Risk of Rain Returns Tier List: All Characters Ranked [Update 1.0.5]

Having played Risk of Rain Returns for 100+ hours now, here is my ranking for all the characters in the game.

Risk of Rain Returns has 15 playable characters. Among these, some are good, whereas others are bad. That’s why I have prepared the following Tier List to help players know which character is better in Risk of Rain Returns.

Update: We’ve carefully reviewed our Tier List to ensure it matches all the character changes in the newest Update 1.0.5.
Key Takeaways
  • There are 15 Playable characters in Risk of Rain Returns.
  • These characters include both Ranged and Melee attack users.
  • The characters are based on whether they can last long enough while clearing waves easily.
  • S-Tier Characters are perfect in everyone’s hands.
  • A-Tier characters are solid and will be perfect after some items.
  • B-Tier includes niche categories or those that you shouldn’t use.
  • C-Tier has Artificer, whom you should avoid until it gets buffed.

All Risk of Rain Returns Characters

Here is the Tier List and comparison of all RIsk of Rain Returns characters. For further details on each character, head over to their respective Tier. 

Serial NoNameTierHealthDamageAttack SpeedArmor
1EnforcerS119 [+34 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]700 [+2/LVL]
2MinerS118 HP [+36 HP/LVL]12 [+3.2/LVL]1100 [+3/LVL]
3LoaderS115 HP [+42 HP/LVL]10 [+3/LVL]1800 [+3/LVL]
4PilotS100 HP [+25 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]1200 {+2/LVL]
5HAN-DA120 HP [+44 HP/LVL]13 [+3/LVL]600 [+3/LVL]
6HuntressA90 HP [+32 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]1000 [+2/LVL]
7BanditA115 HP [+34 HP/LVL]12 [+4/LVL]Up to 1900 [+2/LVL]
8AcridA114 HP [+36 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]14015 [+3/LVL]
9MercenaryA122 HP [+36 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]1000 [+3/LVL]
10CHEFA115 HP [+35 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]1200 [+3/LVL]
11CommandoB110 HP [+32 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]1600 [+2/LVL]
12EngineerB120 HP [+34 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]700 [+2/LVL]
13SniperB119 HP [+33 HP/LVL]15 [+4/LVL]600 [+2/LVL]
14DrifterB120 HP [+32 HP/LVL]13 [+3/LVL]N/A0 [+4/LVL]
15ArtificerC110 HP [+32 HP/LVL]12 [+3/LVL]N/A0 [+2/LVL]

S-Tier

S-Tier includes some of the best characters in RIsk of Rain Returns. These characters will be perfect in every player’s hands. That doesn’t mean that you should 100% rely on them. You must ensure that you’re getting the correct items, or they will fall behind in the late game.

Enforcer

Tier list risk of rain returns enforcer.
The Best character in Risk of Rain Returns. [Image by the Author]
One of the first characters that you’ll unlock is the Enforcer. He is unlocked by killing Magma Worm, Wandering Vagrant, and Colossus. The Enforcer is a durable character that uses his shotgun to high damage to close-range enemies. However, he has a drawback in that he has low mobility.

The basic attack, Riot Shotgun, hits all of the enemies at a short range. While the Shield Slam will deal 210% damage while knocking enemies back. If I am getting overwhelmed by enemies, I find a corner and use Protect and Serve. It blocks damage coming from the front while increasing the attack speed. Lastly, the Crowd Control ability stuns enemies in a radius while dealing high damage to them.

Pros

  • Crowd control abilities
  • Shield damage coming from the front

Cons

  • Low mobility

Miner

Miner risk of rain returns
Miner is an interesting Melee character. [Image by the Author]
Up next, we have one of the best characters in Risk of Rain Returns, the Miner. Miner utilizes his pickaxes to deal high damage to enemies. His dashes and jumps are quite deadly. Although he is a melee character, he scales up quickly with the right items.

The Crush ability deals high damage to enemies from early on. His Drill Charge ability will have you going through enemies while dishing out damage to them. And the Backblast ability is enough to stun all enemies. Lastly, his To The Stars ability rises him up from the ground, dealing serious damage to those below.

Pros

  • High basic attack
  • Invincible while dashing

Cons

  • Bad against enemies that move a lot

Loader

Loader
Loader’s basic attack chain combo is quite deadly. [Image by the Author]
Loader is the killing machine thanks to its powerful basic attack chain. It can kill low-level enemies with one basic attack chain. Not only that, the enemies will be stunned by the time you’re done. The loader is a melee attack character, but it is arguably one of the Best Characters in Risk of Rain Returns.

The second ability of the Loader is called Debris Shield. It gives the Loader a shield that lasts 3 seconds. As for the Hydraulic Gauntlet, that will let you move around the arena easily. Lastly, the M440 Conduit can be placed in two different places. When it’s done, the enemies in between will take electric damage.

Pros

  • Powerful Basic attack combo
  • Invisibility Shield
  • High mobility

Cons

  • Relatively less durable compared to other melee characters

Pilot

The Pilot is a glass-canon. [Image by the Author]

The Pilot uses his flying abilities to kill enemies. He can stay in the air longer while dealing high damage. The pilot is more of a glass canon as he can dish out great damage but is the most vulnerable.

Every third of his basic attack pierces through enemies. The second skill will either shoot diagonally upward or downward, depending on whether you are on the ground or airborne. Using the third skill, the Pilot can shoot himself up in the sky and deploy a parachute. Lastly, the fourth ability leaves a bomb that triggers when enemies come near it.

Pros

  • Can stay airborne, dealing damage
  • Powerful abilities

Cons

  • Weak in all stages

A-Tier

The A-Tier Risk of Rain Returns has almost perfect characters. That can be fixed by getting one or two items that go well with them. These items will make them as good as the S-Tier is from the beginning. While keeping it in mind, let’s go through A-Tier characters.

HAN-D

Han-d risk of rain returns tier list
HAN-D has a slow start but becomes deadly later on. [Image by the Author]
When first starting with HAN-D, I expected a character that wouldn’t last more than 1-2 stages, but I was wrong. Although the starting stages were quite slow, I never found myself in danger or running away from enemies. That is thanks to the HAN-D’s powerful attacks and second ability to heal itself.

Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed by enemies, I would recommend using the ‘Force_Reassembly’ ability to knock all enemies up in the air, giving you time to reposition yourself. The Overclock ability increases your attack speed. Whereas the Drone ability will heal you and damage enemies with the drones that you’ve gained by killing enemies.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Deals high damage
  • Stuns enemies

Cons

  • Slow basic attacks and abilities

Huntress

Huntress Risk of rain returns.
Huntress is perfect for kiting. [Image by the Author]
The Huntress is the perfect character if you’re looking for one that has kiting abilities. She can use all of her skills while moving, allowing you to stay away from enemy attacks all of the time. If you prefer DPS heroes, then the Huntress is the best character to go with.

As I’ve already mentioned, Huntress can use all of her abilities while moving. It means that you can use your attacks while moving, and it won’t slow you down like it does with other characters. Her Laser Glaive deals high damage to four enemies, with it increasing on each hit. The Blink ability teleports her. And lastly, the Cluster Bomb ability deals great damage to grouped-up enemies.

Pros

  • Can use abilities while moving
  • High Damage

Cons

  • Lowest starting HP

Bandit

Bandit
Bandit can use basic attacks as fast as you can press the button. [Image by the Author]
The Bandit tests your abilities while you’re playing him. His basic attack fires as fast as you can press the attack button. He is the DPS machine that can deal great damage. You can escape from tight corners with the Bandit. If used correctly, the fourth ability will reset all of the cooldowns.

Due to his basic attacks, I’d suggest you prepare your hands before starting the game. Bandit’s ability, Smokebomb, makes him invisible for 3 seconds, allowing you to reposition yourself.  As for the Dynamite Toss, the Bandit throws an explosive that deals serious damage. Lastly, if you manage to get a kill using the Lights Out ability, all the countdowns reset. Use it to chain powerful attacks.

Pros

  • High damage
  • Can turn invisible
  • Can chain powerful combos

Cons

  • Will have to spam the attack button

Acrid

Acrid risk of rain returns tier list
Acrid utilizes Poison to deal high damage. [Image by the Author]
The monster Acrid is loose, and it is filled with hunger for enemies. The character Acrid is a melee character that uses poison to take out enemies left and right. Use its Caustic Sludge to poison enemies. Then, they will be vulnerable to your attacks.

Festering Wounds is its basic attack, which deals extra poison damage on enemies. Using Neurotoxin, it poisons enemies and stuns them for 1 second. If you use Caustic Sludge on enemies, they will be poisoned and slowed. The poison deals damage to enemies. Lastly, the Epidemic ability deals 100% damage to enemies. It will spread to nearby enemies.

Pros

  • Deals extra Poison damage
  • Durable character

Cons

  • Relies on Poison building up

Mercenary

Mercenary
The Mercenary is the perfect character for Shinobi fans. [Image by the Author]
If you like the concept of Shinobi or Ninja, then you’d love the Mercenary. Like a Shinobi, the Mercenary moves around a lot while using his Laser Sword to dish out damage to enemies. Making a chain of his abilities, you can keep moving around. That will make it harder for enemies to land a hit on you.

The Laser Sword, or basic attack, deals three slashes onto enemies at once. Whereas Whirlwind is more like an AoE. And if you want to move around, then you will have to master Blinding Assault ability. It allows you to chain 3 dashes as long as you land successful hits onto enemies. Lastly, the Eviscerate ability allows you to land shadow strikes on the nearest enemies while turning you invincible.

Pros

  • High mobility allows him to evade attacks
  • High single-target damage

Cons

  • Relatively Low damage

CHEF

chef
The CHEF is the perfect blend of cooking and killing. [Image by the Author]
The CHEF uses his cooking skills in the fight. He uses a variety of cooking skills, which make him a unique character. He has a slow early game, but once you get the hang of his abilities, he can be quite phenomenal to use.

His basic attacks are the Cleavers that act as boomerangs and come back to him.  As for the Sear ability, it blasts fire at enemies, dealing great damage. The Glaze ability will stun enemies while dealing low damage. He can enhance his abilities using the fourth ability, Second Helping. You can learn more about that in my dedicated guide on the CHEF in Risk of Rain Returns.

Pros

  • Can power-up all abilities
  • Good against weaker enemy hordes

Cons

  • Weak during early-game

B-Tier

B-Tier list Risk of Rain characters are niche or ones that aren’t as good. The niche characters are the Sniper and Drifter. Whereas I’d suggest that you should use other characters. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad, but just that I believe there are better characters available that you can use.

Commando

risk of rain returns tier list
The Commando is the Jack of all trades, but master of none. [Image by the Author]
Commando is the default character that is available from the start in Risk of Rain Returns. He doesn’t provide anything special to the table but still is a solid choice for players who want to try out a solid character to play with. The Commando is a jack-of-all-trades.

His basic attack is good enough, but if you have a line of enemies coming in front of you, you can use the ‘Full Metal Jacket’ ability, which penetrates through the enemies. Tactical Dive allows you to move through enemy hordes without taking any damage. While Suppressive Fire will quickly fire bullets at enemies.

Pros

  • Jack of all trades
  • Versatile character
  • Long-range attacks

Cons

  • The fourth ability is underwhelming

Engineer

Engineer
The Engineer uses his Turrets and Drones. [Image by the Author]
The Engineer is one interesting character in Risk of Rain Returns. He takes help from his devices while fighting hordes of enemies. You get to use Turrets and Mines to damage your enemies. I recommend first placing the Turrets and Mines and then starting the teleporter. That way, I am ready for hordes of enemies even before they come.

For his basic attack, he launches three grenades. The second ability is called Bounding Mine, where he drops mines that are triggered by enemies walking over them. If you’re facing flying enemies, use the Thermal Harpoons that target enemies. Lastly, he can place Auto-Turrets to deal damage to enemies in front of them.

Pros

  • Good against flying enemies
  • Can place Turrets to help clear enemies

Cons

  • Low basic attack damage

Sniper

Sniper
The Sniper is a niche character. [Image by the Author]
Risk of Rain Returns brings back the Sniper with high single-shot damage. You will have to get a perfect reload to deal bonus damage whenever you shoot using his sniper. Once you perfect that, enemies will drop down on the ground with single shots. His spotter enhances the accuracy, getting you that perfect headshot.

Although the basic attack is single-shot, as I’ve already mentioned, getting the perfect reload will give you bonus damage worth a ton. His Steady Aim ability recharges and deals up to 2000% damage in a single shot. The Military Training ability will take you away from enemies with style. Lastly, you can use your Spotter on bosses, which increases Crit chance by 100%.

Pros

  • High single-shot damage
  • Can one-shot most enemies

Cons

  • Worse against enemy crowds

Drifter

Drifter.
Drifter is the perfect team character. [Image by the Author
The Drifter generates scrap that allows him to help his teammates. If you’re planning to play with friends, make sure that one of you uses and master Drifter. That is because his abilities can help make the game a lot easier.

His basic attack is a 3-chain attack that generates scrap on each hit. Whereas with the second ability, he will take some exploding scrap out of his bag to enemies. The Suffocate ability will deal serious damage to enemies and stun them. Lastly, the fourth ability will spawn 4 temporary items to help in fights.

Pros

  • Best support character
  • Provides temporary powerup during fights

Cons

  • Requires scaling up

C-Tier

I believe that the C-Tier list character Artificer isn’t suitable for now. There might be some updates in the future that make her powerful, but until then, unless you’re a die-hard fan of Artificer, I’d recommend that you choose some other character.

Artificer

Artificer risk of rain returns tier list.
Artificer is quite weak. [Image by the Author]
The powerful Artificer from Risk of Rain 2 returns to Risk of Rain Returns. But now the Artificer isn’t as powerful as you’d expect it to be. It has weak bases that don’t deal as much damage as expected.

You will have to rely on other abilities to deal damage, but even they aren’t as exceptional. The Charged Nanobomb ability requires you to charge up and then launch a bomb, dealing up to 600% damage. And the Frost Barrier ability creates a wall that blocks enemies from getting to you. Lastly, the special ability,  Flamethrower, will have you burn enemies in front of you.

Pros

  • Inflicts burn damage
  • Creates barriers to stop enemies

Cons

  • Weak basic attacks
  • Doesn’t scale up even at later stages

My Thoughts

While preparing the Risk of Rain Returns Tier List, I tried to rank the characters based on how easy they are to use. Sure, the Sniper can deal up to 2000% damage, but for most players, he is hard to use. You have to get that ‘perfect’ reload to ensure that you’re using the Sniper to its full potential.

Apart from that, there are some interesting characters, even in the lower tier. Again, I’d suggest that you should stay away from Artificer for now. She is great on her own, but there are much better characters that can have much higher potential.

While you’re reading the Tier list, consider checking out Risk of Rain Returns Bitter Root. If you can’t find the best items, check out the Risk of Rain Returns Artifact of Command, as it makes getting required items easy. You can check out our RIsk of Rain 2 Tier List, which contains some valuable information.

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Roaim is a Guides Writer at eXputer. He is an avid fan of RPG titles and fighting games. Roaim's love for games, which has been running strong for 15+ years, led him to write about them through detailed, top-notch guides. His gaming expertise is further solidified by his game time of 3,000+ hours on Monster Hunter: World. Apart from that, you can also find him dominating players on Tekken! You can follow Roaim's gaming activities on his Steam profile.

Experience: 1+ Years || Mainly Covers Guides On eXputer || Education: Bachelor's in Computer Science.

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