Forming your party in Darkest Dungeon 2 is the most important decision you'll make on every run. With new character classes joining some favorites from the original, you'll want to know what each hero brings to the table before you send them to their likely demise. Choosing the right party members could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

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Please bear in mind, the below information is based on the early access version of the game and that this content may be subject to check in the future.

Grave Robber

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The Grave Robber is a versatile utility hero who is best at ranged combat early in the adventure, but she can learn some melee skills down the road as needed. Using her Poison Dart, she can deal damage over time which can be essential for wearing down tougher enemies so your heavy hitters can strike the killing blow. Her Flashing Daggers can finish off up to two weakened enemies at once, and once she learns Dead of Night she can clear out corpses and grant herself Stealth at the same time, which can be crucial for enemies like the Viscount.

If she needs to recover HP, she can take a sip of Absinthe to heal and gain Dodge at the same time! If you prefer your Grave Robber to mix it up in melee, she can lunge to the front, follow up with Pirouette on her next turn to potentially daze the front two enemies, then Shadow Fade back to the rear of the party and enter Stealth.

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While in Stealh, an experience Grave Robber could use Repartee to gain Dodge and Taunt her enemies, forcing them to make attacks against her which will likely miss. To top it all off, she is fairly resistant to debuffs, but you should still watch out for damage-over-time effects - especially disease, which the Grave Robber is susceptible to thanks to her unsanitary line of work.

Related: Darkest Dungeon 2: Getting Started

Plague Doctor

Darkest Dungeon 2 Plague Doctor

Common RPG wisdom says to always bring a healer, and the masked Plague Doctor is the woman for the job in Darkest Dungeon 2 - she even has some tricks that only the pros know about. She'll want to stay at the back of the party where she can lob her Noxious Blasts and Blinding Gases safely. If you're facing enemies that use Burn, Bleed or Blight, her first action should be Ounce of Prevention, which will increase the entire party's resistance to those status effects. As an added bonus, if she's mastered the skill she will also reduce the party's stress.

The Plague Doctor's main healing ability, Battlefield Medicine, can only be used if a party member is suffering a damage-over-time effect or if they have less than half of their hit points remaining. These conditions will be met more often than you'd like, so be aware that the doc can only use this skill three times per battle. The upgraded version, Indiscriminate Science, still has a hit point requirement but heals based on the number of positive tokens the target has.

As the Plague Doctor unlocks new abilities, she gains more buffs for her allies like Emboldening Vapors, which increases a single hero's Strength, as well as disrupting attacks like Disorienting Blast which causes an enemy to stagger to different positions in their lineup. An offensively-minded Plague Doctor can use Cause of Death to deal considerable damage to an enemy that is suffering Bleed, Blight, or Burn. If caught in the open, the Plague Doctor can use Incision to make a melee attack and inflict Bleed from anywhere but the very back of the party. The Plague Doctor is especially resistant to Blight and Disease, but is easily stunned or moved.

Related: Darkest Dungeon 2: How to Make an Overpowered Plague Doctor

Highwayman

Art of the Highwayman from Darkest Dungeon 2

The Highwayman is a versatile damage dealer. He's able to hold his own in melee but he shines at mid-range where he can bring his devastating pistol to bear. His Take Aim and Tracking Shot skills, which are available from the start, allow him to make sure he and his allies can hit slippery foes. When the time comes to attack, the Highwayman can use Duelist's Advance to move towards the front and activate a Riposte, allowing him to strike back at enemies that attack him.

As he gains new skills, he can use Point-Blank Shot to damage the frontmost enemy, then fade back to the second row where he's more comfortable. If an enemy has lots of positive tokens such as Dodge activated, the Highwayman can remove them with Highway Robbery. If you want your Highwayman to stay at range and fire his pistol, be sure to give him Grapeshot Blast which targets the two front enemies.

If you prefer a melee build, Double Cross gives the Highwayman Guard and applies Vulnerable to the target, increasing the damage it takes from the next hit by 50%. Once the Highwayman learns Open Vein, you can safely swap it for Wicked Slice since it does the same thing but applies Bleed (albeit with a two-turn cooldown). The Highwayman is resistant to Bleed and Move effects, but is susceptible to Debuffs.

Related: Darkest Dungeon 2: How to Make an Overpowered Highwayman

Man at Arms

Darkest Dungeon 2 Man At Arms

The Man at Arms is your party's defensive powerhouse. His job is to keep the other heroes alive by giving them defensive buffs and taking the brunt of the enemy's attack himself. His Bolster and Defender skills both give him Block, which halves the damage from the next incoming attack; Bolster also removes Vulnerable from teammates, while Defender allows the Man at Arms to take hits meant for a chosen ally. Since smart enemies will try to push the Man at Arms to the rear, having Hold the Line available allows him to return to the front rank, damaging the frontmost enemy as he does so. Alternately, he can use Rampart to move forward one position while damaging and Dazing and enemy, who is also knocked back.

As his story progresses, the Man at Arms can Bellow, clearing any enemy Riposts and reducing all of their Speed stats by 3. With Retribution, the Man at Arms Taunts the enemy and sets up a Riposte of his own. Follow this up with Stand Fast, and your Man at Arms will also gain two stacks of Block, making him a fearsome tank! If the battle is winding down, the Man at Arms can use Courageous Abandon to shed those Block and Guarded tokens in return for dealing a mighty blow to the frontmost enemy. Be warned, however, that doing so makes the Man at Arms Vulnerable.

Command is great in combination with a damage-dealing hero, as it can boost their Strength and remove Blind if need be. Alternately, he can use Strategic Withdrawal to move back one rank, potentially setting up a Combo depending on who takes his place at the front. The ultimate tough guy, the Man at Arms has a massive 50 percent Stun resistance, and is tough to move as well. Watch out for enemies that can apply Debuffs though, as they can easily sap the hero's stats.

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Hellion

The blood-soaked Hellion returns from the original game for more carnage, able to deal damage effectively from almost anywhere in the lineup. Like most melee Heroes, she can chop up enemies in the front with her Wicked Hack, but her Iron Swan ability targets the rearmost foe, making it great for clearing out squishy support units. From the middle ranks, the Hellion can use If It Bleeds to damage and apply Bleed to enemies who are also in the middle.

Since the Hellion's abilities are so position-oriented, her Toe to Toe skill moves her forward one rank then Immobilizes her, preventing unwanted movement. Once she is up front, the Hellion's Barbaric YAWP! will reduce the damage from the front two enemies' next attacks by half, and remove Stealth from them if they have it. Use of this skill can save lives during boss encounters.

Once she's been on a few adventures, the Hellion gains some great options. Breakthrough allows her to move forward one rank and deal damage to the first three enemy positions. Once she is at the front she can deal large amounts of damage with Bleed Out. If she gets below one-third of her hit points the Hellion can use Raucous Revelry to heal and reduce stress. Howling End is a very powerful attack that ignores an enemy's Block and has a high crit chance.

Be sure to note that many of the Hellion's abilities cause her to become Winded, reducing her speed and damage until the end of the fight. Bloodlust and Adrenaline Rush are both useful for getting rid of that pesky condition. Being a pure damage dealer, the Hellion isn't particularly resistant to any status effects, and can be easily moved when she isn't Immobilized. She also has trouble resisting Debuffs and Disease.

Runaway

Darkest-Dungeon-Runaway

The Runaway is new to Darkest Dungeon 2. An agile fighter with a penchant for setting fires, she can pump out lots of damage over time. Even her basic melee attack, Searing Strike, applies Burn to the target. From the rear, her Firefly skill allows her to damage and Burn enemies in the back ranks. If everyone is already on fire, the Runaway can cause more havoc with Smokescreen, applying Blind to an enemy and giving it a 50 percent miss chance.

If things get dicey, the Runaway can, well, run away with Run and Hide, moving back one rank and gaining Stealth. She can also remove an enemy's Stealth with Hearthlight regardless of where she is in the lineup. After gaining some experience, the Runaway can position the battlefield to her liking with Ransack, moving herself and an enemy one rank forward. If you're facing enemies that inflict Bleed, Cauterize removes the effect with no cooldown up to three times per battle.

If you just want to set things on fire, Controlled Burn allows the Runaway to apply Burn to an enemy regardless of any effects like Dodge, Stealth or Blind while Firestarter allows another hero to apply Burn with their own attacks. If you want to spread the flames, Backdraft forces an enemy to "share" Burn with the enemy in front of it - the remaining turns that the effect would remain in place are divided between the two. Dragonfly attacks and potentially Burns the frontmost two enemies, and moves the Runaway back one rank. Unsurprisingly, the Runaway is herself resistant to Burn, and is also a little tougher to move than most. She is easily Debuffed or Diseased, however.

Jester

Darkest Dungeon Jester

A damage-dealing musician, the Jester buffs his allies and slays his enemies. His basic attack, Razor's Wit, moves him forward one rank and gives him Dodge, making it one of the stronger default moves in the game. Its polar opposite is Fade to Black, which moves the Jester back one rank and applies Blind to the target. Using the two in rapid succession can cause endless headaches for your foes. From the middle ranks, the Slice Off skill allows the Jester to inflict Bleed, or it can be replaced with Harvest later on, which targets two enemies for the same effect.

The Jester's songs allow him to reposition and buff his friends. Battle Ballad moves a fellow hero forward and gives them a 50 percent damage boost on their next attack. Conversely, Play Out moves an ally back and grants them Block to reduce incoming damage. If the Jester needs to be at the front, Solo rushes him straight there, granting him one stack of Speed and two stacks of Dodge. Set up a combo after this, and the Jester's Finale will deal a guaranteed 100% damage before sending him to the back of the line Vulnerable and Dazed. While he's back there, he can use Encore to give a friend an additional action, though this will make him Dazed and Weak.

If you prefer to pull enemies out of position, Echoing March pulls an enemy forward one rank, then does it again on the target's next turn. Lastly, Inspiring Tune reduces the stress of the party, so if your heroes are having constant meltdowns you should consider bringing this clown along. The Jester is one of the few classes with a Debuff resistance, but he is easily moved and susceptible to Disease.

Related: Darkest Dungeon 2: How to Manage Stress

Leper

Used to being an outcast, the Leper is largely self-sufficient. He can handle himself, but also doesn't combo well with other heroes. His basic attack, Chop, can Blind the Leper when it is used, so it's a last-resort attack that needs to be followed up with Reflection to remove Blind and reduce stress. If you don't mind being blinded all the time, replace Chop with Hew as soon as possible, since it attacks two enemies instead of one, or Break which ignores Block; both attacks also risk Blinding the Leper. Purge is a much better melee option, pushing an enemy from the front all the way to the rear or (if it targets a corpse) clearing all enemy corpses.

Being used to suffering, the Leper can use Withstand to gain Taunt and two stacks of Block, as well as increased resistance to Burn, Bleed, Blight, and force movement. The Leper is also one of the few classes with a self-heal; Solemnity can be used if he is below one-third of his hit points, allowing him to both heal and recovers stress. If you're safe from harm and setting up for a big attack, Revenge increases by 50% the next damage the Leper deals and the next damage he takes.

When facing a strong opponent, the Leper's Intimidate grants him two stacks of Taunt and applies Weak to the target enemy. While he's Taunting his foes, it might be worth having the Leper use Ruin to gain a 20% damage boost every time he himself takes damage. Despite his frail frame, the Leper is decently resistant to forced movement, but if you need to be sure he stays put Bash will Immobilize him and deal a little bit of damage to an enemy. The Leper's disease-ravaged body is extremely susceptible to damage-over-time effects, so it's worth having options for dealing with those if they come up.

Occultist

The closest thing Darkest Dungeon 2 has to a spellcaster, the Occultist deals damage at range with eldritch magics he may not fully understand. He's at his best in the back ranks of your team, casting Abyssal Artillery to thin out the enemy's rearmost units. With Weakening Curse, he can reduce an enemy's attack by half. If allies still take damage after that, the Occultist can also heal his allies with Wyrd Reconstruction - at the risk of causing them to Bleed, that is. If he'd rather bring his opponents to the front for the tougher heroes to finish them, the Occultist can use Daemon's Pull to drag an enemy forward two positions or to clear corpses.

Once he has unlocked new skills, the Occultist becomes very dangerous. His Vulnerability Hex removes Dodge and applies Vulnerable and can be used on any target from any position. His other unlockable abilities all grant or require Unchecked Power, which power up the next skill the Occultist uses. Binding Shadows damages an enemy while moving the Occultist forward one rank. Malediction can be used from anywhere and while it does little damage it inflicts Bleed, Blight, or Burn at random. Chaotic Offering increases the damage of the next attack the Occultist makes by 15% but applies a random status effect, positive or negative.

Once he has two stacks of Unchecked Power, the Occultist can unleash either Anamesis, which inflicts Bleed on all enemies, or The Burning Stars which deals high damage with a high crit chance and ignores Block. To top it all off, the Occultist is highly resistant to Burn, Disease and Debuffs, though he is susceptible to Stun and to forced movement.

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