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Risk of Rain Returns: 10 Best Defensive Items

Let's run through some of the best defensive items in Risk of Rain Returns.

It’s no secret that Risk of Rain Returns is one of the harder rougelites out there. It’s constantly doing its best to kill you, especially on Monsoon. So, you’ll need help to survive. Here, I list what I think are the 10 best defensive items in Risk of Rain Returns.

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10 Best Defensive Items in Risk of Rain Returns

Between barriers, armor, sustain, and dodge chance, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself in Risk of Rain Returns. These items are especially important if your survivor doesn’t have any defensive capabilities like the Loader’s invulnerability or the Mercenary’s parry. I’d recommend picking them up when you can, but in general, especially those for sustainability.

10. Monster Tooth (Common)

One of the early sustain items you can get is the Monster Tooth, which heals you for 10 health on each kill. Combining it with the other combat heal items like the Leeching Seed and the Super Massive Leech can make you unkillable early. Note that it loses its effectiveness in 1v1 boss battles, but if you’re looping and not facing Providence, you won’t have to worry about that.

9. Topaz Brooch (Common)

The Monster Tooth’s twin, this Brooch allows you to gain 15 barrier on each kill. It has many of the same benefits as the previous entry, but it allows you to prepare for a hit rather than make up for it by killing enemies. The downside is that the barrier is temporary, but it stacks with other barrier sources, which is nice.

8. Tough Times (Uncommon)

The teddy bear protects! While this isn’t the flashiest defensive item on my list, flat damage reduction is certainly helpful. In fact, each stack is worth 14% damage reduction. That said, its value mostly comes from getting hit — and you don’t usually want to get hit. Still, a single item can greatly lessen damage when you make a mistake, especially on higher difficulties, and stacking two or three of these really increases their usefulness.

7. Hermit’s Scarf (Common)

The best defense is not getting hit at all. If you make a mobility mistake and end up in a tough spot, the Hermit’s Scarft dodge chance can save you. It’s an item that stacks beautifully, too, as each instance grants you a 10% dodge chance. Just two of them can negate every fifth hit.

6. Timekeeper’s Secret (Uncommon)

This one’s sort of an oddball — but it can still save your life. The Timekeeper’s Secret stops time for three seconds when you fall below 25% health. It’s excellent for getting out of a sticky situation where you end up overwhelmed or dropped from an unknown attack. This item has saved my life countless times on Monsoon, where a stray overloaded elite could’ve killed me easily. It works best in these crowded situations where spotting dangerous enemies can be hard.

5. Infusion (Uncommon)

Ahh yes, good old Infusion. Each kill permanently increases your health by 1, thereby making this one of the best early-game items in Risk of Rain Returns. If you see it in the glass containers in Level 1 or Level 2, I’d say it’s worth it to farm a bit and pick it up.

Its defensive value is strictly tied to when you pick it up. If you’re aiming for Providence, then its worth isn’t the greatest if you pick it up on Level 5 or Contact Light. However, if you’re looping, you have plenty of time to stack Infusion up.

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4. Guardian’s Heart (Uncommon)

Guardian’s Heart is an overall decent defensive item that grants you a flat extra 60 health shield that regenerates outside of danger. You can think of it like 60 kills on Infusion, making this item better in later stages of the game. If you do manage to find Infusion early, then the Guardian’s Heart is slightly below Infusion.

Related: How to Unlock All Characters in RoR Returns.

3. Prophet’s Cape (Uncommon)

The Prophet’s Cape is one of the rare defensive items that grants an extremely important boon: invulnerability. It’s unlocked by dodging seven lethal attacks with the Commando and essentially emulates the same Commando skill. It’s a lifesaver against heavy-hitting mobs in a crowd, and it even heals you and pairs well with other ways of blocking attacks.

2. Aegis (Rare)

Lots of health pickups are great if you’re low on health. But what about when you’re full up? They don’t do anything for you normally, something that grinds my gears in places like the Medbay on Contact Light. But(!), you can do something about it. Aegis turns extra health into a barrier equal to 50% of the amount healed.

It’s unlocked by killing 15 enemies with one of Artificer’s various AoE damage abilities. This is definitely one of the best defensive items in Risk of Rain Returns, especially if you have items like the Leeching Seed or the Super Massive Leech.

1. Dio’s Best Friend (Rare)

While Returns can be cruel with its various elites and overloading bosses, it notices when you’re dying a lot and gives you a boon. Once you die 50 times, you’ll unlock arguably the best defensive item in the game. Dio’s Best Friend is an albino teddy bear that resurrects you when you die, giving you a second chance. It doesn’t gain extra abilities from multiple stacks and is consumed upon death, but it can get you through a sticky situation better than any other item on this list.

As with the best RoRR offensive items and utility items, there are a few other decent defensive items that I just couldn’t fit into this top 10 list. They are:

  • Leeching Seed
  • Repulsion Armor
  • Colossal Knurl
  • Scorching Shell Piece

They either require you to get hit or are boss-specific items and are, therefore, unreliable to get most of the time.

Those are the 10 best defensive items in Risk of Rain Returns. If you’re interested in more lists on the game, check out our best defensive items in Returns, best survivor tier list and much more by clicking the link or heading over to our RoR Returns guides hub.

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Gordan Perisic
From playing RPGs and dungeon mastering for his D&D group to reading novels and scribbling about his fantasy setting, Gordan is a full-time nerd and devoted writer for GameSkinny. He loves to overshare and discuss literature, music, animation, and trees with fellow geeks. Also, he may or may not cook too much food for his friends. Cholesterol is one hell of a drug.