Jeremy enjoys gaming when not working as a manager at the same college he graduated from.
"Darkest Dungeon" Review
Before we dive into the best classes, is Darkest Dungeon even worth your attention? Well, the production value of this bleak strategy game is modest, but the Gothic art style makes it a fittingly atmospheric adventure. You control parties of four characters as they travel through semi-random dungeons amassing treasure and combating various horrors.
You use this wealth to upgrade your manor's various facilities, gradually increasing your overall powers, but along the way, party members will fall, develop diseases, and accumulate stress—you'll have to make tough choices, as you probably won't have enough resources to save everybody. A personal favorite, I definitely recommend trying this engaging strategy title yourself, especially since its price has dropped to around $16! But with dozens of different recruits available, which warriors and skills reign supreme? These are the ten best classes in Darkest Dungeon!
10. Grave Robber
Recommended Skillset: Lunge, Shadow Fade, Thrown Dagger, Poison Darts
Remember that you can only equip four of your available skills at any time (you can change in-between battles), and most depend on you and/or your opponents being in certain positions. Thankfully, the Grave Robber is one of the most versatile characters in the game, able to attack from any distance and move around as needed.
The Robber's impressive Lunge and Shadow Fade attacks lets you deal damage and stun foes as you readjust your positioning, a useful defense when surprised by ambushes. Due to her mobility, she works best in parties where allies can rotate without losing access to their attacks, and she has a few respectable sniping tools as well. Throw in the game's best trap-disarming chance and you have an excellent and adaptable warrior.
Recommended Skillset: Open Vein, Grapeshot Blast, Tracking Shot, Pistol Shot
The Highwaymen is all about offense from any range. Whether he's using melee attacks with Wicked Slice, ranged techniques with Pistol Shot, or area-of-effect nukes with Grapeshot Blast, he can attack as many or as few enemies as needed from any distance.
His biggest weakness is that he lacks much beyond damage, meaning he can't heal allies or stun enemies (which buys time while others heal). His HP is also below average. However, a high base evasion makes up for it, as do several great Ccamping abilities, including "Clean Guns", which increases your accuracy, damage, and criticals with ranged weapons for four battles!
Recommended Skillset: Punish, Rain of Sorrows, Exsanguinate, Redeem
Exclusive to DLC players, the Flagellant revolves around the unique mechanic of actually taking injuries, growing in strength as he accumulates damage. Some of his best attacks (and the impressive Redeem heal) can only be used while his HP is below 50%, and he makes a great combatant against bosses.
While the Flagellant can't obtain virtues, the only affliction he'll ever receive is Rapturuous, and when he dies, he stuns all enemies (at 125% chance!) and heals all surviving party members by 10 HP, ensuring he doesn't go down without a fight. Dead party members can be revived in your graveyard, but this is expensive, so try not to activate your Flagellant's death ability unless absolutely needed. Do your best to keep him in melee range, as he can only perform most of his attacks from the first two positions in your four-man lineup
Recommended Skillset: N/A
The Abomination offers incredible power and versatility—for a price. He doesn't need to choose skills, as he constantly has access to all of his attacks However, some can only be used in his base human mode (which emphasizes support abilities and status effects like blight and stun), while others are only available when he transforms into beast form (emphasizing damage).
Transforming doesn't take up your turn's action, but it inflicts your other party members with stress, and Abomination himself gradually accumulates tension as he maintains his werewolf form. Thankfully, even his base human skills are surprisingly potent supports; use him without transforming against weaker enemies, and morph into werewolf form against bosses or other big threats.
6. Bounty Hunter
Recommended Skillset: Collect Bounty, Flashbang, Caltrops, Mark for Death
The Bounty Hunter has plenty of tools to deal with threats from any range, and he thrives in the mid positions of your group. He has multiple stun abilities and many of his moves can be used from not two but three positions, making him a good partner for Grave Robbers and useful even if the party is surprised or disorganized. He can also deal extra damage against marked or stunned foes, which he himself can set up with various debuffs.
The Bounty Hunter's biggest weaknesses are no healing and little in the way of crowd control, so make sure your team has other physicians and wide-range attackers. Still, he's an excellent unit against bosses and mini-bosses thanks to his camping skills, which grant him impressive buffs against large enemies (the ones who take up multiple positions at once).
Recommended Skillset: Sacrificial Stab, Abyssal Artillery, Wyrd Reconstruction, Hands from the Abyss
The Occultist is a ranged support unit, able to hex enemies with a variety of status effects. That said, his Sacrificial Stab melee attack has good critical chance and deals extra damage against Eldritch foes, do don't be afraid to have him attack when necessary.
Perhaps the Occultist's most remarkable trait is his Wyrd Reconstruction heal. At base level, it heals between 0-13 damage, making it either worthless or amazing, and it has a chance to inflict bleed on its recipient. However, you can decrease the already-low bleed chance by equipping accessories that raise bleed resistance, and the fact that you can use it from any range helps if your party gets shuffled or surprised. Risky, but usually working in your favor, especially since many hero skills can heal bleed.
4. Plague Doctor
Recommended Skillset: Plague Grenade, Blinding Gas, Incision, Battlefield Medicine
The Plague Doctor works best from range; I prefer having him in the third party slot, close enough for his Incision melee attack (which inflicts bleed) but distant enough for his impressive supports. These include Plague Grenade and Blinding Gas, which deal little damage but respectively inflict blight and stun on the two enemies furthest away.
Thus, the Plague Doctor is excellent in battles where you face a full assortment of four enemies, letting you delay distant enemies as your melee units deal with the close ones. Battlefield Medicine is a weak heal, only recovering one life at base, but it also removes blight and bleeding, skillfully tending to afflicted allies.
Recommended Skillset: Chop, Hew, Solemnity, Withstand
The Leper is rather slow and inaccurate, generally acting last and sometimes missing with his strikes. He's also prone to surprise attacks, as his melee moves depend on being within your first two slots. However, he wields the highest attack and HP stats in the game, making him a powerhouse who dishes out hits as well as he takes them.
He's also rather independent, capable of granting protection (which reduces incoming damage) and resistance against statuses with Withstand, or healing both injuries and stress with Solemnity. These abilities only work on himself, but mean you can usually save your heals for other allies, and when you're ready to strike, the Leper's punishing blows will quickly decimate foes—when they land. Keep your torch levels high to increase your chances of surprising foes, letting the Leper act before them despite his low speed.
Recommended Skillset: Hound's Rush, Hound's Harry, Blackjack, Lick Wounds
The Houndmaster can do a little of everything, and he's surprisingly adept at it. His single-target Hound's Rush deals nice damage while inflicting bleed, while Hound's Harry hits all foes (for minor damage) while also inducing bleed. Lick Wounds can only impact himself, but it's an effective heal that recovers large amounts of life even at base level.
On top of that, Blackjack can stun foes, Guard Dog can take hits for an ally (while boosting your dodge) and Target Whistle both marks an enemy and reduces their protection. Throw in some of the best camp skills in the game (great at reducing party stress and preventing nighttime ambushes), and you've got a fantastic warrior who works best in your second slot, especially in the Weald and Warrens areas, where enemies are prone to bleeding.
Recommended Skillset: Judgment, Dazzling Light, Divine Grace, Divine Comfort
An amazing support unit, the Vestal has a few interesting melee attacks, but generally works best at the very back of your party. From there, she can either rejuvenate your entire team with Divine Comfort, or direct stronger heals to an individual troop with Divine Grace.
She also brandishes one of the best attacks in the game, Judgment, which simultaneously damages foes and recovers her life. On top of that, Dazzling Grace can stun any of the first three enemies while raising your torch level, stalling as you finish off their friends and recover life. If you're worried about ambushes, feel free to swap out one of your Vestal's heals with Hand of Light or Mace Bash, letting her attack even if shoved to the front.
"Darkest Dungeon" and DLC
If you're a gamer like me who hates having to spend extra money to obtain DLC content, look for the "Ancestral Edition" of Darkest Dungeon, which automatically arrives with plenty of DLC material, including the Crimson Court expansion.
As fun as the dungeon-exploring and battles of DD are, you'll be equally engaged with rebuilding your manor, a slow but steady process that gradually increases the prowess of your stress-reducing and weapon-upgrading facilities, all of which you'll have to do on a tight budget. Armed with today's knowledge, you're up for the task, but for now, as we eagerly await future Darkest Dungeon expansions, vote for your favorite class and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: How about the Hellion?
Answer: I very well may include her if I ever update the list. She's vulnerable if shifted to the back, but her powerful attacks and two-hit stun are certainly useful up front.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill