All Slayers in Dead Island 2 Ranked
Image via PLAION.

All Slayers in Dead Island 2 Ranked

There are six playable “Slayers” in Dead Island 2’s southern California zombie safari, all of whom are capable of taking on Hell-A and winning. Some have it a little easier than others, though. Here’s how we ranked the characters of Slayers from Dead Island 2 in solo and co-op play.

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Best Dead Island 2 Characters, Ranked

  • Best Slayers in Dead Island 2 for Solo Play
    • Ryan
    • Carla
    • Dani
  • Best Slayers in Dead Island 2 for Co-Op
    • Jacob
    • Dani
    • Bruno

The six playable Slayers fall into three unofficial “classes.” Ryan and Carla are all defense with minimal offensive stats; Dani and Jacob are balanced around constant offensive pressure but can’t heal easily; and Amy and Bruno are classic “glass cannons” who die easily if cornered.

There are a lot of ways to tweak your stats in DI2, such as weapon perks, Skill Cards, and the subtle but growing buffs you receive for accomplishing in-game Challenges. However, none of these will ever fully close the gaps created by your Slayer’s starting stats.

Dead Island 2 Slayers Ranked From Strongest to Weakest for Solo Play

1) Ryan

Ryan in Dead Island 2. This image is part of an article about all Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

Ryan is designed as a brick wall, with max Toughness but minimal Agility. He’s slow but takes less damage from physical hits than any other Slayer. Ryan’s also got two innate Skill Cards with excellent synergy: Seesaw gives him a small health boost whenever he knocks a zombie down, while Retaliation gives him a boost to his attacks’ impact whenever he successfully blocks. He’s easily the best character for a solo run at Dead Island 2.

2) Carla

Carla in Dead Island 2. Ryan in Dead Island 2. This image is part of an article about all Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

Carla isn’t far behind Ryan. Her max stat is Resilience, which gives her much less to fear from status-inflicting hazards. In the late game, when every second zombie is Shocking/Burning/Caustic, Carla’s in great shape compared to any other Slayer. Her primary drawback is a wasted innate Skill Card in Dig Deep, which boosts her Toughness whenever she’s at critical health. In practice, if Carla’s health is that low, Dig Deep can’t save her.

3) Dani

Dani in Dead Island 2. Ryan in Dead Island 2. This image is part of an article about all Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

Dani is a terror in the early game, but her minimal Health Recovery is a bigger weakness than it initially seems. Medkits have roughly half the effect on Dani as they do on other Slayers, so she’s in trouble when on low health. On the other hand, both her innates are very strong, especially against crowds of zombies.

4) Jacob

Jacob in Dead Island 2. Ryan in Dead Island 2. This image is part of an article about all Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

Jacob is only slightly behind Dani but loses out due to his lower Resilience. Environmental hazards that would only annoy or injure another Slayer can kill Jacob outright, particularly if you’re forced into close quarters. This isn’t a big deal at the game start, but once special zombies become common, Jacob effectively becomes even more of a glass cannon than Amy. On the other hand, his innate Skill Cards are excellent: Critical Gains lets him attack constantly, while Feral gives him a stacking damage buff with every consecutive or simultaneous attack. By mid-game, Jacob can instantly max his Feral stack with a single shotgun blast.

5) Amy

Amy in Dead Island 2. Ryan in Dead Island 2. This image is part of an article about all Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

If Dead Island 2 was a MOBA, Amy would be an Assassin. She moves fast, and her innate skill, Divide & Conquer, encourages her to pick off isolated targets like Screamers or Slobbers. Amy’s got the lowest Toughness of any Slayer, however, so she drops if a zombie looks at her funny. This isn’t as big of a problem once you’ve found some guns, but it can be a hard climb for a solo Amy to get that far into the game.

6) Bruno

Bruno in Dead Island 2. Ryan in Dead Island 2. This image is part of an article about all Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

Finally, Bruno shares Amy’s fragility and speed but has two innate Skill Cards that work at cross purposes. Rapid Reprisal encourages him to stick and move, using well-timed dodges to buff himself before he lands a critical hit for the kill. On the other hand, Backstab means Bruno’s at his best when he can start a fight from stealth, which almost never happens in a solo game. He also looks like Machine Gun Kelly’s fashion coach, so, you know… pass.

Related: Why Dead Island 2 Isn’t on Steam, Explained

Dead Island 2 Slayers Ranked From Strongest to Weakest for Co-Op Play

1) Jacob

Jacob’s innate Skill Cards give him the highest consistent DPS in the game and are effective against any target at any time. He doesn’t rely on positioning like Bruno or heavy attacks like Dani; he just has to wade into the fray. Even if he does suddenly drop to a status effect or unplanned explosion, his teammates can simply pick him back up.

2) Dani

Dani is the best crowd-control character in the game because of Thunderstruck. She can leap into a fight and send every zombie flying at once. Since you always spend a lot of time in Dead Island 2 fighting simple Walkers, Runners, and Shamblers, Dani never becomes irrelevant, but she also has nothing unique going for her against single targets.

3) Bruno

Bruno comes into his own when somebody else can open the fight for him. A Backstab with a decent weapon’s heavy attack can knock an Apex Infected’s lights right out, so if he’s got Ryan or Carla around to dash in ahead of him, Bruno can really shine.

4) Amy

Amy is made to hang out at the edge of the brawl. She can run in, use special attacks to cause some havoc, then dash back out to regenerate her stamina with Relief Pitcher. In the mid-game, she’s great for classic circle-strafe tactics with rifles and pistols.

5) Carla

Carla is arguably a better “tank” for Bruno’s purposes than Ryan because of Mosh Pit. She wants the zombies to stay up to maximize her damage buff, which exposes their backs for Bruno. With her high Resilience, she can also help the team speed past environmental hazards, although there are a few obstacles, like electrified water, that even Carla has to take seriously. Even so, a theoretical speedrunners’ team for Dead Island 2 would have Amy and Carla as slam dunk picks, with a third wildcard spot for Jacob or Bruno.

6) Ryan

Ryan’s advantages don’t matter as much in co-op. He’s fully geared toward his own survival, which can come in handy but pales next to everyone else’s mobility or damage boosts. It feels like Ryan was designed to draw the zombies’ attention off his less durable teammates, but Dead Island 2’s lack of threat mechanics makes this a weak role to play.

All this theorycraft aside, Dead Island 2 isn’t meant to be such a challenging game that you need to worry about factors like team synergy or character builds. It’s a zombie-smashing playground, first and foremost, especially around its halfway point once you find some of the best weapons. So, the most important Dead Island 2 team comp is having two friends to play it with.

And that’s all the Slayers in Dead Island 2 ranked.

Dead Island 2 is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox, and PC.

 The above article was updated on 3/16/2024 by Escapist Editorial to clarify information about Dead Island 2. 

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Thomas Wilde
Thomas Wilde, for his sins, has been writing about video games since 2002. He began as a guides writer for UK magazines before breaking into the U.S. market as a critic and reporter. His work outside of the Escapist can be found on GeekWire, Bloody Disgusting, and GameSkinny, among other places. He also wrote, co-wrote, or edited most of the guides from the late, lamented DoubleJump Books, and was the executive editor during the original print run for Hardcore Gamer magazine. Thomas is from the Chicago area, but currently lives and works in Washington state. He likes bad movies, good fiction, cooking, zombie media, and collecting dozens of blank pocket notebooks for no obvious reason.