Darkest Dungeon: Hellion - Skill Guide

Updated on February 16, 2016

Darkest Dungeon is a pretty tough game the first time you jump into it. Characters will die, you'll struggle to keep your party sane, and it can be overwhelming at first glance to choose who to take on your next quest.

These guides are designed to help with that. Each instalment focuses on a character class, discusses each of their skills, and gives you a general build or two to try out.

Note these aren't intended to be “perfect”, optimum guides but more of a roadmap for the newer player who wants some help getting their head around things. Please leave a comment if you feel anything has been left out so that we can all benefit from it.

It's also worth noting that Darkest Dungeon has undergone repeated alterations and tweaks to class skills as it has been developed. Therefore, whilst these guides will strive to be as accurate as possible, by the time you are reading them, all of the information may not be 100% correct, so always double check with your game in case skill properties have been altered in some way.


Medium HP, medium speed, good dodge and all-out attacking. That's the core of the Hellion character in Darkest Dungeon. More than any other character in the game, she wants to be in the front rank, right up in the enemy's face, ready to deal damage. In terms of game design, she's comparable to the Beserker class from many RPGs like Final Fantasy; capable of tons of damage but being vulnerable to a counterattack.

Thankfully, she has the tools to do that too, the twist with the Hellion class is that, along with very high damage output, many of her attacks are overpowered, not in a game-breaking sense but in that many possess positive damage modifiers and allow her to do more damage in one turn that most of the cast simply aren't capable of.

The downside to this is that many of her skills come with crippling debuffs, meaning, if the enemy isn't dead soon after, the Hellion quickly finds herself on the back foot.


Wicked Hack
Position: 1st or 2nd rank
Target: 1st or 2nd rank

A regular attack that there's not much to say about other than this should always be equipped to your Hellion. With her great damage-dealing potential this gives her good control of the first two opposing ranks. It also has quite a decent base critical hit bonus that only gets higher as the skill is upgraded.

Iron Swan
Position: 1st rank
Target: 4th rank

One of the big reasons that you want the Hellion at the front of your party. Unlike many other close combat units, Iron Swan enables to hit the back rank of the enemy. This can be a major deal in many encounters. Typically, the Hellion will be able to wipe out that fourth rank attacker much faster than your long range support ever could, saving time and keeping the party safe.

That's the key point to remember with the Hellion. She's not as bulky as the Crusader or Man-at-Arms, but she makes up for that with her much more diverse attack ranges.

Barbaric YAWP!
Position: 1st or 2nd rank
Target: 1st and 2nd rank

The first of the Hellion's “super” moves, Barbaric YAWP! deals no damage, but inflicts stun on both of the two front rank opposing units. The downside is that the Hellion then suffers a significant -20% damage reduction debuff and a big drop in her dodge stat as well.

Normally, stun skills are something you want, however, the downside to this particular skill can in be too much to handle. Lowering your Hellion's attack power runs counter to everything she's good at doing, and, in many cases, she'd be better off simply hitting the enemy to remove them, rather than locking them in stun.

Bring along Crusaders and Man-at-Arms if you want front line stun-users. Leave the Hellion doing what she does best; hitting things.

If It Bleeds
Position: 1st, 2nd or 3rd rank
Target: 2nd or 3rd rank

If It Bleeds is a fantastic skill for the Hellion, not only is it a good bleeding skill, but, when taken alongside Iron Swan and Wicked Hack, the Hellion now has access to every enemy rank available, giving her tremendous flexibility when it comes to picking her targets, and not just saddled with hitting the front two ranks.

Needless to say, having a bleed skill also increases the characters versatility, something that the Hellion definitely needs. There will be instances where enemies will have high protection and the Hellion's attacks simply won't pack the required punch. If It Bleeds is great in this kind of situation, giving the character a new angle of attack.

As always, make upgrading this a priority, as doing so improves the damage over time effect.

Position: Any
Target: 1st, 2nd and 3rd rank

The second “super” move in the Hellion's arsenal. Overall, this is arguably better than Barbaric YAWP! The skill effectively works like the Crusader's Holy Lance, only, Breakthrough hits the front three opposing ranks simultaneously, along with moving the Hellion forward.

The best way to make use of Breakthrough is to use it as an insurance policy. As with the Crusader's Holy Lance, don't expect to use the skill all of the time, but instead, you can rest easy knowing if the Hellion is pushed out of that all-important front rank, she can use her turns effectively to push her way back into position.

Again, be careful how often you use this skill. As with all of the “super” moves the debuff is the same – meaning a hefty cut to the character's damage output and ability to defend herself.

Adrenaline Rush
Position: Any
Target: Self

The anti-debuff, Adrenaline Rush cancels out part of the debuff effect that the “super” moves inflict; boosting the character's damage by 20% and increasing her accuracy, her dodge, however, will remain unchanged.

If that was all the Adrenaline Rush did it would be a neat little move for those that rely on her debuff-causing moves often. However, the skill also cure blight and bleed effects and restores a minor bit of health.

All these little effects mean that Adrenaline Rush is a neat skill to have access to. The fact that the Hellion is able to cure damage over time effects on herself can potentially free up support units to help other characters. And, the resulting damage buff means that she has a stronger attack next turn, partly making up for the round where she didn't deal damage.

Bleed Out
Position: 1st rank
Target: 1st rank

A “super” bleed skill. Bleed Out starts with solid damage over time and even hits with a positive damage modifier (+15%). However, the skill still is incredibly limited simply because it can only hit the front rank. If It Bleeds allows you to hit two different ranks, and doesn't come saddled with a resulting debuff.

There's definitely potential here if you have a dedicated “mover” character like an Occultist or Bounty Hunter to keep pulling in the best target. Still, it's a lot of work just to have a slightly above average bleed skill when the Hellion has altogether much better options.

Sample Build

Here's a sample build for the Hellion that you can try:

- Wicked Hack
- Iron Swan
- If It Bleeds
- Adrenaline Rush

This is definitely what I'd call the “dependable Hellion” build, sacrificing her burst damage potential from all of those overpowered skills in order for her to have better staying power and more reliability.

Between Wicked Hack, Iron Swan and If It Bleeds you have a character that can control every rank of the opposing forces. Simply work out what's causing you the most trouble and point the Hellion at it, she'll have it covered.

Adrenaline Rush finishes off the build by giving the Hellion some independence with a self-healing ability. It'll never replace a dedicated healing skill, but curing damage over time effects is a great thing to have and will potentially be a life saver in protracted fights.

Overall, the Hellion is a very linear character; she's capable of doing one thing and doing it very, very well. Her attacking skills all give her a surprising amount of flexibility that very few other combat-oriented characters have in this game. She's a strong character to have around and sums up the term “a good offence is the best defence”.

© 2016 LudoLogic


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