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Dead Island 2 Skill Cards determine your character build, and how to become the best Slayer you can be. Here's how to find them.

Dead Island 2: How to Get Skill Cards

Dead Island 2 Skill Cards determine your character build, and how to become the best Slayer you can be. Here's how to find them.

Unlike the original, Dead Island 2 doesn’t feature a traditional skill tree. Instead, you can find and equip a variety of Skill Cards over the course of the game, which give you a variety of specific bonuses when they’re equipped. Here’s how to find Skill Cards in DI2.

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How to Unlock and Collect Skill Cards in Dead Island 2

You get your first Skill Card at Level 2 during “Desperately Seeking Emma” in Bel-Air, which also enables either Block or Dodge, depending on your character. The Skill Cards feature is fully unlocked when you hit Level 3 at the start of “Bel-Air Brawl.”

Every time you level up, you’ll receive a new Skill Card slot, a new Skill Card, or occasionally both, to a maximum of 15 Card slots at Level 30. Another couple of Skill Cards or slots are given out automatically when certain game features are unlocked, or as rewards for story quests.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

The order in which Skill Cards are received while leveling is dependent upon which Slayer you’re playing, and a handful of Skill Cards are exclusive to Ryan/Carla, Amy/Bruno, or Jacob/Dani.

The majority of the Skill Cards you’ll get in DI2 are found simply by leveling up, and every so often, you’ll also get an extra slot in which to equip your Cards. You only receive all the available Card slots at Level 30, by which point you’re probably at or near the story’s finale.

This also means that you’ll fulfill all the requirements for the Heart of the Cards Exploration Challenge simply by hitting Level 30. Rank 4 only requires 35 Cards and, between quest rewards and leveling unlocks, a Level 30 Slayer could have 58 without trying.

Skill Card Categories

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Skill Cards fall broadly into 5 categories:

  • Innate Cards are unique to a specific Survivor and cannot be lost, traded, or unequipped. Their effects can sometimes be replicated, but the original cards are one to a character.

  • Ability Skill Cards specifically enable an active skill. This lets you switch between Dodge and Block; Jump Kick and Drop Kick; War Cry, Ground Pound, and Dash Strike; and several special attacks that you can only use while you’re in Fury mode.

  • Survivor and Slayer Cards are, broadly speaking, about passive buffs. Survivor Cards are more based around defense and recovery, while Slayer Cards modify your damage output and offense, but there’s some crossover between the two.

  • Numen cards aren’t available until relatively late in the game, after a particular story quest on Ocean Avenue. Talking about them in greater detail is a bit of a spoiler, but in general, Numen cards are some of the most powerful that you can equip. Handle with care.

A relative handful of Skill Cards can be received as rewards from specific side quests, as drops from particular types of Apex Infected, or are hidden in various obscure locations throughout Hell-A. You can reference our list of DI2 Skill Cards here to learn more about them and our Hidden Skill Cards Locations guide to see where to find them. 

That’s how to get Skill Cards in Dead Island 2. For more tips and tricks for beating back the zombie horde in Hell-A, stop by our official Dead Island 2 guides hub.

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Thomas Wilde
Survival horror enthusiast. Veteran of the print era. Comic book nerd.