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The best Deathloop powers and upgrades to get

Deathloop powers
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Deciding on the best Deathloop powers is somewhat subjective, as this depends heavily on your personal play style and how you want to approach the giant moving puzzle that is the game world. You'll earn these powers via the Slabs you collect from slain Visionaries, and they can imbue you with abilities such as teleportation, invisibility, and a whole lot more. Knowing which Visionary to eliminate and get the power you want is one thing, but as Deathloop places you in a time loop this process doesn't stop there – you can keep coming back to kill the same Visionary over and over again, collecting up to four further Slabs to upgrade their associated abilities.

This means it'll take you some time to earn all of the available Deathloop Slab upgrades, but it pays to know what late stage upgrades you can work towards as some of the abilities they unlock are completely game-changing. In this guide we'll cover everything you need to know about Deathloop powers and upgrades, including when and where to find them all.

The best Deathloop powers

Deathloop powers

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Your go-to, best Deathloop powers are Aether, Shift, and Nexus which, respectively, are invisibility, teleportation, and the ability to join enemies so killing one kills everyone. These will see you through the entire game and, as you can only equip two at a time, you'll mainly want to be rocking Aether and Nexus. Aether hides you from enemies, turrets, cameras and trip mines, letting you sneak and hack your way towards the Deathloop Visionaries without alerting anyone. Meanwhile Nexus is almost overpowered: you can upgrade it to heal you when you kill affected people, or make connections spread and it's possible to clear entire areas with a single shot. Shift's teleportation is extremely useful but mainly shines when you want to explore. However, there aren't really any important routes your double jump can't reach, so you'll probably want to stick to Aether and Nexus once you've learned the paths. 

The other powers, Havoc and Karnesis, which are a tank-like damage boost and a telekinetic ability to throw enemies, are enjoyable to try out but have little practical use overall. Havoc only really works if you pile in with all of your Deathloop guns blazing, all the time, and Karnesis is great fun when hurling enemies off cliffs but a bit useless otherwise. 

Aether

deathloop powers slabs

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Where to find it - Egor in the Complex, Evening

Aether is basically near invisibility. It isn't absolute, and if enemies get close enough they'll eventually see you, but it will let you sneak right past people in the open. It also prevents cameras and turrets from seeing you, making them easier to hack, and stops you setting off trip mines (you'll still set off normal mines though). The best upgrades to use are Erase and Ghost. Erase will hide the remains of enemies you kill while using Aether so as not to alert others, and Ghost will make Aether only use power when you move, so staying stationary keeps you invisible indefinitely. 

Aether upgrades

  • Erase - While Aether is active, killing an enemy doesn't leave a trace. 
  • Ghost - Aether doesn't consume power while you're standing still. 
  • Phase - Damage does not deactivate Aether, and you suffer less damage while it's active.
  • Flicker - Attacking while using Aether makes you appear briefly but doesn't halt the effect.

Nexus

deathloop powers slabs

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Where to get it - Harriet in Karl's Bay, Morning

Nexus is basically Dishonored's Domino power, letting you link enemies together so that killing one kills everyone joined. It'll let you clear entire rooms in a single shot and, if you get overwhelmed, let you take out all your attackers in one go. With the right upgrades it's incredibly powerful and near-essential. Parasite will turn the damage you inflict into healing, while Influence will let 'infected' enemies transfer the connection to any people they pass.

Nexus upgrades:

  • Parasite - When someone affected by Nexus takes damage, you regain health. 
  • Protection - Nexus drains your power at a slower rate. 
  • Influence - Enemies affected by Nexus spontaneously create connections to others nearby.
  • Attraction - Nexus projectiles home in on enemies until they become unstable. 

Shift

deathloop powers slabs

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Where to get it - Charlie in Updaam, Noon

Using Shift is a great way to explore when you're learning routes and paths through the game. Upgrades like Airborne, which lets you float briefly after Shifting so you can Shift somewhere else from the air, and the range extending Reach, really let you poke into every nook and cranny of Blackreef. You can also Shift through trip mines without setting them off. However, there's very little you can't do with the basic double jump so once you know where you are going it's worth swapping this out. 

Shift upgrades:

  • Airborne - Using shift in mid-air briefly halts your fall .
  • Swapper - Shift can be used to swap your position with that of an enemy. 
  • Reach - You can travel further and higher.
  • Dropkick - Kicking during the use of shift creates a powerful and dangerous sonic boom.

Havoc

deathloop powers slabs

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Where to get it - Fia at Fristad Rock, Noon

Havoc is probably the least useful power in the whole game. It lets you tank out, inflicting and taking more damage, which might sound useful but Deathloop is a stealth game and doesn't really suit the direct approach. Unless you're specifically aiming to trash your way through every second of every level there are better powers to use. Plus, unless you kill everyone before draining your power, you could end up with more problems at the end than you started with. 

Havoc upgrades:

  • Euphoria - The more damage you take while using Havoc, the more damage you dish out.
  • Withdrawal - Regain power by damaging your foes while using Havoc. Invigorating!
  • Bulwark - Hits don't drain power, but Havoc drains Power faster. Also, you move slower.  
  • Backlash - When Havoc ends you release a devastating and powerful blast.

Karnesis

deathloop powers slabs

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Where to get it - Aleksis at Updaam, evening

The telekinetic abilities of Karnesis are incredibly fun - letting you hurl enemies into the air - but not much use once the novelty of throwing people from cliffs has worn off. Like Havoc it's a very 'direct assault' ability in a game that favors stealth, so has limited, if any, practical use in general play. Hugely enjoyable to mess around with but not one to take out if you really want to achieve anything.   

Karnesis upgrades:

  • Slam - Using Karnesis on affected enemies violently hurls them down.
  • Flash bomb - Enemies affected by Karnesis land with a damaging blast. 
  • Zone - Use Karnesis to push away multiple enemies for some much needed breathing room. 
  • Suspension - Enemies thrown by Karnesis hover helplessly in the air. Easy pickings. 
Leon Hurley
Senior Guides Co-ordinator

I'm currently GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I've had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website. I'm a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures.