Common Items: S Tier
Soldier’s Syringe is another one of those deceptively strong late-game scaling items. Because it makes you attack faster, that also means that you are going to get more procs on your on-hit abilities. Enough Soldier’s Syringes and you will become a late game nightmare, literally tearing through bosses and mobs with the insane amount of procs from other items. Plus, this item scales additively and will always provide you with more and more attack speed without cap.
Tougher Times is one of the many items where the ingame description is completely wrong. Instead of a 15% (+15% per stack), Tougher Times actually has a logarithmic growth based on the equation of
- 1-(1/(0.15x+1)) = B
where x is the number of Tougher Times that you have. This means that you actually start with a block chance of 13% instead of 15%. Logarithmic growth is not multiplicative, so you may have heard it said that stacking Tougher Times is very inefficient. And this may be true to some degree. You will need 10 for 60% reduction, 50 for 88.23%, 100 for 93.75%, and 1000 for 99.34%. With this thought in mind, it might seem like stacking Tougher Times is a poor choice, since the percent increase significantly tapers off at high stacks.
This thought process is what I used to think as well but thanks to some new information and some reconsidering I found that there is another mindset for considering block chance and survivability.
In comes this equation
where B is the block chance and H is the average number of hits the enemy must make to land a successful hit. Since both equations are logarithmic, if we do some math and plug in one equation into another, we get
- 0.15x+1 = H
From this new equation, we could interpret Tougher Times as a linear scaling in which each additional Tougher Times increases the amount of hits on average necessary to take damage. This means that high stacks of Tougher Times actually are very good, especially against blazing enemies who deal damage in many ticks. The more Tougher Times you have, the more likely you are to block a tick of fire damage and the more likely you are to survive. You WILL still die to a one shot, however, so play carefully.
Author’s Note: I would like to thank Blank from the official Risk of Rain 2 Discord’s theorycraft channel for beginning the discussion about block chance and survivability.
Gasoline is an amazing AOE bonus for all classes. The burn is a very high value damage source at high stacks and the AOE range scales extremely well for a common item. The biggest issue with this item is the fact that it does not directly increase damage output right off the bat. Instead, the player needs to take down an enemy before this effect can snowball. I’d recommend focusing on some basic DPS boosting items (Lens-Maker’s Glasses, Soldier’s Syringe, Tri-Tip Dagger) to begin with before investing into Gasoline to carry against the late game swarms.
I just cannot express just how strong sticky bombs are in Risk of Rain 2. Sticky Bombs scale exponentially when stacked up to 39 (then they scale linearly afterwards). This because each stack of Sticky Bomb not only increases the damage of the bomb, but also increase the application chance of the bomb. Sticky Bomb is excellent for adding AOE damage onto classes without good AOE to begin with (notably Commando), and it’s just absurd what a large stack of sticky bombs does for the damage output of any class. All in all, sticky bombs should be a go to option whenever found.
Common Items: A Tier
Lens-Maker’s Glasses is the necessary enabler for a large amount of builds in the game. Because it is one of the two items in the game directly modifying crit chance, it is exceedingly powerful for all characters. These glasses will literally double your damage output when stacked enough and they will allow you to utilize other items such as Beserker’s Instincts and Harvester’s Scythe. Make sure to pick up as many as you can early. Despite all the positives, the biggest issue with the Lens-Maker’s Glasses (also why it earns A Tier in the tier list) is that it can only stack up to 10 (100% crit chance). This makes an additional stack’s benefits go from all to none. If you do find a 3D printer for one of these bad boys, I’d make around 6 or 7. That seems to be a good place to stop at.
Paul’s Goat Hoof
Paul’s Goat Hoof is one of those items that provide a practically unnoticeable change at small stacks which grow into crazy bounce into skybox fast speed as the stack grows larger. This item can and will save your life during combat. Especially during late game, where the immediate danger of a Blazing Stone Titan can end your run, the extra movement speed can get you to cover fast. Because this speed is also available while walking, it can be useful for kiting enemies on classes that cannot attack while sprinting.
The Crowbar is a great item to pickup when burst damage is desired. It may seem like a poor pick for certain fast attacking low damage per hit classes such as Commando, but this is actually a misconception. Crowbar is crazy because it can set up deadly chain reactions on a single kill. A single Crowbar will amplify a will o’ the wisp explosion by 50%. Keep stacking and soon you will literally see every single add die with ease. Don’t forget your Crowbars, they are an excellent supporting tool for any class.
This item is similar to the Lens-Maker’s Glasses except it isn’t as strong and it has a lower max stack. Unlike crit, bleed doesn’t provide any synergies with other items. Despite this weakness, bleed is very good at what it does and can easily provide a significant boost to any character’s DPS. The Tri-Tip dagger stacks up to 7 so if you find a 3D printer, feel free to make 3 or 4.
One might think that the Energy Drink is a glorified Paul’s Goat Hoof (after all the Energy Drink only increases the movespeed of sprint), but that mindset is wrong. The boost that Energy Drink provides to sprinting speed is absolutely crazy. Compared to the +14% boost that Paul’s Goat Hoof grants to movement speed, a single Energy Drink provides a +30% boost to sprinting speed. That is over two goat hooves worth of speed! With enough Energy Drinks, your sprint will be fast enough to quickly reposition in fights. This item is necessary for certain classes to function properly and is very welcome on all others.
Backup Magazines are great for one purpose: reducing cooldowns on the extremely powerful abilities of some classes (Laser Glaive, Whirlwind). Because of the extra charge that can be stored, these classes will have an extra use of their secondary skill while preforming their combos. An extra secondary skill could mean an extreme increase in burst DPS which is especially important when entering into a fight. Backup Magazine is a necessity on a variety of classes, but scales poorly when stacked high and is not very useful on Engineer.
Armor Piercing Rounds
Armor piercing rounds is one of those items that increase your damage against a specific type of enemy. By limiting the bonus damage to teleporter bosses only, Armor Piercing Rounds creates a unique case for itself where having a few is very strong but having too many makes you extremely weak. It’s important to find a balance where you can comfortably handle adds and be able to nuke bosses.
Common Items: B Tier
While healing is necessary to survive difficult fights, I find the Rapid Slug to be relatively lackluster as a consistent late game healing option. It’s mostly good for healing when traveling (or running) away from a fight, and it can be very impactful healing item in the early game. At high stacks the health regeneration is like a shield and your health comes back extremely quickly. Is it worth it? not really, but it can’t hurt to have one of these.
Personal Shield Generator
The Personal Shield Generator gives you a measly 25 extra health worth of shield per stack. This bonus is actually very lackluster as you head into the mid-game where chip damage begins to do much more than 25 damage. It can be good for early game survivability, but don’t get too invested into the shield; it’s much better to sustain off healing and lifesteal.
This item can be a lifesaver but its effect is mediocre at best. Because the ability to stun is limited to smaller monsters and not bosses, this item unfortunately does not fare well at any stage of the game. Small stacks can be taken in high attack speed builds to interrupt smaller adds during boss fights, but this item isn’t anywhere as useful as a lot of other commons.
Bundle of Fireworks
Bundle of Fireworks is a fun item that actually provides a surprising amount of damage. If a teleporter spawns next to a Shrine of Chance, then the boss is in for quite the beating. The biggest and most apparent issue with this item, is the inconsistency as it is heavily dependent on items actually being within the vicinity of the teleporter. Also, it will only provide a one-time burst, which often isn’t enough to make a large enough impact late game (unless stacked to impractical, crazily high values).
The Rusted Lockbox is just too hard to see in some maps. I tend to only look for it in certain maps where it’s dull pattern stands out in stark contrast with the ground. This item is actually pretty good, it always ends up giving me its value back whenever I get it in a run. It really is up to player preference and if the player is familiar with finding these boxes.
Common Items: C Tier
For what it gives, Monster Tooth just isn’t worth it at all. The reason for its weakness revolves around three main points: its terrible scaling, the need to actually pick up the orb, and its requirement of killing a monster. Because it only gives 10 health per kill and +5 per stack, the Monster Tooth falls flat on expectations with high stacks. It hardly is enough healing to compare to the Foreign Fruit and Harvester’s Scythe. But this aspect of the Monster Tooth is the least of its troubles. The fact you actually have to run into the dead enemy’s carcass to collect the health can easily put you into a troubling situation. In fact, in a lot of circumstances, you won’t have the opportunity to suddenly change direction to collect the health. Additionally, it requires you to actually take down enemies to regain health, which can often be dangerous if you actually need the health. Many safe healing options exist, Monster Tooth is not one of them.
Medkit tends to be one of those items that I never pick up because of how quickly you outscale its effectiveness. The biggest issue with its healing is that it requires you to actually get hit. Now 10 health might be enough to carry you through the early game, but as soon as you hit mid-game the usefulness of this item disappears completely. Some may say that Medkit is a good option against chip damage, but the fact that the heal is delayed by 1.1 seconds can make this item pointless if you’re constantly getting pelted by small fire. Instead of healing an extra 10 health from getting hit, it’s a much more efficient strategy to block the hit entirely; blocking hits will scale as the difficulty increases and hits are more likely to one shot. This is why Tougher Times is in S tier, while Medkit is in C tier.
Common Items: Situational
Bustling Fungus is a good pick for any class who will need healing (hint hint: all of them). Because this item heals you to full quickly, it’s an excellent item for boss fights (when you get low run to a safe place to heal). Later on, this item wouldn’t scale well as hermit crabs begin to be able to pelt you from far and their combined damage is no joke. If not for the existence of engineer synergy, I would give this item a B-Tier. This item, however, is absolutely godlike on Engineer. It’s an absolute staple in any engineer build since engineer can obtain the healing from his turrets and enable his turrets to sustain themselves in battle. It really is the dream item for Engineer.
Although most would consider Warbanner as a trash tier item because of the infrequency and inconsistency of level-ups, I would consider it a situational pick for a few reasons:
- Staying inside the Warbanner field provides an immense boost to your attack and movement speed by +30%; this dramatic increase cannot be overlooked.
- There are some pretty significant uses for Warbanner in prismatic trial due to this attack speed buff; it will shave off a lot of time if used properly.
- I consider Warbanner to be one of the best “early game” survival items in the game due to how frequently they drop at early levels. It’s not hard to keep track of your exp bar to make sure it drops in the place you want either. Maybe that’s just from my experience of playing League of Legends though.
I will admit that Warbanners scale terribly into lategame and have absolutely no meaningful bonus when stacked, therefore it should remain a situational early game pick where all the commons have been abysmal and you’re just waiting for a 3D printer with something decent. The DPS buffs from the banner will help you stay relevant against a lot of bosses.