Character tier lists are a fun exercise, but it is easy enough to take a flawed approach to decide which characters are better than others. You need to be pretty clear about the circumstances you are ranking them. I will make it clear that in this guide, I am listing the Risk of Rain 2 characters in order of effectiveness at the game’s toughest difficulty. Monsoon difficulty is by far the toughest challenge in the game, so it only makes sense to see how the characters measure up there. I am also talking about playing solo. In multiplayer, all characters have value as long as you know how to maximize it, and your party members are willing to help each other get good builds.
It should also be stressed that while some characters are better, all characters are viable, and it is more important to have fun at the end of the day. Play the characters you like, just use this list for pointers.
Risk of Rain 2 Character Tier List
The Captain is a superb Survivor, a mechanical man who has clearly earned his rank. Attack speed and bleed will turn his main attack into an incredibly hard-hitting monster, while the adaptability of his other abilities means you can always keep yourself in the fight.
With the best map traversal in the game, incredible damage output, and an enjoyable kit, Loader can stomp through the Monsoon difficulty with the right items. The barriers that you generate while fighting can soak up a considerable amount of damage, while your damage output is up there with the very best in the game. Loader takes some practice, but when you figure out how to get the most out of her, she is incredible.
While delicate, Huntress has a lot of inherent safety in her kit. Her dash can very quickly get you to safety. She has a good range and inherent clear with her second ability. The auto-lock main attack is slightly double-sided, as you can get blocked out if something comes between you and your primary target. Still, it also allows you to focus solely on positioning while being confident you are putting damage out. Huntress is a victim of luck. If you get a couple of useful items on her early, you are going to have a fun time, but if more mediocre items come your way, then the run is going to be a struggle. I would say there is a bit of a skill ceiling around this character at more considerable difficulties, but if you figure her out, you can do very well with her.
Outside of Monsoon, I consider the Engineer to be the best character in the game, but this changes at this higher difficulty level. While his potential healing can be enough to keep him in the fight, he lacks any good escape. His bubble shield can also have an issue when bad guys make their way past it, and it is pretty easy to get punished against flying bosses if you are using him. That said, he is still a strong character, but I wouldn’t pick him first for a Monsoon run.
Mul-T is extremely strong thanks to the 1.0 buffs. At the highest difficulty setting, bosses are very tough fights, and Mul-T melts them faster than anyone else in the game. His single target damage is just superb, and he works well with pretty much any item combination in the game. Be it tank items, or damage items that come your way, Mul-T will work just fine. He can also carry two pieces of equipment, allowing you to either double down on damage or have something that can save your life if things go wrong.
Solid self-sustain and damage output can keep Rex in the game, but the plant/robot hybrid can also suffer terrible luck at the start of a run. Early items are vital for Rex, as self-sustain isn’t forgiving enough if you don’t get the right early items to back it up. There is also something of a skill-check to running Rex at great difficulty, as that third shot that procs healing has to land if you wish to stay alive.
The Mercenary falls too much on the mercy of fate at the Monsoon difficulty, but he makes up for by rewarding skilled players. His weak early game means a lack of luck with items that can see you getting severely punished. While he can have excellent mobility, and skilled players can use his R to dodge damage, the lack of range combined with a lack of early damage makes him too risky. If you get lucky, you can have some fantastic runs with him, but the game needs to be generous to you, in my opinion.
I really want to put Acrid higher, it’s just not something I can do based on my own struggles with him in later runs. What makes Acrid struggle is that he just doesn’t do well with so many of the items that help other characters to shine. Not great in solo play, but a worthy Survivor if you are playing with friends.
Recent changes to the Artificer have seen a robust increase in their damage output, while recent changes to how Elites do Fire damage also means they are less likely to get one shot. That said, they are still a hazardous play at Monsoon level due to maneuverability issues, and they can get swamped with enemies as the difficulty ramps up if they get a bad run of items. I guess what separates Survivors in my mind is not how well they do when things go the right way, but how well they can do in circumstances of bad luck. That said, the recent buffs take the Artificer from a D-Tier to C-Tier.
Overlooking the Commando is easy. As your first character, people tend to rush past him, and that is a shame. He has a highly versatile kit with a built-in dodge, a built-in stun, and good survivability at the range. The right items also allow him to do good damage, and you cannot undersell how valuable it is to be able to stun a boss.
The bad news for the Commando is that a low natural mobility combines with difficult landing his abilities on flying enemies in the game in later rounds when they become common.