Learn about the best skills to upgrade in The Last of Us Part 1.

The Last of Us Part 1: Best and Worst Skills to Upgrade

Learn about the best skills to upgrade in The Last of Us Part 1.

Having the best skills for Joel in The Last of Us Part 1 will help you keep Ellie safe and beat the Clickers, raiders, and FEDRA troops that stand in your way. As you make your way west to meet the Fireflies, the perks you select throughout the campaign matter. These are the best to upgrade. 

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When discussing The Last of Us Part 1 best skills, we have to consider the item you need for upgrades: Supplies. This resource is denoted by a Pill icon, representing medicine, tablets, and other objects used to boost Joel’s capabilities further. 

The Best Skills to Upgrade in The Last of Us Part 1

Likewise, each perk type has two to three upgrade tiers that you can level up.

Maximum Health

  • Increases your maximum HP; has two upgrade tiers.
    • These two nodes are the best Last of Us Part 1 skill upgrades to have since they’re directly tied to your survival. The more HP you have, the more damage you can take, allowing you to heal up or hide instead of dying outright.

Listen Mode Distance

  • Increases the distance from which you can the outline of enemies; has three upgrade tiers.
    • Another important perk to consider, especially since many sections of the game ought to be completed as stealthily as possible. If you can see through obstacles, you’ll be able to prepare for the encounter ahead.

Shiv Master

  • Use a shiv to break free of Clicker grapples; has two upgrade tiers.
    • Clickers are extremely deadly when they get too close to you, though you could take them out via backstabs/stealth kills or with a shotgun blast to the face. On higher difficulties, this upgrade is worth considering as ammo will be harder to come by. Likewise, when combined with Shiv-related Training Manuals, you’ll get more use out of your makeshift blades before they break.

Weapon Sway

  • Reduces weapon sway to improve accuracy and shot grouping; has two upgrade tiers.
    • This is a good skill upgrade to have in The Last of Us Part 1. While aiming won’t usually become a problem, there are instances when you might need to shoot a hostile from further away. As such, anything that helps compensate for errors would be viable but not a priority compared to the ones mentioned above.

Worst Skills to Upgrade in The Last of Us Part 1

Crafting Speed

  • Speeds up the crafting of throwable items, shivs, medkits, and melee attachments; has three upgrade tiers.
    • Unfortunately, this perk is useless in most situations. That’s because crafting tends to be done before encounters, when you won’t need to worry about having a lot of enemies breathing down your neck. As such, speeding up the animation is a bit situational.

Healing Speed

  • Speeds up the healing animation when using medkits; has three upgrade tiers.
    • Similar to the Crafting Speed perk, this isn’t much of a priority either. Oftentimes, you’ll heal between encounters or if you’re in combat, you’ll be in a corner where enemies can’t get to you immediately. As such, simply speeding up the animation would be moot.

These are The Last of Us Part 1 best skills to upgrade — and the worst ones not worth wasting your time on, especially during an initial run. Don’t forget that you also have to take note of weapon upgrades throughout the campaign.


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Jason Rodriguez
Jason Rodriguez is a game reviewer and guides writer from the Philippines. With around 5,000 published articles, he's freelanced for numerous outlets, including GameSkinny, GameSpot, Polygon, IGN, PCGamesN, PC Invasion, and more.