10 Hades 2 tips and things we wish we knew to get you started in the Underworld

Hades 2 announcement trailer
(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

With these Hades 2 tips and tricks, you'll be off to a flying start on your runs through Erebus and stops at the Crossroads, gaining the skills necessary to kill Chronos. While the game starts off relatively simple, new features, weapons, incantations, and vendors quickly start appearing, so there's a lot to keep track of. Whether you're a Hades veteran or a rogue-like novice, Hades 2 can be a tricky experience with a lot going on, so it's good to go in with a helping hand. Here are 12 tips and things we wish we knew about Hades 2 when we were getting to grips with this fast-paced dive into the Underworld.

1. Death is a key part of Hades 2

Hades 2 tips death screen time cannot be stopped

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

In case you've not played Hades 1 or Hades 2 is your first experience playing a roguelike game, dying and failure is a core part of the genre, leading to gradual improvement with each death. In Hades 2 almost every failed attempt unlocks new features and mechanics for Melinoe, making the game feel like its constantly changing and responding to your learnings. Getting sent back to the Crossroads is also your opportunity to spend any resources you may have collected on your run. Unlock anything new, such as more weapons, tools, or Arcana Cards, and try things out as this may help you get a little further on your next run.

2. Prioritize Boons that improve your Attack, Special, and Cast

Hades 2 tips boons of apollo list

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Boons can fit into different slots (visible on the left side of your screen), either directly affecting one of your main abilities, such as your Special or Cast, or just providing a passive buff that broadly improves Melinoe in some way. I suggest trying to get solid options for your Attack, Special, and Cast slots early in a run to ensure your basic methods of dealing with enemies are nicely enhanced. Your Cast especially can benefit from lots of Boons, letting it create Cyclones, pull enemies together, or strike enemies with lightning. Upgraded Keepsakes from any of the main gods will really help with getting the best Boons too.

3. Hephaestus has some of the best Boons

Hades 2 tips Hephaestus volcanic boon

(Image credit: Sony)

If you want some examples of these top-quality Boons, Hephaestus might be your guy. His Volcanic Strike and Volcanic Flourish Boons add massive damage to Melinoe's Attacks and Specials thanks to some explosive blasts. These explosions can cover a wide area, hitting many targets at once too, which can really help certain Hades 2 weapons, such as the Sister Blades. They're also especially good against bosses and armored enemies, letting you strip their health with large chunks of damage every so often.

4. Spend your Magick to cast powerful Omega Moves

Hades 2 Witch's Staff weapon Omega Attack

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

When you start a run, open the Boons menu and check for any Surrounding Auras that may be active on the location. These environmental conditions can affect what collectible resources appear that may be necessary for certain Incantations or trade. For example, the Rainfall aura for Erebus means Deathcap mushrooms have a chance to appear in encounter areas, so be on the lookout for those rare fungi and other resources like them.

5. Sprinting is essential for avoiding danger

Hades 2 Melinoe sprinting from attack

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Some enemies in Hades 2, especially bosses, are much harder to pin down with your Cast or have attacks that aggressively track you or travel at speed. Since Melinoe can't rapidly Dash, you need to use her Sprint ability too. Holding the Dash button lets Melinoe move a bit faster than her usual running speed, which is often much better than just Dashing over and over. Just like with the Cast, Sprint can also be improved by Boons, with some increasing the speed to a ridiculous pace, and others adding ways for Sprint to deal damage or apply Curses and effects to enemies.

6. Focus on getting Ashes early on

Hades 2 tips Ash reward for encounter

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Hades 2 Arcana Cards are one of the main ways you can increase Melinoe's power early on Hades 2, and all of them cost varying amounts of Ashes (and sometimes other resources) to unlock. Ashes are a common reward for completing combat encounters and have a gray-ish icon, so when you're deciding which encounter to go to next, look for that.

After three or four runs, you should have enough Ashes to unlock several Arcana Cards and may have filled Melinoe's Grasp to its limit. At this point, switch your focus to getting Psyche – the green liquid icon – and spend it to increase Grasp, allowing you to activate more Arcana Cards at once. After this it's best to get a balance of Ashes and Psyche over your runs, as getting too much of one will be inefficient. Psyche is also much easier to get once you've got the Tablet of Peace or even a Familiar.

7. Search every Encounter room for resources and loot before moving on

Hades 2 mining G Rock in the mourning fields

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

After collecting your Encounter reward, take the time to have a look around for any resources or loot items, rather than running off through the next door. The Reagent Sensing Incantation helps a lot with the as Selene will guide you to mining, digging, and fishing spots, flowers, and Lone Shades that can be compelled. However, she won't guide you to Gold Coin vases, which can hold just the right amount you need to get a particular upgrade from Charon's shops. Later in the game, you need to keep an eye out for Wells of Charon, Shrines of Hermes, and Infernal Trials too.

8. Remember to switch your Gathering Tool between runs

Hades 2 gathering tools at the silver pool

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Unless you have a dire need to mine certain ores with the Crescent Pick or dig for a particular seed with the Silver Spade, you should make sure you switch your Gathering Tool between runs frequently to steadily build up an inventory of all sorts of resources. There are a lot of crafting recipes that require rare materials like Hades 2 Thalamus, Hades 2 Iron, and Hades 2 Glassrock, so I ended up using the Crescent Pick a lot, but this often meant I ran into more problems down the line as I now wouldn't have enough of a particular seed or plant. Not using the Tablet of Peace also slowed my Grasp increases and prevented me from unlocking Familiars.

9. Get a Familiar as early as possible

Hades 2 Familiar unlocked Frinos the frog

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Hades 2 Familiars are cute companions you can persuade to join you, but only once you've unlocked them with the right Incantation. While each Familiar provides their own benefits, the main ones are that they act as free tool uses for you. They can uncover resources for you only once per run, but they can do it more times with the right Familiar Bond upgrades. Frinos the frog is an especially useful Familiar as he can hypnotize Shades, getting you loads of extra Psyche per run with little effort, and you can still use the more useful Pick or Spade.

10. Don't convert all your resources into Bones

Hades 2 wretched broker pawn shop

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

The Wretched Broker's tantalizing trades means it can be tempting to convert all your Nightshade flowers and Molies into Bones to buy more Nectar and Fated Fabric, but you should hold off from doing this unless you definitely have plenty of spares or really need the Bones. Fated Fabric is a very important material to collect for early-game Incantations and crafting, so most of your Bones will go towards that, but it's better to pick them as Encounter rewards during runs and use the active Grave Thirst weapon when you can.

11. Gift Nectar to every character you find

Hades 2 nectar gift to Selene

(Image credit: Sony)

Nectar is the first gift item you'll find, and you should hand one jar of it to all the Hades 2 characters you come across, both in the Crossroads and during runs. The first time you give Nectar to any  character, they always give you a Keepsake – a useful item that provides a unique buff during a run. Early on, focus purely on giving out as much Hades 2 Nectar as possible to quickly fill out your collection, and don't give it all to just one or two characters – there will be time for romancing gods later!

12. Get the Fated Intervention Incantation as soon as possible

Hades 2 tips get Fated Intervention Incantation

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Performing Incantations at the Crossroads cauldron is the main way you'll permanently unlocknew features and upgrades that Melinoe can use during runs or in the Crossroad. One of the most important ones is Fated Intervention Incantation (it costs one Silver, two Ash, and two Molies) which appears to do nothing at first.

Attempt a run after you've performed the Incantation and then when you die, you'll see some story developments involving a new character. This will also unlock the Fated List of Minor Prophecies in the Crossroads, which is a board of challenges that can be completed for even more rewards, which can help you out a lot.

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Will Sawyer
Guides Writer

Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.