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Risk of Rains Returns Best Characters Tier List

While the strongest character ultimately depends on your preferences, here's a general best characters tier list to get you started in Risk of Rain Returns.

With 16 characters in total, RoR Returns offers a diverse cast of characters with varying levels of potential. Here’s my best characters tier list in Risk of Rain Returns.

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Best Characters Tier List in Risk of Rain Returns

We can roughly separate all survivors in Returns according to their general role. These roles depend on their damage potential, defensive and crowd-control abilities as well as supportive ones. All 16 survivors loosely fit the following roles:

  • Ranged DPS: Commando, Huntress, Bandit, CHEF, Sniper, Pilot, and Artificer.
  • Melee DPS: Mercenary, Acrid, Miner, and Loader.
  • Frontline: Enforcer and HAN-D (Loader and Drifter fill this role too).
  • Support: Drifter, Engineer, and Robomando.

With these roles in mind, each survivor’s potential is shown in their areas of expertise for us to judge. Of course, effectiveness also comes from proficiency and your preference as each character has their own unique playstyle. That said, some survivors generally have a higher ceiling and are slightly more effective than others in certain aspects. Especially those who require time to get used to.

All Risk of Rain Returns Survivors Ranked

The rankings below are purely subjective but also come from hundreds of hours of gameplay from the original and dozens in Returns. Let’s move from the highest-rated to the lowest-rated characters.

Tier I

  • Sniper: The skill ceiling on Sniper is massive. Learning to always hit those perfect reloads and line up devastating Steady Aims or effective Quickscopes is what separates them from the rest.
  • Loader: With a 3-second invulnerability shield and a constant DPS AoE that takes a bit to get used to, Loader is arguably the strongest melee survivor in the game. Plus he dominates Providence by himself quite efficiently even on Monsoon.
  • Bandit: When it comes to Bandit’s effectiveness it’s all about learning to reliably trigger either Standoff or Quick Draw. I recommend practicing last-hitting with these two as per your preference as they’ll make you a force of nature and a carry in co-op.
  • Huntress: High DPS aside, what truly makes a great Huntress is an eye for kiting. I’ve found the Blink Arrow and the Marble Gate item make her nigh untouchable on Monsoon.
  • Miner: While lackluster at first, learning how to manage Heat and the Scorched status can turn you into a nigh unhittable fiery berserker. I’ve had great success with throwing axes though Miner still faces problems with volatile elites like any melee character.

Tier II

  • Commando: The ol’ reliable jack-of-all-trades. I love the Commando for their accessibility and highly customizable playstyle.
  • Acrid: Depending on your items, Acrid ranges from top to middle-tier. Probably one of the best horde-clearing survivors in the game.
  • CHEF: They remain one of the more effective ranged DPS survivors from the original able to neutralize hordes effectively.
  • Drifter: The Drifter has some of the strongest supportive abilities in the game able to spawn items for allies and customize terrain. However, a stray volatile elite can really put a hamper on their melee effectiveness.
  • Mercenary: An incredibly fun character to play that suffers in raw damage potential due to situational abilities. That said, unlocking Focused Strike and utilizing it well potentially propels him to high Tier II.

Related: How to Unlock Achievement Abilities in RoRR

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Tier III

  • Artificer: A wild card of the roster capable of dealing incredible AoE damage but suffering from long cooldowns on defensive and movement abilities. Has Tier II potential but I’ve not had a chance to play her as much.
  • HAN-D: While HAN-D has plenty of damage, especially with a few Crowbars and Crit Glasses, they face a similar problem to the Drifter. That said, HAN-D dominates on Rainstorm.
  • Pilot: I’ve found Pilot to be another highly entertaining character to play due to his ludicrous mobility. That said, his DPS is more situational than the other survivors and can therefore sometimes pale in comparison.
  • Engineer: The only reason Engi’s in Tier III is that I’ve found keeping turrets alive on Monsoon incredibly difficult, especially with all the movement in co-op. I hope others have had better success in which case I stand corrected.
  • Enforcer: The Enforcer was one of my favorite characters in the original just due to the fantasy of a great-shield warrior keeping enemies at bay and protecting his allies. This fantasy falls short when you’re getting bombarded from all sides on Monsoon with no mobility. Shield charge didn’t do much to fix the problem.
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  • Robomando: The secret character of the game and a dormant Exodia who’s secretly Tier I. No, Robomando is at best a fun gimmick for your runs and a decent supportive character to bring in co-op and grace your friends with free items.

At the end of the day, the best character tier list in Risk of Rain Returns isn’t hugely applicable. This is because each survivor has their own strengths, weaknesses, and playstyles. The most important aspect of effectives is your preference for the character and the time invested in practicing their abilities. Any survivor can be Tier I.

This RoRR best character tier list was just a subjective listing of potential for each character based on how effective they are in general and situational scenarios. Ultimately, I recommend playing what’s fun for you personally. For more of our articles on the game like beginner and boss tips through our Risk of Rain Returns guides hub. We also have more lists like our best offensive and defensive items in Returns and best equipment.

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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.