where they would otherwise die. Unfortunately, her long cooldown times and the time/resources you need to invest in leveling her up negate so much of her potential.
A properly built Vestal can withstand a lot of damage and keep your party alive in tough battles where they are constantly eating damage. That’s obviously all good, but her lack of viable offensive abilities (and her extended periods of downtime) means that she also lacks the consistency you’re often looking for.
The Leper is one of the most unique and fascinating characters in Darkest Dungeon 2. At his best, he’s a DPS/Tank hybrid that has a lot to offer in both of those departments. Sounds pretty good, right? It can be, but the Leper’s damage potential is severely hindered by his tendency to go blind.
The Leper is consistently plagued by the Blind status, which greatly reduces the accuracy of his next attack. Since some of his abilities can cause additional blindness…well, you can see the picture even if he cannot. When Leper is hitting those attacks, he’s a broken character. When he’s not, you’re mostly using him as a self-healing tank who boasts some impressive resistance and defensive abilities.
While I tend to find that the Leper is generally outclassed by other options, I can’t deny his potential. He’s a viable frontline option with massive potential and a downside that is a little too much of a dice roll for my tastes.
As the newest character on this list, it’s difficult to properly rank the Flagellant compared to some of the other characters we’ve gotten to spend significantly more time with. However, what I’ve seen and played of Flagellant so far is all incredibly promising.
Flagellant is a Blight-based character. He can poison enemies via his own abilities, but he really shines in parties filled with other heroes who can also poison enemies. That’s because Flagallent not only has the ability to deal Blight damage to enemies right away rather than over time, but he’s also capable of dealing that immediate damage without removing the enemy’s Blight effect in the process. Flagellant also boasts some powerful support abilities, though, as his name suggests, many of them require either the target to already have a negative status effect or for Flagellant to take additional damage intended for the target.
Right now, I’d say that the biggest problem with Flagellant is that he kind of needs to run with a Plague Doctor and a Grave Robber in order to reach his full potential. The Plague Doctor requirement is no problem, but Grave Robber just isn’t a great option at the moment. Flagellant’s high-end power is undeniable, though you may find more consistency in other options that are less dependent on certain circumstances.
The Hellion is a whirlwind of steel, blood, and pain. Most of this melee character’s attacks deal an impressive amount of damage, force the victim to bleed, and sometimes either buff or heal the Hellion (or another party member) for good measure.
However, the Hellion is cursed by the Winded effect, which reduces her overall speed and damage for a brief period of time. While you can negate that effect with certain abilities, you’ll likely find yourself simply waiting for that status effect to run out or trying to make the most of it. I’ve found that the Hellion’s devastating melee abilities make navigating that debuff worth the effort, but the Winded effect does mean that the Hellion either needs to be properly supported with other heroes/items or simply micromanaged more than other DPS characters.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that the Hellion has access to a very powerful party-wide heal effect as well as an incredibly handy attack that can reach back rank enemies with relative ease. Again, she’s just a great character who is generally worth the minor headaches.
The Jester climbed a little higher up these rankings each time that I found myself saying, “Yes, a character can do that, but the Jester does it better.”
Simply put, the Jester is uniquely capable of generating a consistent number of combo tokens on a variety of enemies. Some heroes rely on those tokens more than others, but every hero in Darkest Dungeon 2 benefits from them in some way. Even when you’re not spamming combo tokens, the Jester is able to inflict a helpful variety of debuff and damage effects on various enemies. Even better, he has access to one of the best stress relief effects in the game.
The biggest problem with the Jester is that most of his many of his abilities force him to constantly change places in battle. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s something you’re going to have to learn to work with.
If Man-at-Arms isn’t the best frontline tank character in Darkest Dungeon 2, he’s certainly the most reliable. Many times, that’s exactly what you’ll want from your frontline tank character.
Man-at-Arms’ biggest draw is his ability to essentially plant himself in the first rank position and withstand even the most powerful incoming blows. He’s basically a massive shield that has assumed the form of a human man. His defensive abilities are nearly unrivaled in both quality and quantity, and many of them are designed to support both himself and another party member.
While Man-at-Arms doesn’t boast the offensive capabilities of other tanks in the game, there is no tank that comes close to topping his ability to keep himself and his party alive throughout any fight. Strangely, that also arguably makes him one of the best support characters in the game as well.
The Highwayman isn’t the only pure damage dealer in Darkest Dungeon 2, but he’s one of the few characters that largely exists to fill that role. Thankfully, he fills that role exceptionally well.
Unlike other characters who suffer from trying to do too much, the Highwayman’s versatility is his greatest asset. Yes, he’s pretty much a pure damage dealer, but he has so many ways to deal that damage. He can attack pretty much any member of the enemy party from nearly any position in your party. He can also quickly apply some valuable debuff effects when needed, and he can be built in equally viable ways that support a variety of party comps and playstyles.
That’s the Highwayman’s biggest advantage. In some circumstances, the Flagellant and Runaway can offer more overall damage through their synergistic strategies. However, there is no damage dealer in the game that does more damage as consistently as the Highwayman does.
1. Plague Doctor
Available from the start of the game, you could easily argue that the Plague Doctor’s biggest advantage is the time you’ll have to familiarize yourself with them and build them up. However, Plague Doctor’s power level goes well beyond simple familiarity.
Simply put, Plague Doctor is the best overall healer in Darkest Dungeon 2. Vestal is theoretically more powerful in that role, but Plague Doctor is able to quickly offer powerful healing, buffs, and debuffs when you absolutely need them most. More importantly, Plague Doctor is actually a surprisingly capable damage dealer who greatly enhances characters like the Flagellant and is generally able to contribute something meaningful on non-healing turns.
You can build a viable Darkest Dungeon 2 party that doesn’t have a Plague Doctor in it. However, it’s a testament to the character’s power that doing so often feels like more of a challenge than simply adding them in.