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When people talk about ideal perk builds, they often speak in the context of what’s best for their survival or for boosting their kill count, both of which are seemingly the overall prime objectives in pub games for the average player. But pugs tear up that script and rewrite the whole scenario based on points. So with that in mind, perhaps we should explore each perk in more detail.

But before we begin, this list is going to be a lengthy read, I shit you not! Plus, it’s going to get edits and additions when new perks are introduced or existing ones are buffed or nerfed. So if you’re more of a TL;DReader, I’m going to provide a quick list of top recommended perks plus honourable mentions for both survivors and killers. Don’t forget, that we’re talking about which perks are best for PUGs (points), not for pub games or general play. This is my way of saying that you’re going to see a few obvious choices, a few questionable choices and maybe a few surprising omissions too!

Top Survivor Perks

1. SELF CARE – In pugs, it’s your only reliable method of gaining Survival points besides escaping the map alive. Plus it gives you Altruism points via successful skill checks.

2. BOND – Can feed you with information better and more reliably in close-quarters action than speaking over Discord. Can also be used for fellow survivors, either to aid them, distract for them, take the heat off of them or even sandbag them!

3. WE’LL MAKE IT – It’s hard to say no to double healing speed, especially when it comes after landing hook rescues. This perk effectively screams out to its user to go for Altruism points galore!

4. SABOTEUR – This perk owes a huge debt to version 1.5 for being elevated so highly that it makes the top 4 of best Survivor perks to use in ranked PUGs. Thanks to being indirectly buffed by regenerative hooks, you now have far more options to farm Boldness points.

Honourable Mentions

LEADER – It encourages coop points, something that’s vitally important when working generators most of all, but can also work in Altruism, all of which saves you from having to do more work in the latter stages of pugs. It used to be

IRON WILL – A great survivor perk intended for shaking off killers, but it can cut off your supply of Boldness points, and all the killer needs to do is use Bloodhound and/or follow your blood trail.

PLUNDERER’S INSTINCT – Helps you find the chests and increases your odds of getting great items that could help you and your fellow survivors.

NO ONE LEFT BEHIND – Because pugs are all about the points, you can never underestimate this perk’s ability to get you to 8k Altruism points in the dying moments of a game. But it’s an honourable mention at best because it only activates when the exit gates power up, when there’s no guarantee that a game will reach that stage.

Top Killer Perks

1. BRUTAL STRENGTH – This really requires no explanation, except if you’re the Nurse maybe.

2. ENDURING – When time is oh so precious, it never hurts to make sure you complete the pallet-disrespect combo. Again, this concept might be lost on Nurse Sally. Lisa the Hag might also have reservations about using this due to not being keen on moving about much.

3. A NURSE’S CALLING – Survivors usually take a while to heal up if they’ve got Self Care. If they’re healing each other, then you’re spoilt for choice! An awesome perk for all killers.

4. AGITATION – Extra speed always helps, especially in something as time-sensitive as carrying survivors over your shoulder and transporting them to hooks. Another perk that’s excellent for all killers.

Honourable Mentions

DEERSTALKER – If it was one or the other, I would choose A Nurse’s Calling every time. But that doesn’t make Deerstalker any less of a great perk. Easily in the top 10 of all killer perks, maybe even top 5. This feeds you a little more handy info which can allow you more play and/or control over proceedings during pugs. It’s great for all killers, but I would use this for Nurse in place of either Brutal Strength or Enduring.

BLOODHOUND – This perk was always pretty good and underrated, but its relevance has gone up thanks to the surge in survivors using Iron Will. Some might think me mad for not including Whispers or another tracking perk instead, but that will be explained later in the list. I would definitely use this for my Nurse if I opted to use perks, instead of Brutal Strength or Enduring.

STRIDOR – I’m scratching my head as to why it took many players, especially well-known killer mains in the Twitch domain, to take a long time to see how good this perk actually is. Sure, it had a dip in performance when one of the past patches brought sound bugs along with it and Iron Will had a surge in popularity at one point, but this perk is for those who prefer something more specific and less vague than Whispers.

SHADOWBORN – I myself personally don’t care much at all for Shadowborn; the difference to me isn’t vast enough to merit using up a perk slot and I’m aware that it’s not as strong as it used to be in the past. But some killer players (especially Nurse mains) swear by it, so if it makes that much of a difference in their eyes, maybe it could make a difference for you too, seeing as it would take near-astronomical odds to find yourself pitted against survivors with multiple flashlights in pugs!

You might agree with some perks, you might scratch your head with others. Bear in mind, these are coming from a player who hasn’t used a single perk on a killer in 6 months at the time of writing this. So perhaps I’ve adjusted better than most when it comes to finding and tracking survivors without usual suspects such as Whispers for example. But pugs are a different story from playing pub games and so the perks mentioned are more for what’s going to help you get more points and boost your chances of reaching the top tier in the rankings.

Moving on, I will first list non-unique perks in an alphabetical and ascending order of their rarity (Green > Purple > Pink), followed by the unique perks of each character in ascending order of the levels (30 > 35 > 40) they appear on that specific character’s bloodweb. Pros and cons of each perk will be mentioned, and they will each be rated on a score of 5.

NON-UNIQUE SURVIVOR PERKS

LIGHTWEIGHT – This makes your scratch marks disappear 3 seconds sooner than default. If your intention is to shake off the killer then I suppose this is a good perk.

However, scratch marks (at least in the current version of the game) are bugged and not always reliable for the killer to track anyway (and good killers won’t solely rely on scratch marks to track their prey either). Therefore in some cases, ironically you might actually be doing the killer a favour by running Lightweight. Even if scratch marks weren’t bugged though, points are what matter most in pugs, so shaking off the killer means you’re putting a stop on the most effective flow of Boldness points. – SCORE: 3/5

PLUNDERER’S INSTINCT – If you’re a survivor who likes to make plays based on your loot, this is one of the perks you should pick. Auras of nearby chests plus an increased likelihood of finding better loot? That’s nothing to sniff at. This perk also has more relevance in pugs due to items and addons being disabled in lobbies.

However, increased chances do not automatically guarantee better items; you could still end up being disappointed with what you find. On top of which, the noise you make when searching through chests is louder than you realise: the killers can hear it from a distance that might surprise you. Unless you use that as a ploy to deliberately get chased for Boldness points, then not keeping your plundering instincts in check might get you in more trouble than you bargained for. – SCORE: 4/5

SLIPPERY MEAT – If you’re going for a kobe build, this is a must-have perk! While it might seem like more of a meme build, choosing perks for a kobe means you could get extra points in the Survival category which is the HARDEST category to max out, so it actually has some merit in ranked pugs where points are everything. It’s even more relevant if you’re going up against a Trapper and feel like you’re prone to stepping into traps often.

To say that this is a conditional perk is an understatement. While you may get a 5% increased chance of that kobe, it’s still a rather low 10% chance and you can only kobe once in a game. The percentage can increase but you would need another perk to combo together. And if you really want to boost your chances of getting 8k Sacrifice points, there are more reliable perk choices out there. Hell, what if you play a pug where you never get hooked (or trapped) even once?! – SCORE: 2.5/5

SMALL GAME – You get an audio alert if you’re looking in the direction of traps or totems. This serves a niche use of searching the map more thoroughly for hex totems.

The alert itself can be vague; you don’t know for certain whether it’s indicating a trap or a totem. It also has a cooldown period before it can detect more traps or totems. Also, hex totems in pugs? Really? Not a bright idea for killers to even contemplate. And as for the traps? Well the biggest issue this perk faces is that out of the entire killer roster, you have a 33% chance of this perk being somewhat relevant. If it’s not a Trapper or a Hag, that’s a wasted perk slot. – SCORE: 2/5

DEJA VU – Lets you know where ‘objectives’ are when you start the game. If you have difficulty finding them when you start the game, I guess this perk covers that niche.

But let’s be honest; it’s pretty easy to find ‘objectives’ when you know how to find them. And even if you struggle to do so, you’ve got communication via Discord for those times when you’re lost. – SCORE: 1/5

HOPE – A pretty solid perk actually. You get a speed buff for 2 minutes when the exit gates power up, and it’s exactly the same duration that NOED lasts for; you can act as the one with the stopwatch for the survivors in case you suspect the killer is indeed running NOED. Plus, the exit gates are the most likely time that (smart) killers aiming for points will probably try and get a kill or two, so extra speed for the sake of your own survival would not go amiss.

It’s a conditional perk that only activates when the exit gates power up though, which means if you’re in a game where it takes a long time for that to happen (or where it never happens at all!) then you’re essentially playing the game with just 3 perks instead of 4. What’s more, if a killer somehow senses that you are running Hope and they don’t fancy their chances of catching you up, they might switch targets which is great for your survival, but not so great if you’re lacking in Boldness points. – SCORE: 3.5/5

KINDRED – Shows all the survivors’ their auras plus that of the killer’s if he/she is within an 8m radius of the hooked victim who has the perk. It’s great for feeding extra precise information on everyone’s specific locations, and can thwart an unwitting Insidious camper.

It’s one of the better aura perks but again, it’s one of those perks that gets slightly negated by Discord; you could tell each other where you are and what you’re doing when someone is hooked (as well as tell them the same about the killer) without taking up a perk slot to do it. – SCORE: 3.5/5

NO ONE LEFT BEHIND – Now this is a good perk that pug players should consider more carefully! You get DOUBLE Altruism points (and a 12% speed boost in altruistic actions) when the exit gates are powered up, and there’s no time limit to it either. A single hook rescue will net you 3k points. A couple of hook rescues and heals on top of whatever you managed before the exit gates were powered up, is usually enough to take you to the max 8k limit!

As great as this perk is, don’t lose track of the fact that it is a conditional perk at the same time. There’s no guarantee that the game will reach the phase where the exit gates are powered up so you could be playing some pugs with 3 perks at most instead of 4. You may even rack up enough Altruism points during the course of the game (which you should always do when such opportunities present themselves) where NOLB won’t be of much use to you! – SCORE: 4/5

RESILIENCE – Imagine a Leader-esque buff for yourself when you’re injured and you’ve got an accurate picture of this perk.

The buff itself is not much to speak of, and being injured while working a generator with a killer nearby is usually ill-advised. From a logical perspective, running this perk almost requires Iron Will to combo with it. But that combo won’t solve the problem of you bleeding out either and allowing the killer to find your trail. – SCORE: 2.5/5

THIS IS NOT HAPPENING – Similar to Resilience, except skill check zones are bigger when you’re injured. This seems like a better choice simply because great skill checks are more probable, meaning more points.

But it’s a situational perk and one that like Resilience, almost requires Iron Will to really justify using it. It’s also not going to stop the blood trail you leave behind should the killer be on his/her way to check out the area. – SCORE: 3/5

WE’LL MAKE IT – Quite arguably the best of all the non-unique survivor perks. You get a hook rescue, then your healing speed is DOUBLED for the next 90 seconds! This is a perk that encourages you to go for the best spike in Altruism points you can get, and then allows you to ride a tsunami of super-fast altruism (and coop point) gains should there be many back rubs that need handing out. And as long as you get a hook rescue, this buff is not dependent on which stage the game is currently at. I almost forgot to mention that it can be great for sneaking in fast heals if the killer is running A Nurse’s Calling!

The only niggling minor cons are that the buff is temporary (which truthfully isn’t a problem if you get more than one hook rescue), faster healing can conversely mean less chance of skill checks (meaning fewer opportunities for more points) and that it doesn’t combine with Self Care, so you can’t exactly speed your own way back to full health. – SCORE: 4.5/5

DARK SENSE – Lets you know where the killer is when the exit gates are powered up, simple enough. It can be great for locating a cloaked Wraith, or even a killer who happens to be using Insidious.

But it’s far too situational at best, and can easily be negated by effective communication over Discord; it only takes one of you to be chased and let the others know where exactly the killer is. Also, if the exits aren’t even powered up by the time the game is finished, you just wasted a perk slot for nothing. – SCORE: 1/5

PREMONITION – Gives you an audio alert when you are looking in the general direction of the killer; the range on it is a few metres more than the default terror radius. This can also help detect killers with Insidious, a cloaked Wraith or even a Myers in tier II of Evil Within.

This is really considered a beginner’s perk; you use it in your survivor infancy maybe, but there comes a point where you’re experienced enough at the game that you no longer feel the need for it. Premonition is very much one of those perks and ultimately does not justify taking up a perk slot. Besides, it won’t help you against a Myers in tier I of Evil Within! – SCORE: 3.5/5

SPINE CHILL – Like Premonition, except it alerts you (not with audio) to the fact that the killer is looking in your direction instead. You also get a slight speed buff for doing work while the perk is activated.

I’m surprised that people even vouch for this perk. You’re notified that a killer is looking in your direction almost within terror radius-distance. So you then get a slight speed buff for manual work, but also get penalised with increased odds of skill checks occurring plus smaller skill check zones? Eh? This perk is clearly intended for people who think that working a generator while the killer is heading straight towards them seems like a great idea. Tip: fuck no. Premonition is the better of the two perks when it comes to being notified that the killer is en-route and you want to steer clear. – SCORE: 2.5/5

UNIQUE SURVIVOR PERKS

BOND – One of the best survivor perks in the game. Being able to see the auras of your ‘allies’ within a 36m radius is so beneficial. If can feed you with such pivotal information such as an injured survivor, or someone being chased by the killer. When in your Bond radius, things can change and/or unfold so fast that there might not even be enough time for others to effectively communicate exactly what is happening, which is what makes Bond unique as far as aura perks go: it’s so effective that not even Discord can truly negate it.

I am trying to think of cons for Bond but with the unfair exception of criticising it for not showing the killer’s aura too, I cannot think of one disadvantage or loophole that can prove to be detrimental to any survivor who uses this perk. – SCORE: 5/5

PROVE THYSELF – So you need 3 survivors within your immediate vicinity, just so you can enjoy the same speed buff in manual labour as Resilience. Riiiiight….

The hilarious con of this perk is that when you compare it to it’s more altruistic counterpart Leader, you need 3x as many survivors around you just to make it equally as effective as one survivor buffed by Leader. Oh, and let’s not also forget that when we’re talking about buffing things like repair speed, there are inevitably going to be diminishing returns because that’s just how the maths work in mechanics such as these. If you’re working a generator with just one other survivor, I hope you feel good about ‘proving thyself’ with the diminished returns on that 3% buff. Unless you’re going for the ultimate Dwight meme build, please stop proving thyself. – SCORE: 2/5

LEADER – Now that’s more like it! Even if you have just one survivor close to you, at least they’ll get a 9% buff instead of you getting a measly 3%. What’s more, I’ve also noticed that the Leader icon flashing on survivors’ HUDs is a great incentive for them to join in on what you’re doing so if that happens to be a generator, you’re crucially accumulating coop points for the Objective category: a very highly recommended survivor strategy in pugs as far as points go!

Even though the perk gets better as more people join in, 9% is still a little low and while the perk can make a slight difference, some would argue that it’s nowhere near substantial enough, especially in much quicker actions such as healing where other perks yield greater bonuses. – SCORE: 4/5

QUICK & QUIET – This is a pretty decent perk if you know how to use it properly. You can confuse a killer given the right circumstances.

But it’s a very situational perk, and a smart killer will realise that you’re using the perk despite how rare it appears. If you vault over a window in plain sight of the killer, he/she will notice if no visual or auditory clue was made, at which point the surprise of the perk is lost. And again, while the intention of the perk is to shake off the killer, is that what you really want to do when being chased gives you a steady stream of Boldness points? – SCORE: 3.5/5

SPRINT BURST – Do I even need to explain this perk? It helps you sprint away from the killer and create a bit more breathing space; something very useful in pubs. Wait a second, why pubs but not pugs?

Well SB is one of those odd perks where its popularity actually works against its users. Imagine that 3 or all 4 survivors in a pug used SB and the killer had a hard time landing a hit on top of all the pallet-looping, jungle gyms, etc. If the killer has any sense, they’ll try and target someone else, but oh no wait, the other survivors have SB too! If you all try and be too evasive, people getting hit is less likely to happen and if nobody goes down, then there’s no hook rescues or substantial gains in Altruism points on the menu either. SB can be great for Boldness points in pugs, but can easily come at the cost of Altruism points too, creating something of an imbalance in survivor gains.

You can decide whether or not you want to be responsible for that. Not to mention that survivor players can easily become so dependent on SB that they forget how to play survivor without it, hence why it’s often regarded as a crutch perk. And since version 1.5, this perk has been indirectly nerfed in the form of the Exhaustion mechanic. – SCORE: 3.5/5

ADRENALINE – You can pick yourself up out of the dying state and have 5 seconds of Sprint Burst the moment the exit gates power up. It can be a life-saver if you’re in the middle of a sticky situation at that very moment. Even if you don’t need the heal, you’ll still get the speed boost. Think of this as more of a life insurance perk.

We are talking about one of the most situational perks ever though. It won’t activate until the exit gates power up (which might not happen) and if the killer has you either over their shoulder or on a hook, then you miss out on this perk completely. Two factors that people don’t consider even on the chance that it does activate: one, you may be in a situation where it wasn’t necessary at all and two, it only lasts for 5 seconds which means that the perk only functioned for less than 1% of the entire game’s duration, and the other 99% was played with 3 perks. – SCORE: 3.5/5

EMPATHY – For an aura perk, this shares close company with Bond for being excellent. If anyone is injured, you can see their aura no matter where they are on the map. In a pug, this is pinpointing people for you to score Altruism points from.

But unlike Bond, Empathy just about falls on the limit of being covered sufficiently enough by Discord. Even though you might not know the precise location, they can tell you over Discord. Also, just because someone is injured and you can see their aura, does not automatically mean you should always run towards them (maybe they’re too far away, or still in the middle of being chased by the killer). A fantastic perk, but serves more use in pub games than pugs, and it’s not as good an idea as you might think to equip this and Bond in the same build. – SCORE: 4/5

BOTANY KNOWLEDGE – You get a 20% increase in healing speed and a separate 20% buff whenever you use medkits. I might be mistaken, but I last heard that this perk also boosts Self Care. So it sounds like a sweet perk to have on the face of it.

This perk however does not hold a candle when compared to the boost in healing speed you can get from We’ll Make It, and some would argue that We’ll Make It is the more motivating perk for getting more points in pugs. Also, you can’t exactly begin a pug with a medkit in hand; it requires lady luck on your side when you loot your way through chests. And lastly, if it does indeed combo with Self Care, then you’re almost conscripted into taking that too in order to truly justify selecting this perk. – SCORE: 3.5/5

SELF CARE – Regarded as perhaps the best survivor perk in the game. You don’t need to depend on a medkit waiting in a chest; you can patch yourself up straight away. A curious quirk is that skill checks grant you Altruism points, yet the act of healing yourself gives you points in the rather tricky Survival category. So even though it’s seen as an amazing must-have perk in pubs, it’s still just as significant in pugs because of what it can do for your points. If you want to even have a realistic chance of breaking the 30k barrier as a survivor using perks, YOU MUST EQUIP SELF CARE!

The only downside to Self Care is its slow speed when you don’t have a medkit. However, this downside can be personally seen as a blessing in disguise for yourself during pugs. Slower healing means more chances for skill checks, which means more chances for Altruism points without requiring another survivor’s presence or assistance. But whether you see this more in the positive or negative, it doesn’t change anything. Sure, it’s seen as one of the few crutch survivor perks, and you can totally play survivor well enough without it. But if you want points without ditching your perks, then logic dictates that Self Care is a perk you simply cannot ignore! – SCORE: 5/5

IRON WILL – A perk that has shot up a lot in popularity recently. It means that once an injured survivor is out of sight, the killer can’t rely on the survivor’s mouth to pinpoint their exact location during a chase even if they’re using Stridor. So in tight situations, it’s incredibly effective for escaping a killer instead of being knocked down to the ground.

Despite how effective this perk is, all a killer has to do is pay attention to the blood trail you leave behind and that’s Iron Will made redundant. Sometimes the blood trail might go over a certain patch where it blends in and confuses the killer in thinking it stopped or dramatically changed course, but don’t count on this happening regularly. Don’t expect to shake off the killer if they’re using Bloodhound primarily to counter Iron Will either. And shaking off the killer successfully also means that you cut off your main supply of Boldness points rather abruptly. – SCORE: 4/5

CALM SPIRIT – A somewhat underrated perk, seeing as good killers will notice crows flying/landing from a distance away anyway. It allows you far more breathing space so you can move around maps faster without having to be as cautious. Also great for countering Spies From The Shadows.

However, this perk is not so foolproof. Despite saying you have a 100% chance of not alerting crows, stepping on a crow on the ground is enough to piss it off and make it fly away anyway. On a couple of occasions, even crows perched on rocks or objects have flown away despite having Calm Spirit equipped. For the most part, crows aren’t a huge issue in pugs. – SCORE: 3.5/5

SABOTEUR – This used to be a less-than-favourable perk but since 1.5, it’s become a really solid perk, thanks to regenerative hooks. Because of this one change, Saboteur’s rating has gone up. When hooks regenerate, you have free licence to score Boldness points without having to interact with the killer. If you can clear enough hooks in one or two areas, you may have breathing space to wiggle free from the killer’s grasp and score extra Survival points too.

The only downside is that sabotaging hooks requires quite a bit of time, which can be a good thing but also a bad thing too, depending on the situations. Yes, it adds another option to get more Boldness points but it’s nowhere near as fast as racking up those points while being chased. – SCORE: 4.5/5

UNIQUE SURVIVOR PERKS

BOND – One of the best survivor perks in the game. Being able to see the auras of your ‘allies’ within a 36m radius is so beneficial. If can feed you with such pivotal information such as an injured survivor, or someone being chased by the killer. When in your Bond radius, things can change and/or unfold so fast that there might not even be enough time for others to effectively communicate exactly what is happening, which is what makes Bond unique as far as aura perks go: it’s so effective that not even Discord can truly negate it.

I am trying to think of cons for Bond but with the unfair exception of criticising it for not showing the killer’s aura too, I cannot think of one disadvantage or loophole that can prove to be detrimental to any survivor who uses this perk. – SCORE: 5/5

PROVE THYSELF – So you need 3 survivors within your immediate vicinity, just so you can enjoy the same speed buff in manual labour as Resilience. Riiiiight….

The hilarious con of this perk is that when you compare it to it’s more altruistic counterpart Leader, you need 3x as many survivors around you just to make it equally as effective as one survivor buffed by Leader. Oh, and let’s not also forget that when we’re talking about buffing things like repair speed, there are inevitably going to be diminishing returns because that’s just how the maths work in mechanics such as these. If you’re working a generator with just one other survivor, I hope you feel good about ‘proving thyself’ with the diminished returns on that 3% buff. Unless you’re going for the ultimate Dwight meme build, please stop proving thyself. – SCORE: 2/5

LEADER – Now that’s more like it! Even if you have just one survivor close to you, at least they’ll get a 9% buff instead of you getting a measly 3%. What’s more, I’ve also noticed that the Leader icon flashing on survivors’ HUDs is a great incentive for them to join in on what you’re doing so if that happens to be a generator, you’re crucially accumulating coop points for the Objective category: a very highly recommended survivor strategy in pugs as far as points go!

Even though the perk gets better as more people join in, 9% is still a little low and while the perk can make a slight difference, some would argue that it’s nowhere near substantial enough, especially in much quicker actions such as healing where other perks yield greater bonuses. – SCORE: 4/5

QUICK & QUIET – This is a pretty decent perk if you know how to use it properly. You can confuse a killer given the right circumstances.

But it’s a very situational perk, and a smart killer will realise that you’re using the perk despite how rare it appears. If you vault over a window in plain sight of the killer, he/she will notice if no visual or auditory clue was made, at which point the surprise of the perk is lost. And again, while the intention of the perk is to shake off the killer, is that what you really want to do when being chased gives you a steady stream of Boldness points? – SCORE: 3.5/5

SPRINT BURST – Do I even need to explain this perk? It helps you sprint away from the killer and create a bit more breathing space; something very useful in pubs. Wait a second, why pubs but not pugs?

Well SB is one of those odd perks where its popularity actually works against its users. Imagine that 3 or all 4 survivors in a pug used SB and the killer had a hard time landing a hit on top of all the pallet-looping, jungle gyms, etc. If the killer has any sense, they’ll try and target someone else, but oh no wait, the other survivors have SB too! If you all try and be too evasive, people getting hit is less likely to happen and if nobody goes down, then there’s no hook rescues or substantial gains in Altruism points on the menu either. SB can be great for Boldness points in pugs, but can easily come at the cost of Altruism points too, creating something of an imbalance in survivor gains.

You can decide whether or not you want to be responsible for that. Not to mention that survivor players can easily become so dependent on SB that they forget how to play survivor without it, hence why it’s often regarded as a crutch perk. And since version 1.5, this perk has been indirectly nerfed in the form of the Exhaustion mechanic. – SCORE: 3.5/5

ADRENALINE – You can pick yourself up out of the dying state and have 5 seconds of Sprint Burst the moment the exit gates power up. It can be a life-saver if you’re in the middle of a sticky situation at that very moment. Even if you don’t need the heal, you’ll still get the speed boost. Think of this as more of a life insurance perk.

We are talking about one of the most situational perks ever though. It won’t activate until the exit gates power up (which might not happen) and if the killer has you either over their shoulder or on a hook, then you miss out on this perk completely. Two factors that people don’t consider even on the chance that it does activate: one, you may be in a situation where it wasn’t necessary at all and two, it only lasts for 5 seconds which means that the perk only functioned for less than 1% of the entire game’s duration, and the other 99% was played with 3 perks. – SCORE: 3.5/5

EMPATHY – For an aura perk, this shares close company with Bond for being excellent. If anyone is injured, you can see their aura no matter where they are on the map. In a pug, this is pinpointing people for you to score Altruism points from.

But unlike Bond, Empathy just about falls on the limit of being covered sufficiently enough by Discord. Even though you might not know the precise location, they can tell you over Discord. Also, just because someone is injured and you can see their aura, does not automatically mean you should always run towards them (maybe they’re too far away, or still in the middle of being chased by the killer). A fantastic perk, but serves more use in pub games than pugs, and it’s not as good an idea as you might think to equip this and Bond in the same build. – SCORE: 4/5

BOTANY KNOWLEDGE – You get a 20% increase in healing speed and a separate 20% buff whenever you use medkits. I might be mistaken, but I last heard that this perk also boosts Self Care. So it sounds like a sweet perk to have on the face of it.

This perk however does not hold a candle when compared to the boost in healing speed you can get from We’ll Make It, and some would argue that We’ll Make It is the more motivating perk for getting more points in pugs. Also, you can’t exactly begin a pug with a medkit in hand; it requires lady luck on your side when you loot your way through chests. And lastly, if it does indeed combo with Self Care, then you’re almost conscripted into taking that too in order to truly justify selecting this perk. – SCORE: 3.5/5

SELF CARE – Regarded as perhaps the best survivor perk in the game. You don’t need to depend on a medkit waiting in a chest; you can patch yourself up straight away. A curious quirk is that skill checks grant you Altruism points, yet the act of healing yourself gives you points in the rather tricky Survival category. So even though it’s seen as an amazing must-have perk in pubs, it’s still just as significant in pugs because of what it can do for your points. If you want to even have a realistic chance of breaking the 30k barrier as a survivor using perks, YOU MUST EQUIP SELF CARE!

The only downside to Self Care is its slow speed when you don’t have a medkit. However, this downside can be personally seen as a blessing in disguise for yourself during pugs. Slower healing means more chances for skill checks, which means more chances for Altruism points without requiring another survivor’s presence or assistance. But whether you see this more in the positive or negative, it doesn’t change anything. Sure, it’s seen as one of the few crutch survivor perks, and you can totally play survivor well enough without it. But if you want points without ditching your perks, then logic dictates that Self Care is a perk you simply cannot ignore! – SCORE: 5/5

IRON WILL – A perk that has shot up a lot in popularity recently. It means that once an injured survivor is out of sight, the killer can’t rely on the survivor’s mouth to pinpoint their exact location during a chase even if they’re using Stridor. So in tight situations, it’s incredibly effective for escaping a killer instead of being knocked down to the ground.

Despite how effective this perk is, all a killer has to do is pay attention to the blood trail you leave behind and that’s Iron Will made redundant. Sometimes the blood trail might go over a certain patch where it blends in and confuses the killer in thinking it stopped or dramatically changed course, but don’t count on this happening regularly. Don’t expect to shake off the killer if they’re using Bloodhound primarily to counter Iron Will either. And shaking off the killer successfully also means that you cut off your main supply of Boldness points rather abruptly. – SCORE: 4/5

CALM SPIRIT – A somewhat underrated perk, seeing as good killers will notice crows flying/landing from a distance away anyway. It allows you far more breathing space so you can move around maps faster without having to be as cautious. Also great for countering Spies From The Shadows.

However, this perk is not so foolproof. Despite saying you have a 100% chance of not alerting crows, stepping on a crow on the ground is enough to piss it off and make it fly away anyway. On a couple of occasions, even crows perched on rocks or objects have flown away despite having Calm Spirit equipped. For the most part, crows aren’t a huge issue in pugs. – SCORE: 3.5/5

SABOTEUR – This used to be a less-than-favourable perk but since 1.5, it’s become a really solid perk, thanks to regenerative hooks. Because of this one change, Saboteur’s rating has gone up. When hooks regenerate, you have free licence to score Boldness points without having to interact with the killer. If you can clear enough hooks in one or two areas, you may have breathing space to wiggle free from the killer’s grasp and score extra Survival points too.

The only downside is that sabotaging hooks requires quite a bit of time, which can be a good thing but also a bad thing too, depending on the situations. Yes, it adds another option to get more Boldness points but it’s nowhere near as fast as racking up those points while being chased. – SCORE: 4.5/5

NON-UNIQUE KILLER PERKS

DEERSTALKER – Such an effective perk as it not only boosts your awareness when survivors are dying, but it allows you to have more influence and control over the game’s proceedings when the survivors start to fall. You don’t necessarily have to hook them all the time, you can use downed survivors either as bait with this perk or even leave one on the ground to put them out of action while chasing another survivor you know is nearby.

The only negative thing about this perk in pugs is that trying to down all the survivors (whether to slug or get them all on hooks one by one) is not the greatest idea in terms of maximising your points potential. If you use Deerstalker as a perk to aid in this particular approach, you risk cutting off your points supply earlier than you were probably anticipating. At most, I’d recommend letting one survivor (or two if the situation calls for it) to bleed out on the ground while hooking another you’ve downed. It is a slightly conditional perk but that does not do much to diminish Deerstalker’s effectiveness in pugs. – SCORE: 4.5/5

HEX: THRILL OF THE HUNT – This perk got HUGELY buffed in version 1.5! Instead of requiring tokens from survivors getting hook rescues, you now start your killer game with TotH at maximum power. To have 40% extra Hunter points from the word go is awesome and because the default cleansing speed of totems is now 14 seconds instead of 10 seconds, that 50% penalty means a survivor will need 21 seconds to cleanse the first totem! And to top off all of that, you get a notification if some pesky survivor is trying to cleanse a hex totem of yours too.

The two downsides to this perk however is that the beginning of the game is as good as it’s ever going to get; once totems start getting cleansed, your Hunter points and the expected lifespan of your totems will decline. And this perk is regarded as a perk to support other hex perks, meaning that ideally to make the most of this, you would have to devote at least two of your perk slots towards hex totems. – SCORE: 4/5

IRON GRASP – The non-unique carry perk that is popular among many players. It’s chosen a lot because it gives killers that extra assurance of getting their victims to their hooks before they can break free. If you favour being able to cover more overall distance with a survivor slung over your shoulder, and survivors are sabotaging hooks, then Iron Grasp is the perk for you as it’s the most likely one of the two to help you under such circumstances.

However, what Iron Grasp lacks (when compared to Agitation) is speed; more often than not, faster carrying is slightly more beneficial and enough to get survivors to the hooks. If you can reach a hook in time with Agitation, then that is better for you than using Iron Grasp. Version 1.5 slightly nerfed the numbers of this perk to accommodate for regenerative hooks, so it’s arguable if this perk is as necessary as it used to be. – SCORE: 3.5/5

SLOPPY BUTCHER – With increased bleeding frequency, the trail of blood looks like a more consistent line, making tracking injured survivors a little easier. In the past, if you combined this with Bloodhound, you had what looked like a huge trail of very visible red paint which never failed in leading you to your prey!

But the problem with Sloppy Butcher is that it does nothing to address the downsides of blood itself, and it’s been nerfed to no longer show as much blood as it used to when combined with Bloodhound. On its own, you might have more blood than usual with Sloppy Butcher, but the colour is still not that visible and it can still be lost through grass, foliage or corn fields. Not to mention that blood trails by default don’t last long either, and the perk itself is conditional on the basis that someone must be injured for it to function at all. If you wanted to pick one of the blood-related perks, then Bloodhound is the better choice. – SCORE: 2.5/5

DISTRESSING – This perk is something of a double-edged sword which benefits a few killers more than others. Hearing the heartbeat would make survivors cautious enough to stop whatever they are doing and be ready to either hide or run and you could have that effect on them from further away. This is particularly useful with Hillbilly who is great for using his chainsaw to speedily traverse the map and play mind games with the survivors, and he gets bonus points for hitting or sprinting with it. The increased radius would have a lesser effect on Michael Myers who has a much smaller radius, but he gets a decent amount of Deviousness points by default when he stalks, so an extra 15% would pay off handsomely.

But here comes the other side of the coin. You give your approximate location and distance away from the survivors away sooner which is not a good thing for the Nurse who has reduced movement speed by default. The Wraith spends half of the game with 0 terror radius so Distressing would be wasted on him too, making the perk quite killer-specific not just for radius, but for how easily a killer can accumulate Deviousness points which would be of little use to a Trapper for example unless you had a game where survivors were running into most/all of your traps. The selective nature of this perk is what hinders its overall value.

SCORE: 3/5

MONSTROUS SHRINE – This is a perk designed for those who often host basement parties. Not much else to add to that.

The numbers are low even at rank 3, and the very purpose of this perk means you’ll most likely need it to combine with both Agitation and Iron Grasp to dramatically increase your chances of getting basement parties going game after game, which also conscripts and limits your overall choice of perks. Not to mention that trying to get a basement party going in every single one of your games is not only impractical, but also a bad strategic call; it’s not something you should aim for before the start of every single game as killer. You can easily be punished for depending on the basement, in the form of slowing yourself down, allowing survivors more time to repair gens or even giving them more opportunities to rescue their friend. Monstrous Shrine simply has a few too many detrimental implications attached to it. – SCORE: 2/5

UNRELENTING – A very simplistic cooldown reduction for missed hits.

Compared to Save The Best For Last, it’s clearly inferior even though Unrelenting lasts longer than it’s Shape-unique cousin due to its activity not being tied to an obsession’s lifespan. But if you take this perk, that either means you missed the memo where the devs nerfed it, or you really don’t feel confident about hitting M1 successfully when chasing a survivor. Of course, we all miss hits on the odd occasion, but that’s not enough justification to waste a perk slot to cover for the occasional error. Devs went a bit overboard when nerfing this I feel. – SCORE: 1.5/5

BITTER MURMUR – A very temporary perk which lasts at most for 6 seconds. Seeing the auras of the survivors when the exit gates are open can help if you’re having trouble finding or killing them. Version 1.5 buffed this perk to last 3 seconds longer.

However, the fact that it’s a temporary skill based on a condition (which might not always come true depending on how exactly the rate at which you dispose of the survivors goes) is not a good sign. It’s a perk that would combine nicely with No One Escapes Death but in that case, half of your perks would be dedicated to preparing for the worst outcome you could face as killer and saving everything for a desperate, last ditch effort. Some would argue that that’s a weak mindset to have when playing killer. In terms of an entire game’s duration, it’s only activate for less than 1%. For the rest of the time, you’re playing with 3 perks max. – SCORE: 3/5

INSIDIOUS – Fuck no! What can be possibly said about this perk in a positive light? Use it if you’re a serial camper, looking to troll yourself with an insane build or if you’re a streamer and a viewer has requested an insane build featuring Insidious. You could also try using it when playing as Hag and just wait after teleporting to a triggered trap to cause a surprise. That’s really about it.

Where to begin on how truly awful it is? First of all, it implies camping, which means you slow yourself down and make it more likely that competent survivors will punish you by getting the generators done. Secondly, a slight movement will ruin it, making it highly conditional. Also, survivors with great awareness will be able to tell if you’re running Insidious if the terror radius audio abruptly stops all of a sudden and even with the skill active, you are still visible and your breathing can still be heard by survivors nearby. Oh and the final shitty thing about this perk? You have to stand still; the worst thing you could ever do as killer. The only good thing worth doing while you’re standing still as killer in-game, is to go afk and do something more constructive with your time. Seriously, this is THE worst killer perk in the game and you’ll only pick it if you’re a notorious camper or if you’re looking to troll yourself. SCORE: 0.5/5

NO ONE ESCAPES DEATH – Not long ago, this was actually a frequently-used perk among killers when the gen rush meta was at its peak. It’s the perfect last ditch effort perk for killers to score an extra kill or two when survivors have had the upper hand all game. Nowadays since 1.5, it’s a hex totem perk which will activate and remain active for the rest of the game so long as there is one totem still remaining by the time the exit gates power up.

But it only activates when survivors have popped the generators so at best, it plays a very temporary part in your game. In ranked PUGs, points are the main focus for everyone; meaning there’s a much greater likelihood of all your totems being cleansed before the gates are opened and if ever does come to that predicament, then you just wasted a perk slot for nothing. Not to mention that the more you use it, the more it will feel like a crutch perk to you, as if you can’t play without it. Tie that with the weak mindset of expecting the worst to happen just like with Bitter Murmur and this perk does not have great implications for you despite the bonuses it grants at maximum power. Make no mistake about it: NOED is a crutch killer perk. – SCORE: 3/5

SPIES FROM THE SHADOWS – A very good tracking perk, one which opens up new possibilities for you as you’re able to get visual clues from triggered crows anywhere in your proximity.

Having said that, it only works 75% of the time that crows are disturbed within a 36m radius. And the survivors can counter this perk hard with Calm Spirit rank 3. – SCORE: 3.5/5

WHISPERS – A favourite among killers as far as tracking perks go. This essentially makes each survivor have a ‘terror radius’ of their own to your ears, albeit it’s not as audibly clear exactly how close you are to a survivor when you hear the Entity whispering. The perk just tells you that you’re ‘warm’ as far as finding your target goes.

But only being able to tell you that you’re warm is one of the downsides of Whispers: it’s a little too vague and it’s not a guarantee that you’ll find survivors with it. Using Whispers effectively means taking time to use some logic and deduction just to narrow down your search for that one stealthy survivor, who can avoid your whisper-tracking just by moving around the area enough. If you rely on Whispers too much, it could cost you time in some situations. It’s something that’s best used for finding the final survivor at the end of the game, but is a little too vague and not wholly reliable enough with multiple survivors still alive. Whispers will still trigger if a survivor is down on the ground or on a hook, so if there is another survivor nearby the hook, Whispers is not going to be able to confirm that for you. – SCORE: 3.5/5

UNIQUE KILLER PERKS

UNNERVING PRESENCE – This is supposedly meant to pressure survivors into screwing up their skill checks when within your terror radius.

The numbers for this skill are pretty shoddy even at max rank. This perk can be made redundant by good survivors just by landing their skill checks and survivors tend to either succeed or screw up skill checks often enough without the assistance of this negligible perk. – SCORE: 2.5/5

BRUTAL STRENGTH – Arguably the best killer perk in the game, period. With the exception of the Nurse, you’re always going to come across pallets that you have to smash down. By speeding up that process, you keep the survivors on their toes and lower their chances and options to avoid you as the game goes on. It’s so effective that it’s still a better perk at rank 1 than most perks at rank 3! There really is no downside to Brutal Strength whatsoever. – SCORE: 5/5

AGITATION – Worthwhile alternative to Iron Grasp as it favours speed more than distance. If you’re within enough distance to reach a hook, then Agitation is the superior carry perk as it allows you to carry and hook survivors at a faster rate.

The only downside is when your hooks have been sabotaged and reaching the basement is more a question of covering distance which the movement speed increase wouldn’t be able to accomplish. But that very rarely is the case in pugs, so much so that you might not even need Agitation truth be told. It’s still one of the best killer perks out there. – SCORE: 4.5/5

PREDATOR – Well this is an unusual perk because it allows scratch marks that sprinting survivors leave to linger for longer. You might think that that’s a good thing.

But scratch marks are really not that reliable for starters compared to audible breathing, grunting or even blood trails. They can stretch for a bit of distance away from where the survivor actually ran, and because the survivors can use scratch marks to be a little stealthy and try and shake you off, it’s not a great idea to keep track of only the marks. Because of this, if you then have a perk where the scratch marks last longer but then are uncertain about where the survivor went next, then having this perk could easily compound the problem further and make it more likely that you’ll lose your target instead of catch up to them! Oh and before I forget, scratch marks are currently bugged out! – SCORE: 2/5

BLOODHOUND – Honestly, this is an underrated tracking perk which deserves to be ranked among one of the best in the game. When it comes to tracking and chasing survivors, blood is the most accurate visual clue you could have besides seeing your actual target. Blood trails by default do not last that long and they’re not always clear enough which means you could lose the trail if you’re running through grass, foliage or even corn fields. You’re even more likely to lose them if you get stunned by survivors and have no idea where the injured one went. But with an extra 4 seconds and the blood being a brighter red and more visually clear to see, it’s incredibly difficult for injured survivors to shake you off.

The only possible downsides to this skill are the fact that it doesn’t function at all until you’ve injured a survivor at the very least, and that it’s possible for the blood trail to drop on certain patches where you suddenly can’t find the next drops of blood. Having said that though, if you’re good at spotting pools of blood, you could use this for finding dying survivors if you opted not to use Deerstalker. – SCORE: 4.5/5

SHADOWBORN – Extra vision overall is a great boon to have; it’s like burning a free offering for brighter moonlight and your field of vision is widened so it makes finding survivors in dark places much easier. Version 1.5 changed it so that you get blinded 30% faster instead of 50%, and the time to recover from it is 50% instead of 75%.

But taking this perk is a risk due to it suddenly empowering any survivor with a flashlight. Although it’s extremely unlikely to occur in pugs, if you’re against a survivor team with flashlights galore, you are in real trouble! But if you’re one of those killers where darker moonlight isn’t really an issue for you, then you probably don’t have much use for this perk in all honesty. – SCORE: 4.5/5

ENDURING – It’s rare to see a perk that actually gets better or at least is featured more than it used to be in the past. But Enduring is certainly one of those. This perk is a licence to launch yourself at survivors waiting to drop pallets, without a care if you get stunned by them. Not only do you shake off pallet stuns as if they didn’t slow you down at all, but you also get a buffer from the survivors who are dependent on Decisive Strike.

The one niggling downside to Enduring though is that while the difference in time lost between being stunned with Enduring and waiting for the pallet to drop without being stunned is negligible, it doesn’t do anything to address the fact that a pallet’s still there and most likely needs to be destroyed, which is why Enduring ideally requires being complemented by Brutal Strength. – SCORE: 4.5/5

LIGHTBORN – It’s rare to see this perk featured at all these days. It’s good for resisting flashlights for sure, but that’s about the only positive to it.

This dims your vision by 10% which is far from ideal because it’s essentially giving the survivors an extra free offering of darker moonlight. Also, survivors don’t get to equip flashlights in pug lobbies and it’s very unlikely they’ll find flashlights en masse. Overall, it’s not a bad perk but when it comes to ranked pugs, you’re using up one perk slot just to make your vision worse for no reason. – SCORE: 3/5

TINKERER – Being able to increase the charge speed of your main abilities is a neat thing and for that reason, this perk is quite tasty (in pubs). If only the devs thought of making it so that it didn’t require addons in order to function.

But because the devs don’t think that far ahead, Tinkerer regrettably has zero purpose in ranked pugs. Addons are disabled as a rule, thus this perk cannot help killers one bit. Equipping this perk in ranked pugs is akin to being bare naked except for sporting a fig leaf.- SCORE: 0/5

STRIDOR – A seriously underrated tracking perk which could easily rank as one of the very best in the game. Not only are injured survivors much easier to hear, but you can reliably find healthy, stealthy survivors hiding nearby with this perk. It should also be noted that some survivors’ breathing is a little harder to hear than others, so this is another benefit to running Stridor. It’s easier to listen to survivors who are groaning in pain when they are bleeding out on the ground too.

Although it increases your chances of finding stealthy survivors nearby, it won’t always be successful. – SCORE: 4.5/5

THANATOPHOBIA – On paper, this sounds like an awesome perk as all survivors get penalised for action speed depending on how many of them, are injured, dying or hooked.

But the reality of it is anything but awesome. That’s because the numbers are low even for rank 3. And if you want to maximise those numbers, you have to constantly be switching between multiple targets to make sure everyone is either injured or hooked at the same time, which is actually something you should consider doing for your points anyway, but it also makes it a largely impractical perk to fulfil. Even if you succeed in doing so, the benefits to you overall are negligible and dead survivors don’t count towards this perk. You’d more likely be better off playing the killer game normally than trying to adhere to the conditions of Thanatophobia. – SCORE: 3/5

A NURSE’S CALLING – Great alternative to Deerstalker as it often can direct you to the location of more than one survivor.

The only downside is that survivors who are down on the ground can recover and so healing them back to their state wouldn’t take long at all, assuming you’re not looking in their direction when they are healing. This can also be countered greatly by perks such as We’ll Make It. – SCORE: 4.5/5

SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST – The cooldown reduction for successful hits is quite generous and makes it worth keeping the obsession alive for as long as possible.

However, version 1.5 has mutilated this perk beyond recognition! You have to chase someone for 20 seconds before you gain the benefit of cooldown reduction, which is too time-consuming and conditional for a perk that doesn’t offer that much in return. And saving the obsession for last in order to maximise the perk is another downside to it. Also, your choice of perk might be ultimately responsible for your scepticism towards your obsession, as you won’t be sure if they have Decisive Strike or not until you try picking them up. But as far as obsession perks go, it really is the least conditional of the lot. – SCORE: 2.5/5

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD – The killer’s version of Sprint Burst, albeit it a little more complicated. You gain ranks in speed boost each time you find your obsession (basically just keep farming the ‘Survivor Found’ function for the Hunter bloodpoints).

But you also lose a rank for each attacking action you commit, and maintaining the stacks means solely chasing your obsession for a majority of the game which makes it a fluctuating and inconsistent perk to preserve. And if your obsession dies early in the game, then you’ve got no way of sustaining the speed boost and will inevitably lose it and can’t use it to chase down the remaining survivors. – SCORE: 3.5/5

DYING LIGHT – A questionable perk in terms of its status as the highest level of the Shape’s unique perks as well as the conditional basis on which it functions. Survivors being forced to suffer as much as a 25% speed reduction in healing, repairing and sabotaging can be quite crippling, that in itself is tempting as a killer.

But it gets worse from there, unfortunately. This happens to be an obsession perk where your obsession gets 50% extra speed for altruistic actions. So right from the word go, you are knowingly buffing one survivor. And in order to get the most out of this 25% penalty for the survivors, you ideally should kill your obsession first, something that involves seriously camping the obsession like a scumbag. Basically, trying to fulfil this perk means deviating quite far from what is considered normal or effective killer play. The penalty for survivors is great, but the perk itself demands a little too much to make this an effective and worthwhile choice on a consistent basis. What’s more, I can speak from experience where even though I’ve been in survivor games where Dying Light was activated early on, your hopes of escaping alive aren’t as dashed as you’d expect. For a perk that demands a lot in circumstances, it doesn’t really reward you enough in pugs to put yourself through what it demands. – SCORE: 2.5/5

HEX: THE THIRD SEAL – So with this perk you can do what Sole Survivor does to killers, as long as you hit the survivors. Not too bad if some/all of the survivors are using perks such as Bond.

It’s a hex totem so it will have its cons as well as its pros. – SCORE: 3/5

HEX: RUIN – Generators can regress if survivors don’t land great skill checks, so it sounds pretty neat to have in your arsenal.

One tiny problem: hex totem. Another tiny problem: survivors can tell if Ruin is active by the perk icon showing up on their HUD from the very start of the game. – SCORE: 3.5/5

HEX: DEVOUR HOPE – 3 hook rescues will grant you NOED powers, and 5 hook rescues will allow you to mori people. If you’re at all aiming for 8k Sacrifice points, then Devour Hope is your only means of achieving that target. And version 1.5 has made it so that survivors won’t know for sure that you have Devour Hope until you’ve amassed 3 tokens.

As always, hex totem is the problem here. Besides, the survivors can see that you have the perk after the first hook rescue, and you don’t ‘need’ to get 8k sacrifice points in order to breach the 30k mark, you just need to flesh out the game as much as possible while also hooking the survivors as much as they can possibly be hooked. – SCORE: 3.5/5