Here are some essential strategy tips to survive and beat Diablo 4 Hardcore mode, including using Elixir of Death Evasion & Scroll of Escape.

Essential Tips to Survive Hardcore Mode in Diablo 4

Since Diablo 2, the demon-infested land of Sanctuary has included a punishing Hardcore mode featuring permadeath that some fans of the classic ARPG series would consider the real way to play – after all, what’s the point of defeating Diablo and the other Prime Evils over and over again if there are no real stakes for failure? In fact, series creator David Brevik stated in an interview that the first Diablo was originally designed to feature only a Hardcore mode. In Diablo 4, Hardcore mode is a bit more forgiving than in the past, but if you’re looking to give the intense mode an honest try, here are some essential tips to keep you alive in your hunt for Lilith longer.

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Top Strategy Tips to Survive and Beat Diablo 4 Hardcore Mode

1. Beat the game in Eternal first.

This might go without saying, but the best way to ensure you don’t waste dozens of hours of time leveling a Hardcore character is to beat the game on the regular Eternal server first. This will give you insight to the strength of the bosses and a general feel for the challenges you’ll face, ensuring that nothing will surprise you.

Furthermore, doing so will allow you to use your horse immediately in Hardcore mode, instead of having to wait until Act IV to unlock it. Thus, you can speed past a lot of low-level mobs on your way to completing the main campaign.

2. Begin on World Tier I.

Since World Tier I (Normal) might seem too easy at first, it might be tempting to jump straight into World Tier II (Veteran). However, leveling your character to the point where you’ve unlocked some decent defensive abilities to keep yourself alive is paramount — you don’t want to kick the bucket before you hit level 15 because of a small, stupid mistake.

Diablo 4 Hardcore mode also offers two unique ways to keep yourself alive — the Scroll of Escape and the Elixir of Death Evasion — more tips on them below. Both essential items are restricted to higher levels, so wait until you have them before increasing the difficulty.

Here are some essential strategy tips to survive and beat Diablo 4 Hardcore mode, including using Elixir of Death Evasion & Scroll of Escape.

3. Always carry an Elixir of Death Evasion and Scroll of Escape.

Pretty early on in your Hardcore run, you’ll unlock a recipe for the Elixir of Death Evasion. This Elixir lasts for 30 minutes and will prevent death once and grant immunity for 2 seconds, giving you crucial time to reposition and heal up against a tough boss. You can craft this powerful potion at level 10 at any Alchemist. It requires the following ingredients:

  • Angelbreath x1 (Rare herb found in the overworld, sometimes as item cache rewards)
  • Demon’s Heart x4 (Defeat demons)
  • Crushed Beast Bones x4 (Defeat beasts)
  • Paletongue x4 (Defeat human enemies)
  • Grave Dust x4 (Defeat undead)
  • 1000 gold

Finding a Scroll of Escape is a bit more straightforward. After level 20, you can find this scroll randomly from defeating enemies and opening chests, though it is quite rare. Using the Scroll of Escape will immediately teleport you out of a deadly situation and to a nearby town.

The Scroll of Escape has two primary uses: to teleport out of a boss room, or to cheat death if you lose your connection to Diablo 4. Yes, the Scroll of Escape will automatically trigger if you have one on you if your internet cuts out.

Among our Diablo 4 Hardcore tips, we especially recommend you bind both items to your emote wheel, where you can then add a keybind to them for instant access if you’re playing on PC, instead of opening your inventory to select either item. Otherwise, popping an Elixir of Death Evasion before an Act boss such as Andariel is a good idea.

4. Prioritize your class’s defensive skills.

Each class has a handful of defensive skills that, on the Eternal server, might seem much less appealing in favor of mob-melting attacks. However, on the Hardcore server, they’re absolutely necessary for survival, and investing in two — one of which needs to have the Unstoppable or Immune status — will save your life more times than you would think. Unstoppable and Immune allow you to break free of all crowd-controlling effects, such as Freeze and Stun, which otherwise might lead to your death. Do note that relying on an Ultimate skill with Unstoppable or Immune is inadvisable as they have lengthy cooldowns.

These skills include the following:

  • Barbarian: Enhanced Rallying Cry, Charge
  • Druid: Enhanced Earthen Bulwark, Trample
  • Necromancer: Blood Mist
  • Rogue: Shadow Step, Concealment
  • Sorcerer: Flame Shield, Teleport

Pair one of these skills with another defensive tool – such as Decrepify for a Necromancer or Frost Nova with a Sorcerer – and you’ll be well equipped to take on most demonic adversaries.

5. Prioritize defensive stats on items.

Increasing damage output is far less useful than mitigating incoming damage while playing Hardcore. When choosing which items to equip, choose the equipment with higher Armor as well as any increases to Life, Damage Reduction, or Life Gain (on hit or when a monster dies) / Life Regeneration. For Boots specifically, selecting a pair that has an affix to increase your number of Evades will also help ensure your survival.

At the moment, however, professional players are reporting that Resist Elements is rather underwhelming; increased Life and Armor has a much stronger effect on survivability.

If you find an item you want to use, but it has poor defensive utility, consider taking it to any Occultist to reroll key affixes.

How to Deal With The Butcher in Diablo 4

6. Fear the Butcher.

The classic boss the Butcher can randomly spawn in any dungeon in the game; if he does so, be prepared to run — he can ambush you as you’re already fighting an Elite mob or two. With his grappling cleaver, he can pull you in for powerful attacks that can one-hit the squishier classes. Hearing his battlecry of “fresh meat!” serves as a sign you should pop that Scroll of Escape if you don’t want to actually become fresh meat.

And that’s all our major tips to survive Hardcore mode in Diablo 4! Good luck out there in Sanctuary among all the deadly demons and swarming undead; if you make use of these tips, you’ll (probably) be fine.


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Lowell Bell
Lowell is a freelance contributor with The Escapist that began his career reporting on live events such as the Penny Arcade Expo and E3 back in 2012. Over the last couple of years, he carved a niche for himself covering competitive Pokémon as he transitioned into game criticism full time. About a decade ago, Lowell moved to Japan for a year or two but is still there, raising a Shiba Inu named Zelda with his wife while missing access to good burritos. He also has a love/hate relationship with Japanese role-playing games.