Dead Island 2 is filled with skill cards to pick as you get deeper into the story and unlock them all. This is where the fun starts as you build your character deciding what the best skills to use are. While it can depend a little bit on your play style, I’ve put together some of the best skills to use that I enjoy.
Disclaimer: There are minor spoilers in this Dead Island 2 guide since it reveals skills that you may not have unlocked yet. Also, it discusses a feature that unlocks several hours into the story. Even though this is a mechanic that existed in previous Dead Island games.
Best Skills in Dead Island 2
|Dodge||Press L Alt with a direction to evade incoming attacks. Well-timed doges regain your STAMINA and STUN zombies, leaving them open to a devastating COUNTER attack.||Dodging tends to work better than blocking since enemies can still grapple you. Also, you have significantly more mobility with dodging to circle enemies or get away from dangerous situations.|
|Flying Kick||Press E while in the air to perform a POWERFUL jump kick attack.||While I love to use Drop Kick, Flying Kick is unfortunately the stronger choice. You can use it to deal decent damage against both common zombies and Apex Variants.|
|Ground Pound||Press V to drive a FORCEFUL blow into the ground that drains the STABILITY of nearby zombies.||Ground Pound deals a good chunk of AoE damage. An okay alternate is Rallying Cry if you combine it with War Cry for healing.|
|Surgical Focus||AUTOPHAGE skill. Maim zombies to build FURY. But don’t lose focus — taking damage will drain FURY.||This skill provides so much Fury compared to the other skills as long as you don’t get hit a lot. But even still, you can usually power through hits.|
|Overhead Smash||Slayer smash!! Press Q in FURY MODE to let loose and unleash a POWERFUL ground smash.||Following our best skills in this guide, you can repeatedly use Overhead Smash in crowds of zombies.|
|Ravenous||Unleash endless rage! In FURY MODE, slay zombies to replenish your FURY and stay enraged longer.||Ravenous is a big part of the build this guide revolves around since it helps you stay in Fury Mode.|
|Short Fuse||Forget counting to ten! Unleash FURY MODE anytime once your FURY METER is more than half full.||Short Fuse is a nice quality of life skill since it makes it easy to jump back into Fury Mode. Due to how the skills in this guide work, you can fill your Fury up while using it.|
|Quake||Be the earthquake you want to see in the world! Your GROUND POUND attacks get a major boost to FORCE that can send regular zombies flying.||Combine Quake with the Ground Pound ability to deal some extra damage while also knocking zombies away.|
|Safety First||Up your defensive game! A well-timed BLOCK or DODGE regains HEALTH.||I added Safety First so you have another source of healing outside of The Limb Reaper in the next section. However, this relies on well-timed blocks/dodges. Which you can follow-up with counters for more health.|
|Corpse Bomb||Pop goes the zombie! In FURY MODE, slain zombies erupt into powerful EXPLOSIONS.||This skill continues to make your Fury Mode even stronger by blowing up nearby zombies. Which combines well with the Numen skill, Corpse Blossom.|
|The Limb Reaper||Got a limb thing, huh? MAIN a zombie to regain HEALTH.||This is your main source of healing that doesn’t rely on consumables. Especially since this build revolves around maiming.|
|Surgeon||From scalpel to sledgehammer! MAIM a zombie for a moderate boost to DAMAGE.||Surgeon continues to increase your damage as you prioritize maiming zombies for Fury and health.|
|Juggernaut||Leave a path of destruction! OVERHEAD SMASH attacks get a major boost to DAMAGE AND FORCE, and also build FURY.||Juggernaut provides another way to gain Fury while also getting extra damage. This makes it easier to repeatedly use Overhead Smash.|
|Born Survivor||AUTOPHAGE skill. It ain’t over yet! When you’re about to die, a FORCEFUL explosion will trigger instead and drain your FURY. Attack zombies to regain HEALTH.||I debated Born Survivor but it’s a nice backup if an Apex Variant catches you off guard. But, the other Numens are decent as well.|
|Corpse Blossom||Ka-BOOM! Zombies slain with FIRE, SHOCK, or CAUSTIC damage will detonate in a powerful explosion of that same damage type.||Corpse Blossom is a must since you’ll deal major elemental damage to swarms of zombies.|
As always it’s important to mention that the skills in this guide aren’t the only ones you can use. This is a build that I realized works very well for my playstyle and destroys hordes of zombies. I tested every skill in each category to get a good feeling for how they all felt. And then put together this set.
You’ll probably notice that the Slayer category has a lot of room for experimenting with different Dead Island 2 build ideas. So I recommend swapping skills every now and then since it doesn’t cost anything. Also, you won’t have everything from the start that I do.
This is because you can get skill cards in a variety of ways. Such as leveling up, progressing the story, completing challenges, and even looting them. Over time, you’ll get a good feel for what you like and if you’re lucky, you’ll get the skill cards in this guide. Otherwise, that’s all there is to this guide on the best skills to use in Dead Island 2.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.