This Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths guide will teach players which Hero Paths are the best option for every character in Darkest Dungeon 2.
If you’re playing Darkest Dungeon 2, you’ve probably learned that as you complete the Altar of Hope, you unlock new Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for each of the various characters that you can recruit into your party.
Each of the Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths confers special benefits, but also introduces new drawbacks. Some will boost melee damage at the expense of ranged damage. Some might improve healing at the cost of damage. Some will encourage Heroes who normally sit in the back row to move to the front row.
This Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths guide will rank each character’s various Hero Paths, so you know which ones are worth unlocking and which ones are best to use.
As with any list of this nature, there is some subjectivity. I’ve been playing Darkest Dungeon 2 since the first day of early access, have done over 150 runs with every party composition you can imagine, and have fully completed the Altar of Hope. I’m pretty confident I have a good feeling for which of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths feel worthwhile and which ones are underwhelming.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths guide.
Highwayman – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Sharpshot gets: +25% Damage Ranged Skills, -25% Damage Melee Skills, +3 Speed, Grapeshot Blast grants Strength.
Sharpshot is, in my opinion, not only the best of the Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Highwayman, but the best overall DPS character in the game.
Sharpshot deals consistent, high damage every turn and has the flexibility to hit any row. He can nuke ranks 1 and 2 for 10-18 damage every turn, and if you need to pick off a backline enemy, he can use Pistol Shot.
Additionally, he can be put in any rank except rank 1, making him easy to include in almost any party formation.
He’s also able to make good use of Highway Robbery, which steals 2 positive tokens from any enemy. Highway Robbery is the perfect response to any of the various enemies that buff themselves with Riposte and Block or Dodge tokens.
Getting a free Strength Token from Grapeshot blast essentially means that Grapeshot Blast is 50% stronger, assuming you use it every turn.
Rogue gets: +25% Damage in Rank 1, -25% Damage in Rank 3, -50% Damage in Rank 4, Point Blank Shot grants Riposte.
Rogue is my pick for Highwayman’s second best of the Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths. The playstyle for Rogue is essentially, you nuke the frontline with Point Blank Shot, then use Duelist’s Advance to get back to Rank 1, and repeat.
A Rogue Highwayman will almost always have Riposte and Dodge tokens, making him a solid offtank and formidable frontliner.
If you manage to pick up The General’s Dream, you can forego Duelist’s Advance entirely and just use Point Blank Shot every round for huge damage numbers.
The main reason why Rogue is #2 and not #1 is that, first off, Sharpshot also gets +25% damage on Point Blank Shot, should you choose to use it. More importantly, though, Rogue Highwayman struggles to hit the back line.
Duelist’s Advance can hit Rank 3, but it doesn’t get the +25% damage bonus, since you won’t be in Rank 1 when you use it. Rogue essentially gets +25% damage on every other attack, and can only hit the back line from Rank 2.
Being able to hit the back line is a big deal in Darkest Dungeon 2, because most bosses have mechanics that require it. Dreaming General, Librarian, Seething Sigh and Exemplar all require you to be able to hit the back row to win without exposing yourself to their strongest attacks.
Overall, Rogue’s damage output is around the same as Sharpshot’s, but it’s more burst-heavy and less consistent.
Rogue is still an amazing character with a fun playstyle, though. Even though I think Sharpshot is better hands down when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Highwayman, I still think either Sharpshot or Rogue are top tier damage dealers.
Yellowhand gets: Melee Skills apply -10% Bleed Resist, +15% Max HP, -75% Damage Ranged Skills, Highway Robbery Steals an Extra Token, Double Cross removes Block.
Yellowhand is a weird one. When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 hero paths, it’s more of a gimmick than anything else. It’s clearly trying to set up a sturdy, melee-focused Highwayman, but there are a couple things to consider here.
First, Highway Robbery already steals 2 positive tokens. Stealing 3 positive tokens is nice, but it’s usually unnecessary. Double Cross already removes Block by virtue of hitting the enemy. So the Double Cross bonus only matters if the enemy has 2 or more Block tokens.
-75% Ranged Damage is a huge penalty. You’re left with only Wicked Slice, Open Vein, Duelist’s Advance and Double Cross.
Since this build is melee focused, buffs Highway Robbery, which can’t be used in Rank 1, and penalizes Point Blank Shot to the point of being useless, you’re going to be in Rank 2. There is no other Rank to place a Yellowhand Highwayman.
Since Point Blank Shot is worthless, you have no easy way of getting back to Rank 2 from Rank 1. So that means Duelist’s Advance is out, unless you have another character (Man-at-Arms or Hellion) who can waste their turn dancing Highwayman back to Rank 2.
Melee skills reduce bleed resistance, but that doesn’t do anything for damage. Open Vein already usually applies its bleed.
So altogether you get a huge penalty, -75% Ranged Damage, and in exchange you get no damage increase, a handful of questionably useful bonuses, and a character who can only function in exactly Rank 2.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths, I’d pass on Yellowhand Highwayman, especially considering how good Sharpshot and Rogue are.
Plague Doctor – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Alchemist gets: -20% Max HP, +33% Blight Chance, Blight Skills +10% Crit, +50% Stun Res, +20% Bleed/Burn/Plague Res, +33% Debuff Res
Alchemist is my vote when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Plague Doctor.
In exchange for -20% HP, you get a ton of bonuses that all serve to make Plague Doctor a more effective character overall.
As a backliner, Plague Doctor tends to be the least likely character to be attacked directly. She’s also the character you least want to have stunned.
Despite the -20% HP, the bevy of resistances you gain actually make the Alchemist a sturdier option than the standard Plague Doctor.
The buffs to Blight Skills are noticeable as well. An Alchemist almost never has its Plague Skills resisted, and the direct damage goes from negligible to the point of being irrelevant, to weak but noticeable.
Usually Plague Grenade and Noxious Blast hit for 1-3 damage. An Alchemist will feel like it’s hitting for more like 4-5 damage.
Alchemist doesn’t get a bonus to healing, but it doesn’t get a nerf to healing either. More than that, it gets to sit in Rank 4, unlike Surgeon, which means it can use the Ghastly Gruel trinket (which gives +25% Healing in Rank 4 and a chance to heal every party member every round).
Alchemist is just basically a complete upgrade from the standard Plague Doctor, all for the low cost of a 20% HP penalty you’ll barely notice. For those reasons, I think Alchemist is the best of the Plague Doctor Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths.
Surgeon gets: +25% Max HP, +50% Melee Damage, +33% Healing, -33% Plague Chance
Surgeon, like Alchemist, is a buff overall. It gets a lot of bonuses for only one drawback. Unlike Alchemist, the -33% Plague Chance is fairly significant. Surgeon’s Plague Skills are not very useable. They’re often resisted and the direct damage is so small that resistance is a wasted turn.
However, the buffs Surgeon gets when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths are significant.
+25% Max HP is nice, especially considering Surgeon has to be in Rank 3 or Rank 2 where she’s more likely to be targeted. +50% Melee Damage makes Incision a beast of an attack, and +33% Healing is a huge healing bonus.
So if you’re rolling a Surgeon, you have a slightly sturdier Plague Doctor in Rank 3 who hits hard with Incision and pumps out big healing numbers.
The big drawback for Surgeon is the positioning. It’s a lot harder to fit Surgeon onto a team than Alchemist. This is mainly because Jester and Surgeon are both Rank 3 characters.
Jester can’t use his Stress Heal in Rank 2, so if you want a Stress Heal with Surgeon, you’re either sticking Surgeon in Rank 2, where he can’t use Battlefield Medicine and he’s not quite as tanky as you’d like, or you’re stuck with Man-at-Arms for your Stress Heal (or no Stress Heal).
Physician gets: -2 Blight Damage, -2 Bleed Damage, Disorienting Blast +20% Stun Chance, Ounce of Prevention +15% Stress Resist, Emboldening Vapors +1 Strength Token, Disorienting Blast adds Vulnerability
Physician trades essentially all of Plague Doctor’s damage potential for stronger buffs. If you run a Physician, you’re going to be rolling with Blinding Gas, Emboldening Vapors, and Disorienting Blast instead of Plague Grenade and Incision.
Unlike the name suggests, Physician doesn’t get any additional bonus to healing.
Physician is actually pretty fun when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths. Physician tosses out tons of Dazed tokens, between Blinding Gas and Disorienting Blast, not to mention other debuffs.
If you slap a Sparkleball on him, Physician will throw out even more debuffs.
She may not do any direct damage, but if you have a Physician in the party, enemies are going to be Blinded, Dazed and Weakened pretty much all the time.
Still, straight up killing enemies with high damage is usually more effective than repeatedly debuffing them, so I tend to think Alchemist and Surgeon are objectively better choices. But I have to admit, Physician is pretty fun.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Plague Doctor, I think Physician is definitely #3, but it’s not too far behind Surgeon.
Grave Robber – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Nightsworn gets: -20% Max HP, +50% Damage when Cloaked, Lunge and Pirouette Skills +25% Damage.
Nightsworn is my pick for #1 when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Grave Robber.
It’s the only Grave Robber build that does respectable damage compared to Highwayman, and it can actually put out some pretty significant damage numbers.
There are only two problems with Nightsworn. First, you have to make sure your Rank 4 and 3 characters also function in Rank 3 and 2, because Nightsworn will be constantly dancing between Rank 2 and 4.
This is harder to achieve than it seems. Most characters either work at Rank 4 or 3, or they work at Rank 1 or 2. Not too many characters work well at both Rank 3 and Rank 2.
The second problem with Nightsworn is her ability to hit the back row suffers. It’s sort of the same tradeoff as the Rogue Highwayman. The way you build out her abilities, you’re probably only going to have room for 1 ranged skill to use as a backup, most likely Poison Dart or Thrown Dagger.
This is alright as a fallback, but it’s not going to put out heavy damage to the back row, making the Librarian, Exemplar and Seething Sigh bosses more difficult. Still, her ranged damage skills aren’t penalized, they’re just not a focus for this build.
If you can get your hands on a Silent Treatment or one of the other cloaking trinkets, Nightsworn becomes even more dangerous.
Deadeye gets: +25% Ranged Damage, -25% Melee Damage, +5% Ranged Crit, -33% Movement Res
Deadeye is basically a modest upgrade over a normal Wanderer Grave Robber. Ranged Damage, which is 90% of the reason you’d pick Grave Robber, gets a sizable bonus, at the expense of melee damage and a barely noticeable movement resistance penalty.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Grave Robber, Deadeye gets #2 for being a straight upgrade. It’s a pretty boring build overall, though.
As a Deadeye, you’ll be using Flashing Daggers, Thrown Dagger and Plague Dart. You can easily slot her into Rank 4.
While Nightsworn is comparable to Rogue Highwayman and arguably better, Deadeye is comparable to Sharpshot Highwayman and definitively worse. I can’t think of a situation where it wouldn’t be better to have Sharpshot Highwayman than Deadeye Grave Robber, unless you’re bringing both or you just want the variety.
Still, Deadeye Grave Robber deals decent ranged damage and can do a good job softening up the middle ranks with Flashing Daggers and picking off backliners. Just don’t expect to see big damage numbers with any consistency.
Venomdrop gets: -25% Ranged Damage, -3 Speed, +2 Plague Damage when Cloaked, +2 Plague Damage on Flashing Daggers (+4 upgraded), Movement Skills +30% Plague Chance
Venomdrop is interesting when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths. Unfortunately, interesting doesn’t mean good.
With Venomdrop, your main skills are going to be Flashing Daggers and Poison Dagger. If you can get your hands on His Rings and a cloaking trinket, you’ll be able to put out some decent Plague Damage.
The problem with Venomdrop is the penalty is way too steep. You exchange -25% ranged damage for a modest increase in Plague Damage. It’s kind of a wash overall, since all of Grave Robber’s Plague inflicting skills are ranged damage.
The Plague Damage is also situational. If you can manage to be cloaked, your Plague Damage can be substantial, but you either have to waste a turn cloaking yourself or get lucky with Quirks and Trinkets, which sort of mitigates the bonus.
I suppose the idea here is to use Shadow Fade to activate the +30% Plague Chance, followed by Flashing Daggers or Poison Dart. Or, if you were a different Grave Robber path, you could just use Flashing Daggers 3 times instead of twice, for comparable damage.
The big problem with Venomdrop is that it’s not a bonus, really. The drawbacks offset the bonuses, so it’s just a change of playstyle that requires you to do more setup to achieve similar same damage to a normal Grave Robber.
Man-at-Arms – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Vanguard gets: +20% Max HP, +25% Riposte Damage, +50% Crush Damage, -20% Bleed/Burn/Plague Res
Vanguard is hands down Man-at-Arms’s best path when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths, and in my opinion it’s one of the best Hero Paths in the game.
Man-at-Arms’s best skill is Retribution, which gives you everything you could possibly want from a tank in Darkest Dungeon 2. It gives Block tokens, Taunt tokens and Riposte tokens. If you’re rocking the Vanguard Hero Path, those Riposte tokens hit hard.
+50% Crush damage is nothing to sneeze at either. Crush is more useful than it seems at first glance, because it gets a bonus where Man-at-Arms heals himself when he hits an enemy with a combo token.
Vanguard, in a nutshell, significantly increases Man-at-Arms’s damage output from mediocre to significant, while also giving him the nice +20% HP bonus.
The main thing about Vanguard, really, is that it buffs Man-at-Arms’s best skills, Retribution and Crush, as opposed to the other Paths, which incentivize different skills. Vanguard will use Retribution every other round, and Crush or a situational skill in between.
The drawback, the resistance nerfs, aren’t that big of a deal, especially if you’re rolling with Plague Doctor who has multiple ways of purging debuffs.
Bulwark gets: -25% Riposte/Crush Damage, +50% Shield Skills Damage, +10% Shield Skills Stun Chance, Stand Fast adds 2 Taunt Tokens.
Bulwark and Sergeant are pretty close together in terms of effectiveness. Neither one comes close to Vanguard in my opinion, but I’m going to say Bulwark edges out Sergeant because its damage output is higher and it’s still a reasonably effective tank.
Bulwark is incentivized to use Stand Fast instead of Retribution, which means you won’t be getting Riposte tokens. It takes less direct damage than Vanguard because it gets Block+ tokens instead of Block tokens, but it gets less HP and it doesn’t get the self-heal from Crush.
Bulwark only works in Rank 1, because the Shield skills all move Man-at-Arms forward. It also relies on Courageous Abandon for big damage numbers.
Overall, Bulwark is still a pretty good tank that does decent damage. It’s able to stun. Unlike Vanguard, it can’t hit Rank 3 or 4, since all its skills are close range and it doesn’t get Riposte tokens.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Man-at-Arms, Bulwark players more like a Leper build in terms of its kit than the other two Man-at-Arms Paths.
Sergeant gets: -20% Damage, +100% Movement Res, Bolster removes Vulnerability/Weakness, 20% Chance Each Ally on Turn Start gets +50% Bleed/Burn/Plague Res
In terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Man-at-Arms, Sergeant is more focused on support than the other two paths.
The big bonus is obviously the Bleed/Burn/Plague resistance, which is a huge buff and arguably worth the -20% damage.
If you don’t give Rank 3 to Jester, Man-at-Arms is your best option for Stress Heal, so there are a lot of party compositions where you may want to bring Man-at-Arms in Rank 2 almost entirely for his Stress Heal.
In that case, Sergeant can be a good option, because you’ll not only get the Stress Heal, but also a (modestly) buffed Bolster and some decent, passive, party-wide damage mitigation.
Let’s be clear, though. Vanguard can also do the Stress Heal, while also tanking effectively and pumping out nice damage. Sergeant’s damage is extremely lacking. It’s up to you whether you think the DoT resistance is worth it.
Personally I can’t see a situation where I wouldn’t prefer to have a Vanguard over a Sergeant when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Man-at-Arms.
Jester – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Soloist gets: +20% Damage, +33% Bleed Chance, +10% Crit on Bleed Skills, -20% Max HP, -3 Speed
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Jester, Soloist is my go-to. It makes him much stronger, overall, and the HP and Speed loss are completely worth it.
A Soloist Jester deals significant damage. Harvest from a Soloist Jester outdamages Flashing Daggers from a Deadeye Grave Robber, and Grave Robber is a dedicated DPS character whereas Jester is a support/DPS hybrid.
Soloist deals great damage and stacks bleeds up quickly while still being able to bring along Jester’s valuable Stress Heal.
There’s not too much to say about Soloist in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths. It’s just a straight upgrade for Jester that makes him a damage dealer on par with dedicated DPS heroes.
Virtuoso gets: +20% Max HP, +3 Speed, -20% Bleed/Burn/Plague Res, Each Ally 15% Chance to Grant +100% Stress Res on Turn Start
Virtuoso emphasizes Jester’s support role. In terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths, bringing a Virtuoso along means you’re not going to have too much difficulty dealing with Stress issues.
Not only does the Virtuoso get Jester’s phenomenal Stress Heal, he also passively reduces the amount of Stress your party takes overall.
Virtuoso gets these bonuses without too much of a tradeoff. He’s slightly more susceptible to DoTs. That’s definitely a drawback, but not a very big one.
Virtuoso is still able to output decent damage. The choice for Jester, when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths, is really, what does your party need from your Jester? More DPS or more Stress Heal?
I tend to feel like Jester’s baseline Stress Heal is enough to get by with most party formations, but making Stress almost entirely a non-issue by bringing along a Virtuoso is nothing to sneeze at.
Intermezzo gets: Song Skills add 2 Bleed, Inspiring Tune grants +20% Stress Res, Echoing March adds 2 Bleed, Ballad & Play Out Skills grant Crit (10%), Dodge+ (20%), Strength (35%), or Block (35%)
Intermezzo is a weird Hero Path. Adding 2 Bleed on Song skills sounds like a great way to buff Finale at first… until you realize that the majority of the time, you’re inflicting bleeds on your own characters.
If you pick Intermezzo, Inspiring Tune, Play Out and Ballad all inflict bleeds on your own characters. It’s pretty wacky, and almost entirely undoes any of the additional benefit this Hero Path grants to those abilities.
The additional Stress Resistance from Inspiring Tune is nice, but if you want a Jester focused on Stress Relief, Virtuoso is a much better option.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Jester, Intermezzo forces you into a really weird playstyle, where you’re constantly dancing around your own party members to give them minor buffs while, in doing so, you’re constantly inflicting bleeds on your own team.
Intermezzo is just very funky, and to the degree there’s any benefit to it at all, it’s harder to achieve than it’s worth.
Hellion – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Ravager gets: +20% Max HP, +25% Damage in Rank 1, -33% Bleed Chance, 25% Chance to Receive 3 Bleed on Turn Start
Ravager is my pick for #1 when it comes to best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Hellion.
Like Soloist and Alchemist, Ravager is just a straight upgrade to the most typical uses for Hellion. Hellion, unless you get really creative with her loadout, is a sturdy frontline DPS character, and Ravager makes her sturdier and increases her DPS.
Unlike Berserker, which is focused on Bleed skills, Ravager improves Hellion’s bread and butter skills. Namely, Wicked Hack, Iron Swan and Howling End. The bonus only applies in Rank 1, but luckily Hellion has the Toe to Toe skill to easily return to the frontline if she gets knocked back.
The downsides of this Path aren’t that noticeable. If you’re not using any bleed causing skills (one out of the two can’t be used from the front row anyway), -33% Bleed Chance doesn’t matter, so the only real downside is the 25% chance to receive 3 Bleed on turn start, which the +20% HP more than makes up for.
For those reasons, I think Ravager is the best of the Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Hellion.
Berserker gets: -20% Max HP, +10% Death Res, +33% Bleed Chance, +10% Crit on Bleed Skills
Berserker is another DPS build for Hellion. In terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Hellion, I think it falls far below Ravage.
Hellion’s Bleed skills aren’t that great to begin with. If It Bleeds deals low base damage, so critting it makes it hit for around 9 damage instead of around 5 damage, and the amount of bleed it inflicts isn’t great.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Hellion, this build is all about maximizing Bleed Out. Bleed Out can only be used in Rank 1, and if you’re putting Hellion in Rank 1 I think Ravager is overall a better option.
However, you can go for a party-wide Bleed focus with Jester and Surgeon Plague Doctor and, if you get lucky with trinkets and get the Beck and Call trophy from Leviathan, which doubles bleed damage, you can put out a ton of bleed damage.
That all requires a lot of lucky and specializing for a bleed focused party from the beginning.
Berserker is an interesting playstyle, but in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Hellion I think it falls far below Ravager.
Carcass gets: Stress -1 (50%) or -2 (25%) when Crit, Barbaric YAWP adds 2x Taunt, Wicked Hack removes Block, Winded on Turn Start, 75% Chance to receive Block per Winded Token on Turn End
Carcass is Hellion’s tanking option when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths. She sacrifices almost all of her damage for survivability, and in doing so she’s still not quite as good of a tank as Man-at-Arms.
The biggest bonuses here are that Carcass passively accumulates Block tokens and Barbaric YAWP adds Taunt in addition to inflicting Weakness and Stun.
The drawback, passively accumulating Winded tokens, is massive. Each Winded token reduces Hellion’s direct damage output significantly, so while she mitigates a lot of damage, be prepared for your Carcass Hellion to output shockingly low damage numbers.
Compare this to Vanguard Man-at-Arms, who can also mitigate a lot of damage, but deals a surprising amount of damage on top of that.
Carcass, like Berserker, is thematically interesting and you might choose this path for variety, but I don’t think it’s better than the other options if you’re objectively looking for the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Hellion.
Runaway – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Survivor gets: +50% Healing, -20% Burn Chance, 2x Dodge and 1x Speed on Combat Start
Runaway is a bit of a confusing character and her best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths are no different.
Survivor is probably the best, because starting combat with 2 dodge tokens and a speed token gives her a decent amount of survivability and increases her utility in random battles. +50% healing is a nice bonus, since Runaway’s healing skill is pretty good.
-20% Burn Chance is a pretty big drawback, considering Burns are Runaway’s main thing, but 20%, overall, isn’t that much.
So in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Runaway, Survivor is a minor upgrade to the regular Wanderer Runaway.
Arsonist gets: +33% Burn Chance, +10% Crit on Burn Skills, -25% Damage, 25% Chance to receive 3 Burn on Turn Start
If you’re looking to maximize Runaway’s Burn Damage, Arsonist is your best bet when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths.
It’s a little bit of a weird Path. +33% Burn Chance is obviously good, but the +10% Crit and -25% Damage kind of cancel each other out.
Runaway’s best Burn skills, Controlled Burn, Dragonfly and Firefly, all deal low base damage anyway.
So you’re really getting +33% Burn Chance in exchange for a 25% chance to receive 3 Burn damage every turn. It’s probably worth it, especially since there’s a trinket that boosts your speed whenever you’re Burning, but the bonus, like the Survivor bonus, is minor.
As with the other Runaway Paths, in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Runaway, the bonus is a little all over the place and, in the end, not much different than a Wanderer Runaway.
Orphan gets: -20% Max HP, -2 Burn/+40% Damage Rank 1, -1 Burn/+20% Damage Rank 2, +1 Burn/-20% Damage Rank 3, +2 Burn/-40% Damage Rank 4, Firestarter grants Crit.
Orphan, like the other Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Runaway, is overcomplicated and not that great in practice.
In exchange for -20% Max HP, Orphan gets Damage bonuses in the frontline at the expense of Burn damage, and Burn damage bonuses in the backline at the expense of direct damage.
You’d think this might make for some creative builds, but the problem is Runaway’s kit is specifically geared toward Ranks 2 and 3. Most of her skills don’t even work in Rank 1 and 4.
For example, you might want to make a burn-focused Runaway and put her in Rank 4, but Controlled Burn, her best overall Burn skill, isn’t usable in Rank 4. In fact, the only Burn skill usable in Rank 4 is Firefly, which is a great Burn skill, but a Rank 4 Runaway is going to use Firefly every round and that’s about it.
Similarly, you might want to make a melee focused Runaway in Rank 1, which is a weird idea to begin with. If you do that, you’re just going to be using Searing Strike and Ransack over and over again and your Runaway will be a sorry excuse for a real frontline character, like Hellion or Leper.
So you’re going to use her in Rank 2 or 3 where, as with the other Runaway Paths, the tradeoffs are minor to the point of being insignificant. Also, in practice, it’s the opposite of what you’d probably want.
Runaway’s way to dance into Rank 3 from Rank 2 is Dragonfly, which deals low base damage and high burn. So you’re nerfing the burn on Dragonfly. And Runaway’s way to move from Rank 3 to Rank 2 is Ransack, which deals high base damage and no burn (unless the target has a combo token). So you’re nerfing the damage on Ransack.
You get the bonus of a crit token on Firestarter, which is a nice little extra thing.
As far as I can tell, the best way to use Orphan is to plant her in Rank 3, use Firestarter on herself, and dish out Burn damage with Controlled Burn and Firefly.
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Runaway, Orphan is a bit messy design-wise.
Occultist – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Warlock gets: -20% Max HP, +25% Ranged Damage, 33% Chance for Unchecked Power on Turn Start
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Occultist, Warlock doubles down on what Occultist does best: hefty ranged nukes against the enemy back line with Abyssal Artillery.
The main draw here, in addition to the +25% Ranged Damage, is the 33% chance for a free Unchecked Power token, which means you don’t have to waste a turn casting Chaotic Offering. Warlock can just keep nuking away until he has enough Unchecked Power to unleash The Burning Stars.
The main issue with Warlock, and Occultist in general, is you can use Warlock effectively in either Rank 4 or Rank 3, meaning you have to choose between Plague Doctor or Jester.
Still, Warlock reliably outputs a lot of damage, so it’s my pick for #1 when it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Occultist.
Aspirant gets: +25% Max HP, +25% Melee Damage, +125% Anamnesis Damage, -15% Debuff Chance on Curses, -15% Debuff Res, Block+ on Combat Start.
Following closely behind Warlock in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Occultist, is Aspirant.
I think these two Paths are very close in terms of power and utility. The main thing that separates them is that The Burning Stars is usually a much better use of Unchecked Power than Anamnesis.
Anamnesis is a comparatively weaker full-party attack. Even with the +125% damage from Aspirant, we’re still talking single digit damage. On top of that, by the time you’ve generated enough Unchecked Power to use it, at least one or two enemies are usually dead, drastically limiting its effectiveness.
Even as an Aspirant, you’re likely to spent your Unchecked Power tokens on The Burning Stars.
The real bonus here is not the +125% Anamnesis damage bonus, it’s the 25% melee bonus, the extra health and the block token, all of which serve to make Occultist a bit sturdier and able to dish out frontline damage as well as backline damage.
Aspirant and Warlock perform roughly on par with one another from Rank 3. Warlock can also function in Rank 4, though it has no way to deal direct damage on the frontlines from that position except The Burning Stars.
Likewise, Aspirant can perform well from Rank 2, but it doesn’t have access to Abyssal Artillery from that position.
Aspirant and Warlock are roughly equal. They both generate Unchecked Power at about the same rate, in practice, and the tradeoff is better frontline damage from the Aspirant vs better backline damage from the Warlock.
In my opinion, in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths, Warlock gets the edge, but Aspirant is a close second.
Ritualist gets: +33% Healing, +10% Debuff Chance on Curses, Receives Strength (15%) / Crit (15%) / Dodge+ (15%) when casting Curses, Vulnerability on Turn Start (33%).
In terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Occultist, Ritualist tends to be the odd man out. It’s focused on healing and curses.
Occultist’s heal is highly unreliable and, even with +33% healing, it’s not something you can expect to reliably keep your party members healed. The bonus on curses is nice, especially if you have a Ritualist in Rank 4 where you need to rely on Curses to have something to use against frontline enemies.
Generally speaking, though, Ritualist boosts Occultist’s two weakest movesets: healing and debuffs, and it does so by making him much squishier, ensuring he’s regularly afflicted with Vulnerability.
There is one caveat to this, though. Occultist gets a unique trinket called the Seeing Sphere, which converts Vulnerability to Unchecked Power.
If you manage to pick up that trinket, Ritualist becomes much more useful. That 33% Vulnerability drawback becomes a 33% chance of Unchecked Power, making Ritualist a direct upgrade over a Wanderer Occultist with zero downside.
If you get the Seeing Sphere trinket, Ritualist is probably on par with both Warlock and Aspirant in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Occultist. Without it, it’s significantly less effective.
Leper – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Tempest gets: +33% Chop Damage, +33% Debuff Res, +100% Disease Res, -25% Max HP, -3 Speed
When it comes to the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Leper, Tempest is your typical direct upgrade. Tempest gets all the things you’d want in a Leper upgrade.
His big damage nuke, Chop, is boosted. He gets Debuff Res, so he’s less likely to blind himself. He gets Disease resistance, which is a nice bonus. And he gets -3 Speed, which is actually a bonus, considering a lot of tanking trinkets have big bonuses that only activate at 2 or less speed.
The only real downside is the -25% HP, but of all the characters, Leper has the most HP to spare.
In terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Leper, Tempest is also your only real option. Not only is Leper, in my opinion, the least useful party member overall, his other two Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths are so wacky and situational I can’t imagine anyone picking them for a reason other than to test them out or for variety.
Poet gets: +50% Healing, +50% Stun Res, +50% Movement Res, -25% Damage
Poet gives Leper a hefty damage penalty in exchange for making him situationally sturdier.
Poet makes Leper less likely to get stunned, but when your Leper is only really good for absorbing hits, does it really matter that much if he’s stunned? Stuns also aren’t particularly common, so unlike the Chop damage bonus Tempest gets, Poet’s stun resist comes into play in maybe 10% of fights.
Movement resistance is similarly situational. You might get a fair amount of use out of it in The Shroud, but other than that, it’s not going to come into play much.
The +50% Healing means Solemnity recovers Leper to full health, but Leper’s self-heal is already powerful to begin with.
If Poet gave Tempest Block tokens or Riposte tokens or something, it might be more worthwhile, but in practice it gives some pretty situational, fringe benefits in exchange for a huge drawback, -25% damage.
For those reasons, I think Poet is fairly weak in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths.
Monarch gets: -30% Max HP, -75% Chop Damage, Purge & Intimidate add Vulnerability, if fighting Cosmic enemies +50% Max HP, +2 Speed, +100% Chop Damage
Last but not least… actually it probably is least. Well, lastly, among the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths, you have Monarch, which is an odd duck for sure.
Monarch significantly nerfs Leper in a variety of ways, except when fighting Cosmic enemies, in which case he gets a sizable buff.
Now, here’s the thing. There are a lot of Cosmic enemies and they’re usually the most difficult enemies. The Occultists, Exemplar, the Confession bosses, they’re all Cosmic, so Leper gets a huge bonus against those tough enemies.
Unfortunately, in exchange for that, he becomes pretty much dead weight for every other encounter, including the Lair bosses. Outside of Cosmic encounters, all he can really do is deal minor damage, act as a sponge for a few hits, and inflict Vulnerability.
Overall, I think the downside here is just too high, especially for Leper who already has limited utility. In terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths for Leper, I’m going to have to rank Monarch last.
Vestal – Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths
Vestal’s Darkest Dungeon 2 hero paths are unique in that they actually change the functionality of her skills. In addition to that, they alter the manner in which she gains Conviction tokens.
Seraph is, in a nutshell, the healing Hero Path. The main bonus of the Seraph hero path is that it significantly improves the Mantra skill, giving Vestal a second powerful nuke heal.
While the bonus to Mantra is the main benefit, the Conviction generation mechanic of Seraph has her swimming in tokens and, unlike Confessor, retains the basic version of Judgement, which is more powerful and inflicts burn.
With both Consecration skills out, Seraph gets 2 Conviction tokens per round, more than any other Hero Path, and it effectively doubles the damage of her Judgement skill.
For those reasons, I’d say in terms of the best Darkest Dungeon 2 hero paths for Vestal, Seraph is #1.
Confessor enhances Vestal’s ability to apply debuffs and alters several of her skills to inflict various debuffs. Her Judgement skill becomes less damaging, but inflicts Weakness and Vulnerability tokens. In addition to that, her Illumination skill removes positive tokens, similar to Highwayman’s Highway Robbery skill.
Both of these abilities add decent utility to Vestal’s kit. She deals slightly less damage overall, but Vestal’s DPS is already lacking so it’s not a tremendous loss.
The Mantra skill in this path purges negative tokens. I don’t think that’s very useful, honestly. It requires a decent amount of setup, whereas Plague Doctor can just heal negative tokens every other turn with a single button.
Confessor provides some moderate bonuses that come in handy at the tradeoff of lower DPS. For that reason I’d say it’s middle of the pack in terms of Vestal’s best Darkest Dungeon 2 hero paths.
Chaplain is mostly focused on improving Vestal’s ability as a tank. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, except that it’s more common to pick Vestal as a support character.
Still, Vestal is actually a decent tank and If you choose to go that route, Chaplain is the best choice when it comes to Darkest Dungeon 2 hero paths.
Chaplain has Vestal generating tons of Conviction tokens, Block tokens and Block+ tokens. It helps her mitigate a ton of damage.
If you’re going to use Vestal as a tank, this is definitely the best hero path. If you’re using her as a support healer, it’s by far the worst.
That about covers it when it comes to the Best Darkest Dungeon 2 Hero Paths. For more RPG guides and a full list of games we have guides for, visit the main page. For more Darkest Dungeon 2 guides, check out the Darkest Dungeon 2 section. Thanks for choosing Bright Rock Media for your RPG game guides, I hope you come back and visit us again.