Breakdown of the best characters, weapons, and accessories from my experience winning in regular and hyper modes of the first 2 available levels. This guide will be updated with new patches and content.
This is what a winning game looks like:
As you can see, I managed to morph 5 weapons and the game details how much total damage each one did and how much DPS each was doing at the end of the game. I use this information along with my experience winning in all 4 combinations of levels (Mad Forest and Inlaid Library) and modes (Hyper and Normal) to give you my impressions of the best characters, weapons, and accessories in the game. I will be referring back to the image above for the rest of the guide as it really does a great job detailing the differences in power between the weapons in an all-out offensive build.
I do not think this is the “best” build, just a very good one to get direct weapon comparisons out of. I think there are a number of viable builds that will get you to the 30 minute mark, and as long as you can do that then your build was good enough 😀
When playing, a basic rule is to take any weapon or accessory you’re looking for that you don’t already have if it gets offered to you. Conversely, sometimes the game will not offer you a Fire Wand until you’re already 15 minutes into a run. It is preferable to level up a weapon rather than take something new that isn’t very helpful (see the tier lists below to help you decide what is helpful, the game pauses when you’re making the decision).
This guide is a work in progress that will improve in quality as I have time to add more images and fill out more weapon and item descriptions. I’m publishing it now because there is enough information to help new players trying to figure out good builds.
The last thing I’ll say here is, prioritise buying “Amount” from the Power Up shop, then Move Speed and / or Pick Up Radius as these are huge quality of life improvements. You won’t miss the in-game items for Move Speed or Pick Up Radius if you have these.
The first decision you always make is what character to play, so we’ll start here. Every character comes with a starting weapon and a passive boost, some of which grow as they level up.
You may have noticed the character in the Introduction post-game screen was Pasqualina, shown here again. You can see her starting weapon is the Runetracer, and she gives a maximum of 30% increased projectile speed at level 15. Each character’s weapon and passive combination is important to consider, you can win with anyone if you build them correctly.
In terms of difficulty from easiest to hardest, I would rank the characters as follows:
I placePasqualinaon top because the Runetracer is the best weapon in the entire game that does not rely on finding a matching Accessory as it does not morph. If you look at my Introduction screenshot closely you will see that in that run the Runetracer actually did almost an entire million more damage than the next closest weapon, the morphed Fire Wand in Hellfire form. It scales well with projectile speed, allowing it to pass through more enemies before it disappears so Pasqualina’s passive benefits it greatly. Unlike Arca’s Fire Wand, Imelda’s Magic Wand shots, or Gennaro’s Daggers, Runetracer also scales very well with Duration, allowing for more flexibility in what other weapons you pick next. I will show why this matters in the weapon tier list 😀
Arcastarts with the Fire Wand, and passively reduces cooldowns by up to 15% at level 30. Cooldown reduction in this game means you fire your weapons faster (if they have a cooldown), and so it benefits many powerful weapons, not just the Fire Wand and it’s morph. The reason Arca beats the other morph weapon users in my list is because his morph item, Spinach, is a pure damage increase and works with every build. Spinach combined with the raw power of the Hellfire weapon (refer to the Introduction screenshot) can carry many builds if you prioritize completing the morph.
Imelda is a character that starts stronger than most, and levels quickly thanks to her passive XP buff, but her Magic Wand weapon does not scale well into the end game. On the plus side, the morph item for it is the Empty Tome, which gives Cooldown Reduction and is a top tier Accessory. Use her early power to set up a strong late game build and you will succeed easily. She is very simple to play and allows you to experiment with a variety of builds thanks to her affinity for the Empty Tome accessory.
Gennaro does not scale in power as he levels, instead giving a passive +1 Projectile to all weapons. This is incredibly powerful and makes the early game far easier, but his Daggers also tend to drop off in usefulness the longer the game goes on similar to the Magic Wand (even if you morph them, though that does help keep them relevant). The Dagger’s morph Accessory is the Bracer, which gives Projectile Speed and while Runetracer and King Bible love this stat, it does not really improve most weapons performance, unfortunately. If you do take the Bracer, try to make sure you get the Runetracer and King Bible to carry you in the late game. Because those are two of the best weapons in the entire game period, Gennaro gets placed this high despite being a little more restricted in how you should build him compared to other characters.
Portais similar to Pasqualina in that she has a powerful non-morphing starter weapon in the Lightning Ring and a good passive to support it, but it isn’t as versatile as the Runetracer as it cannot benefit from Duration or Projectile Speed. This makes her the opposite of Gennaro in that it can be awkward to intentionally build for the Runetracer and King Bible combo. That being said, her increased AoE passive can benefit most weapons, enhancing a variety of builds.
Mortaccio‘s Bones are a unique non-morphing weapon only he gets access to, and while they are better damage overall than the Magic Wand, they are not as powerful as Runetracer and are harder to use than either it or the Magic Wand. On top of this, his passive doesn’t kick in until level 20, at which point it matches what Gennaro begins with. Only at level 40 will he start to be more powerful than Gennaro and by then you’ve probably already achieved a strong enough build to win the game, or lost your run. By the time you reach level 60 his final +1 Projectile is basically irrelevant as you probably also have a fully leveled Duplicator Accessory and the +1 Projectile Power Up from spending your Gold between games. That being said, Bones will do more total damage than a morphed Magic Wand, and significantly benefit from… you guessed it, Speed and Duration, making him a good candidate for a Bible and Runetracer build. However, due to his non-morphing starter weapon and passive he is versatile enough to go in whatever direction the items you pick up dictate.
Antonio is, unfortunately, one of the weaker characters in the game despite being the Simon (or Trevor) Belmont stand-in and having a very strong passive granting +50% damage at level 50. This is because the Whip is one of the weakest weapons overall and morphing it does not do enough to make it better. On top of that, if you do wish to morph it, you need the Hollow Heart accessory which only serves to increase your maximum health. As you can see in my Introduction screen shot, this game is entirely winnable without a single defensive item, so they do not rank highly in my opinion. I recommend against evolving his Whip and treating it similar to the Magic Wand as something you will not rely on to carry you into the late game. Get more powerful weapons and make levelling them your priority, and you can win by leveraging his passive damage bonus.
Poe begins with the controversial Garlic weapon, which does not morph, and similar to the Magic Wand falls off sharply in the late game compared to other damage sources. In today’s patch it was given some additional power to help push enemies back, but remains primarily an early game weapon. Unfortunately, Poe’s passives are terrible on top of this, being +25% pick up radius (you can get +50% from the Power Up page and that is all you really need), and MINUS 30 health (so 70 total). Poe is the only character in the game with a negative passive on top of having a very limited starter weapon. Garlic has no Duration, Speed, Projectiles, or Cooldown, so the only stats that can improve it are raw damage (Spinach) and AoE (Candelabrador) items. At least Poe allows for a large variety of builds since every weapon benefits from damage and AoE (except Clock Lancet and Pentagram, but we’ll talk about those later…). Garlic kills many weak enemies on contact making you functionally immortal until they start getting harder to kill, so use that time to get as powerful as you can as quickly as you can and you may still win.
You only get 6 weapon slots to create a build from, so the weapons you choose need to work together to form a powerful offence and defence if you’re going to survive to 30 minutes.
Again refer back to the screenshot in my introduction for some of the data I’ve used to inform my opinions, and remember, these are just my opinions. I’ve won at least 4 games now with a variety of builds, I just didn’t save screenshots of each of them. Feel free to disagree, but have some data to back you up. I’m happy to re-evaluate as necessary and likely will with each new patch after this guide is published.
That being said, here is the tier list:
- Fire Wand
- King Bible
- Magic Wand
- Lightning Ring
- Santa Water
- Ebony Wings
- Clock Lancet
Laurel is outside the list because it doesn’t kill or otherwise impede your enemies, it is simply a damage shield that makes you immune to being hurt for a very brief window. After this triggers it refreshes after a short cooldown and holds until you’re hit again. At high levels it can sustain up to 3 hits before breaking. If you want a defensive item to help you learn the game with, I HIGHLY recommend this. You do not need all 5 of your slots to be offensive weapons to win, and this may help you reach the late game or survive those last crucial few seconds to reach the full 30 minutes. Once you understand the game and builds better you can start skipping this, but I could have easily won while dropping the Magic Wand from my build in the Introduction screen shot to include Laurel instead.
On with the full descriptions:
Surprising no one who has read this far into the guide, Runetracer wins due to the high damage and versatility it provides, not requiring an accessory as it does not morph. This means you can slot it into any build really and get results, freeing an accessory slot for Duplicator which is not tied to a morph. Even better though, it benefits greatly from the same stats the #3 weapon does, Speed and Duration, creating a powerful combination. You can still use it in builds that don’t take the Bracer or the Spellbinder accessories though, because it benefits from every offensive stat boost. When it doubt, pick up the Runetracer!
Fire Wandhas the best morph accessory in the game, Spinach, which increases the damage of all of your weapons by 50% when maxed out. On top of this, as you can see in the Introduction screenshot the weapon itself is no slouch when it comes to dps, almost tying with the Heaven Sword. Spinach is versatile and allows for Hellfire to go into any build, really, and this is why I consider it the best morphed weapon in the game as of the current version.The only thing I would caution is that it is a weapon that becomes IMMENSELY more useful post-morph, until that happens you need to support with, well, anything? Since it can slot into any build, just try to grab some weapons like the Runetracer, Cross, or Magic Wand that have a lot of early clearing power to help you survive until the morph, then unleash Hellfire on your enemies.
The King Bible nabs third only because it of its morph accessory. It is at once an incredibly powerful defensive and offensive weapon, making you more or less guaranteed to win a game once it is morphed as nothing short of slow moving bosses with huge health pools can get past the Unholy Vespers form. The Spellbinder morph item helps early on with increased Duration while it is still the King Bible, but becomes pointless after morphing because the Unholy Vespers never end once they activate. This means to get the most out of the King Bible you should prioritise other weapons to go with it that DO still use the Spellbinder. Like say the #1 weapon in the game, Runetracer 😀 That being said, other powerful weapons such as the Cross, Fire Wand, Axe, Knife, and Magic Wand do NOT benefit from the Duration provided by Spellbinder and this is why I’ve ranked the Fire Wand higher than the good book.
The Cross is a powerful projectile weapon that can cut huge swaths out of the enemy horde both before and after morphing into the Holy Sword. In Holy Sword form it has consistently been my highest dps weapon across any win I took it in. The only reason I don’t rate it higher? The Cross requires the Clover accessory to morph, and while that does increase your critical hit rate, the only weapon besides the Holy Sword capable of critical hits that I’m aware of is the Bloody Tear morph of the Whip. Having played with both Bloody Tear and the Holy Sword with a maxed out Clover, I can tell you this is still not enough to make the Bloody Tear into a good weapon. So, while the Holy Sword is amazing, the accessory to morph it does not increase the dps of any other weapon you should be prioritizing getting, making this a big commitment.
The Magic Wand is one of the best starter weapon in the game, helping you level up quickly by killing lots of weak monsters at close range so you can pick up their xp drops. On top of that, it morphs using the Empty Tome, one of the best accessories in the game after Spinach. The biggest drawback to the Magic Wand is that the damage falls off, hard, as the game progresses. Even after morphing into the Holy Wand you will see non-morphing weapons overtake it if you refer to the Introduction screenshot once again. Besides that, we have another case where the morph accessory stops benefiting the weapon, as the Holy Wand has no cooldown to reduce with the Empty Tome. It is less of an issue here since other powerful weapons in this do continue to benefit from Empty Tome, and greatly so, so don’t be afraid to pick up the Magic Wand in one of your first 3 weapon slots. Past that, it probably won’t have much of an impact on your success or failure in a run, and builds that want the Empty Tome will want it even without going for the Holy Wand morph.
I love the Lightning Ring, it does huge damage and destroys large clusters of enemies once powered up, without requiring a morph item. The only drawback is that it does not benefit from Speed or Duration, making it situated better in builds that aren’t going for King Bible or Runetracer, and unfortunately those are far more useful weapons overall. You can still run this over say, the Magic Wand that I used in the Introduction screenshot and likely do more damage than even the Holy Wand does, but I need a bit more data to say that conclusively. It is hard to use early on as well, often killing enemies far away from you that you will have to run at to collect their xp drops. Once it is leveled though, it is a powerful weapon.
- Santa Water
- Ebony Wings
- Clock Lancet
As with weapons you only get 6 slots for Accessories, so you need to make each count. Adding to the complication is that some weapons only truly shine after you have found the right accessory to allow them to morph into their ultimate form.
Eventually I will clean this up a bit and add pictures as with the rest of the guide, but for now here is my accessory tier list. The short explanation is that any combination of the items in the top section will make a workable build. Try to pair them with their morph weapons for best results. Once you get the hang of what you’re doing you can try to optimise by focusing on accessories that benefit as many of your weapons as possible.
Duplicator (more projectiles)
Spinach (more damage, Fire Wand morph)
Empty Tome (more frequent attacks, Magic Wand morph)
Spellbinder (longer duration, King Bible Morph)
Candelabrador (bigger AoE, Axe morph)
Clover (increased luck, Cross morrph)
Bracer (faster projectiles, Knife morph)
These next few are fine if you are missing movement speed and pickup radius from the Power Up screen. They are qualify of life improvements, but won’t really win or lose you games on their own. Definitely prioritise everything above these higher unless you know what you’re doing. If you do have faster movement and increased pickup radius from the Power Up screen, I would take Crown over the Wings or Attractorb.
Wings (faster movement)
Attractorb (increased pickup radius)
Crown (increased xp)
Then we have what I consider the least useful accessories, the defensive stats. Hollow Heart wins only because it enables a morph, but if you don’t have the Whip and are forced to choose one of these 3 items I would take Armor. Even as a new player you should not take these, just take Laurel in a weapon slot instead, it will do a much better job keeping you alive longer once you understand how it works.
Hollow Heart (increases max hp, Whip morph item)
Armor (reduces damage taken)
Pummarola (grants very slow hp regen)
Finally, I place Stone Mask by itself because it is very useful if you’re trying to make more gold to max out your Power Ups, but utterly and completely useless if you’ve already done this. In general I would not recommend picking this up as you make a lot of gold in Hyper mode (5k per win roughly).
Here are some suggested character, weapon, and accessory combinations for you to try out. I have attempted to put together what I believe is the strongest kit for each character, so if you have a favourite try going for the weapons and accessories I recommend below. I recommend Laurel for each character because you do NOT need 6 damage dealing weapons to win a map as of the time of this writing. If you do not feel like you need Laurel to survive for 30 minutes, you can replace it with any other weapon you like using. It isn’t mandatory, it is just very beginner friendly to have it in your build while you are still learning how the game and all the weapons work.
You do NOT need to collect the weapons in the order I list below, but I do recommend an order that will lead to the smoothest play through as some are far more useful early and some are late game oriented, shining brightest in their morphed forms. I always place the starting weapon first, and the Laurel last, but pick up Laurel any time it is offered if you’re not confident in your ability to win without it.
I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about Vampire Survivors – Best Character Build-Weapon-Accessory Tier List (v0.2.8 Early Access) – Walkthrough; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!
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