Risk of Rain 2 has a plethora of characters to choose from, each with a distinct playstyle and unique set of item synergies. For this article, I’ll be focusing on the Bandit, one of the more fast-paced, surgical characters in the game. A highly offensive playstyle suits him best, with his skills excelling at dealing with one opponent swiftly, then moving on to the next. Momentum is key to the Bandit, so seizing the initiative and keeping it will be your top priority.
Read on as we take a closer look at Risk of Rain 2 Bandit, From Unlock to Endgame.
Unlocking the Bandit
The Bandit used to be the second unlockable character, but now the Huntress is available by default, he’s the first on the list. Unlocking him is simple, being the same as the Huntress’ once was. You’ll need to complete the first three stages, finishing the third teleporter event, without dying. Once you finish, the Bandit will be yours.
Related: Risk of Rain 2 Railrunner
The Bandit’s abilities
As with most other characters in Risk of Rain 2, the Bandit has two sets of skills: one available on unlock, the other behind a set of challenges.
The Bandit starter abilities
Once unlocked, the Bandit has access to five abilities, to begin with, one of which is passive.
Backstab: All attacks from behind are critical strikes. You’ll want to keep this skill in mind, as it works well with the Bandit’s other abilities that focus on mobility.
Burst: Fire a shotgun burst for 5 x 100% damage. Can hold up to 4 shells. This should be used as your opener, softening up the enemy. Other skills are where you’ll deal your damage.
Serrated Dagger: Lunge and slash for 360% damage. Critical strikes also cause hemorrhaging. This skill is especially useful against bosses, elites, or general enemies with high HP. Aim to use it behind an enemy for a guaranteed bleed thanks to Backstab.
Smoke Bomb: Stunning. Deal 200% damage, becoming invisible, then deal 200% damage again. Smoke bomb is your main repositioning skill and can be a lifesaver when surrounded. It is often the lead-up to dealing some serious damage.
Lights Out: Slayer. Fire a revolver shot for 600% damage. Kills reset all your cooldowns. The coup de grace. When used correctly, Lights Out can create a procession of death, acting as the lethal end to a skill chain.
The Bandit’s unlockable abilities
Three of the Bandit’s abilities are locked behind challenge walls. They’re all useful, but one in particular is a must-have.
Blast: Fire a rifle blast for 330% damage. Can hold up to 4 bullets. Blast or burst is a matter of personal choice Burst gives you significantly greater crowd control, while blast is more of a surgical strike.
You can unlock Blast by completing the Bandit: Classic Man challenge. To do so, you’ll need to use Lights Out to reset your cooldowns 15 times in a row.
Serrated Shiv: Throw a hidden blade for 240% damage. Critical strikes also cause hemorrhaging. This is essentially the ranged version of Serrated Dagger, trading damage for range. Which is best is again up to your playstyle, though I’d lean more toward the Shiv. While you’ll deal less base damage, being able to apply hemorrhage to an enemy without getting close is difficult to pass up, and it works as a well-aimed strike that complements Burst’s crowd control.
You can unlock Serrated Shiv by completing the Bandit: Sadist challenge. This involves killing a monster with 20 stacks of hemorrhage. This is tricky to do passively, though you can accomplish it much easier by using the Command artifact. You’ll want to prioritize picking up items that boost your crit rate, such as the Lens-Maker’s Glasses, so you can pull off the bleed without having to backstab. Next, you’ll need a fair few Backup Magazines, which allow for consecutive uses of the Dagger. Any items that reduce skill cooldowns are a good call also. With these items obtained, you have a few options to choose from. First, you could target the main boss, which can complete this challenge and the next one at once. Alternatively, you could go for the Alloy Worship Unit, which is tanky enough to hold over 20 hemorrhages. The last good target is an elite of your choice, given their high HP pools.
Desperado: Slayer. Fire a revolver shot for 600% damage. Kills grant stacking tokens for 10% more Desperado damage. The other two skills are fine, but Desperado is an absolute must-have. It isn’t a tradeoff, but rather a direct upgrade of Lights Out. Kills will grant you tokens that give you 10% more damage, but that is easily misunderstood. Rather than 10% extra, it gives you 10% of Desperado’s damage, making for an increase of 60%. Additionally, Desperado, like Lights Out, deals triple damage against enemies under half health, making it seriously lethal. Note that your tokens disappear once you leave the stage.
You can unlock Desperado by completing the Bandit: B&E challenge. This requires you to kill the final boss with Lights Out, which can be completed alongside the Bandit: Sadist challenge. Once you bag this skill, you’ll have obtained all the Bandit’s skills.
Also Read: Risk of Rain 2 Huntress Guide
The Bandit playstyle
As I said, movement is the core aspect of the Bandit. You’ll want to be positioning yourself behind enemies to take advantage of the guaranteed critical strikes, while keeping yourself out of the line of fire. The stealth afforded by smoke bomb will be your best friend for this. Keep in mind that any skill used while invisible will immediately reveal you, though you can use this as a mini jump, helping you access places you might not otherwise.
Dealing critical hits is only half of it, you’re merely tenderizing your enemies before Lights Out deals the devastating blow. The main strategy here is to chain your skills, with Lights Out being the grand finale, then immediately starting a new chain. To do this, focus on dealing as much damage as you can to a wide range of enemies, while leaving weaker ones, like Wisps, as food for your cooldowns. This is where I find Burst more effective than Blast, as you are better able to spread your damage, giving you more targets for Lights Out and more reliable cooldown resets. With a bit of practice, you’ll be seamlessly carving your way through enemies, without them ever even seeing the architect of their demise.
Items that complement the Bandit’s playstyle
The approach to playing as the Bandit is a fair bit different from that of other characters. As such, some items synergize well with him, while others, not so much. I’ll be going over some of my favorites for Bandit runs.
Crowbar: This item is the most obvious one, as it increases first-hit damage against enemies with full health. Plus, it stacks. With enough crowbars, you’ll be able to one-shot most enemies with Lights Out, making it easier to secure kills for skill cooldowns.
Lens-Maker’s Glasses: I won’t dwell on this item as I’ve mentioned it before, but the increased crit chance is incredibly helpful for the Bandit. As some of his skills apply hemorrhage on critical hits, anything that increases the odds is great for damage potential.
Energy Drink: This is a good utility item. With a couple under your belt, your sprint speed will be significantly faster, enabling you to get around while under stealth much easier. As stealth only lasts a few seconds, more speed will help you get more out of it.
Paul’s Goat Hoof: This is another good utility item for speed, increasing your overall movement speed by 14%, rather than just your sprint speed. Again, it helps you get the most out of stealth.
Predatory Instincts: This is another crit booster, but it comes with a little extra. Each crit will increase your attack speed by 12% to a cap of 36%, which makes your reloads notably quicker. It isn’t crucial, but it’s a good one to have.
Ukulele: This item is good on all runs, but especially so for the Bandit. Each hit has a 25% chance of shooting chain lightning, which is great for increasing your damage output across multiple enemies. Works well as a lead-up to Lights Out and Desperado.
There are plenty of other good items, but these are some that I find suit the Bandit best. With a few of these in hand, and the appropriate tactics in mind, your run is sure to be a good one.