Skul: The Hero Slayer Tips and Tricks Guide

Reaching the later levels of Skul can be a trial, but with the tips and tricks in this guide, you should have an easier time taking down the "heroes" of the world.

Skul: The Hero Slayer might have a lot of charm, but its friendly veneer hides a game that will kill you without a second thought. And then laugh about it. Thankfully, runs are exciting enough, and the game is fun enough that failure only hurts so much. Even so, we’ve got a tips and tricks guide to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

Some tips are psychological, some mechanical, but all of them will help you get all the way through to the final boss, though actually beating them is another matter.

One point of order first: Skul doesn’t save your progress if you leave mid-run. If you’ve made it beyond the third world, it’s better to pause the game and come back later. If you quit in any way, be prepared to start from the beginning with nothing.

Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

It sounds obvious for a rogue-lite, but failure is essential to success in Skul. More importantly, because of the randomness inherent in the genre, sometimes the game doesn’t play nice and a run’s dead almost before it even begins.

There is an option to restart if you’re getting shafted on drops, but don’t give in to that temptation. Unless you’ve mastered every level in the game, there’s always something to learn. It needn’t be an impromptu “challenge run,” either. A run that’s destined to fail can turn on a dime, and you might surprise yourself by getting past the boss or room that’s been giving you trouble.

As a corollary to accepting failure, don’t be afraid to experiment on a dead or dying run. If you change your tactics because you don’t have anything to lose, you might improvise a brand new, better strategy you can use going forward.

Tip 2: Try Different Skulls

You’re liable to find a few skulls that mesh with you, but try not to rest on your laurels. The one skull you pass up, if fully upgraded, could rewrite your entire gameplan. As with not fearing failure, even if the Legendary version of a skull doesn’t knock your socks off, now you know which to scrap immediately and which to hold onto.

You won’t even run into some of the random drop skulls — Grim Reaper, Rocker, Predator, and others — if you don’t look into new options. These rare skulls offer some of the most powerful abilities in the game, and you can get your hands on them as early as the first world. The non-Legendary ones are even upgradable to a higher form. 

Tip 3: Focus on One Door Type at a Time

Even if you don’t see a skull or item door in every room, you should still focus on only one door type at a time. That way, you can craft the perfect build as early as possible and hone it to a razor’s edge. Ideally, skull doors are your best bet, as the more you open, the higher the likelihood you’ll get something you like.

Focusing on money doors is another good strategy, especially if you get a good skull from the get-go. Doing so ensures you’ll always have access to large heals at shops and, if you’re exceedingly wealthy, plenty of items you don’t need to fight for.

Going all-in on item doors has its own benefits, of course. Even the base skull can be incredibly powerful with the right setup and enough understanding of enemies and areas. With a certain trait, you can even dismantle items you don’t want for a small pile of gold. That gold can then go back into the shop for items, healing, and other upgrades.

Tip 4: Stick to a Single Damage Type When Possible

Make it magic damage, if you can. The most powerful skulls in the game primarily do magic damage, and traits allow you to upgrade your magic to be 60% more effective rather than physical’s 40%. Be aware that most common and rare skulls mix and match damage types, so you’ll be split along that line.

However, based on the first few upgrades you come across in a run, you should quickly prioritize whether to focus on magic or physical attacks. The worst thing you can do is build up one damage type, then equip a Legendary skull that uses the other, making all the work you did to that point essentially worthless.

Tip 5: Embrace the Hard Carry

It doesn’t matter if you’re new or a veteran. You’re bound to come across a skull or upgrade that’s so powerful it does most of the work for you. Maybe it takes a while to recharge, or maybe it asks for a completely different playstyle, but it can and does clear entire screens with minimal effort.

Embrace the power. Half the difficulty of Skul lies in its bosses, as one unfamiliar attack can chunk your health, again and again, setting back your progress or ending a run altogether.

Your goal, then, is to make it to the boss as quickly as you can, and if that means leaning on a single ability or item, then who cares? Play safe, play slow, and let the game play itself. You’ll eventually come across something that will test you, and you’ll need all the help you can get to overcome it.

Hopefully, these few Skul: The Hero Slayer tips and tricks will help you get far into this fantastic rogue-lite. We’ve got more guides on the way about more mechanical strategies, so stay tuned for those.


John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.

Published Feb. 5th 2021

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