Best Helldivers 2 loadouts for beating the toughest enemies

Helldivers 2 Flamethrower
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Building the best Helldivers 2 loadouts with meta weapon and Stratagem picks will help you scrape through the most extreme missions where enemies are endless and brutal. But even when you're not playing at the toughest levels, bringing along some devastating and versatile weaponry is never a bad idea. As updates and new weapons change up the meta in Helldivers 2, you'll always want to be experimenting to find a loadout that works for you and is both fun and effective.  

However, with so many viable options in the Helldivers 2 sandbox, it can be hard to know which weapons and equipment pair well together and what makes a good team composition, including which team-wide Helldivers 2 Booster you should pick. To help you fight effectively with the best weapons, Stratagems, and more, I've laid out several impactful Helldivers 2 meta loadouts, even when you're braving the highest difficulties.

Best Helldivers 2 meta loadout

Helldivers 2 Gunship exploding and shot down

(Image credit: Sony)

This meta loadout should see you through missions on the highest Helldivers 2 difficulties – Suicide Mission, Impossible, and Helldive – as it packs some great Stratagems and the best weapons for bugs and bots alike. Unfortunately, some of the best stuff isn't unlocked until you near level 20, namely the Shield Generator Pack, and the Sickle laser primary weapon can only be unlocked by spending Medals in the Helldivers 2 Cutting Edge Warbond.

Though overall, it offers versatility through solid protection and powerful weapons for bringing down heavily armored Helldivers 2 enemies. Here's the best Helldivers 2 loadout:

  • Primary: Sickle energy weapon
  • Secondary: Redeemer pistol or Grenade Pistol
  • Grenade: High Explosive or Stun
  • Armor: Any light or medium armor (the passive perk is up to you)
  • Stratagems: Quasar Cannon + Personal Shield Generator + any two of the following: Orbital Railcannon Strike, Orbital Laser, and Eagle 500kg Bomb

The Sickle is a standout all-rounder now and should definitely be in your loadout if you're got Cutting Edge. It's perfect for any sitation with its amazing accuracy, good fire rate, and theoretically infinite ammo. The new Helldivers 2 Democratic Detonation Grenade Pistol is also a decent option, especially if you're using Stun grenades as it'll let you retain some explosive firepower. Round it all off with the almighty Quasar Cannon and you'll be onto a winner.

When it comes to the best Helldivers 2 Stratagems for this meta loadout, you've got a bit of flexibility here. The Orbital Railcannon Strike is supremely powerful, capable of taking out every enemy type in a single hit, except for Helldivers 2 Bile Titans. The Orbital Laser is another excellent choice thanks to its power and duration but be aware of its long cooldown and limit of three uses per mission. Finally, the Eagle 500kg Bomb is great for quickly dropping on a busy area to obliterate clusters of weaker enemies or even take out some heftier ones.

However, if you're playing a more defense-based mission – perhaps one that's part of a Helldivers 2 Defense campaign – you should consider swapping one for a sentry turret, such as the EMS Mortar, Gatling, or Autocannon Sentries. You could even use this loadout for Helldivers 2 solo missions, though I wouldn't recommend playing alone at these difficulty levels.

Even though this could be considered the best possible loadout, it's not something that all players should use to guarantee mission success. Helldivers 2 has a massive weapon sandbox, with plenty of weapons having their own uses – some perform extremely well against either the Terminids or Automatons in different ways. To suit your team's loadouts to the mission and enemy type at hand, I've devised some top-tier loadouts for specifically killing each of the Helldivers 2 factions.

Best Helldivers 2 Terminid loadout

Helldivers 2 Hunter terminid bug climbing on rock

(Image credit: Sony)

The Helldivers 2 Terminids mainly use swarming tactics and melee attacks, seeking to overwhelm teams of Helldivers with pure numbers and ferocious claws. They’re generally not as well armored as the Automatons and feature a lot of dangerous but fragile units that are susceptible to fire. Here's a good meta loadout for killing Terminids in Helldivers 2:

  • Primary: Breaker Incendiary shotgun, or Sickle energy weapon
  • Secondary: Redeemer pistol
  • Grenade: High Explosive or Stun
  • Armor: Any light or medium armor (the passive perk is up to you)
  • Stratagems: Flamethrower + Personal Shield Generator or Guard Dog/Rover + Orbital Laser or Orbital Railcannon Strike + Eagle 500kg Bomb or Eagle Napalm Strike

The Flamethrower is an excellent choice for roasting the bugs as they're vulnerable to fire damage, including armored bugs like Helldivers 2 Chargers. Take the Personal Shield Generator to protect yourself from bile and other attacks, or one of the Guard Dogs for extra bug zapping, and you'll have a pretty solid loadout. On top of that either High Explosive or Stun grenades work well here. With recent buffs, the Eagle Napalm Strike Stratagem is great choice for dropping on Bug Breaches to burn them out before they become too much of a problem.

Variety is key, however, so this Helldivers 2 loadout shouldn't be used by all four team members – four Flamethrowers would be quite ridiculous after all – but it's good for one or two people to pack to ensure swarms and many of the tougher enemies are dealt with. Other players can then use dedicated anti-armor weapons, such as the Autocannon, Quasar Cannon, and Recoilless Rifle, the latter two of which can kill Chargers in one shot by exploding their head.

Best Helldivers 2 Automaton loadout

Helldivers 2 Automaton Annihilator Tank firing cannon

(Image credit: Sony)

Dealing with the Helldivers 2 Automatons requires hard-hitting weaponry that can be fired at a variety of ranges. Thankfully, there are quite a lot of options here when it comes to effective bot-killing weapons, but the latest laser weaponry seems to the standout choice for now. Here's what I recommend for the best Helldivers 2 Automaton loadout:

  • Primary: Plas-1 Scorcher or Sickle energy weapon
  • Secondary: Redeemer pistol or Grenade Pistol
  • Grenade: Stun
  • Armor: Any light or medium armor (the passive perk is up to you)
  • Stratagems: Quasar Cannon + Personal Shield Generator + Orbital Railcannon Strike, Orbital Laser, or Eagle 500kg Bomb

Currently, the Quasar Cannon feels like the best choice for fighting the Automatons. One shot focused directly on the eye slit of Helldivers 2 Hulk is enough to bring it down, and it can also destroy Gunships in a single shot. Arguably the most important aspect of the weapon is that it doesn't take up a backpack slot, which means you can still use the Personal Shield Generator for more protection from Automaton guns. Stun grenades are also a great choice against the bots as they'll buy you valuable time to run, recover, or line up a killing blow. And while you can't chuck them into vents to blow up Fabricators, a Quasar Cannon shot at just the right spot or a 500kg bomb will do the trick there.

As ever, it's still a good idea for one or two team members to use something a little different. For example, swapping out the Quasar Cannon and shield pack for a Spear will provide good anti-vehicle and anti-structure firepower, with the Spear being perfect for destroying Helldivers 2 Gunships, Fabricators, and Tanks. The Autocannon is also a great substitute for the Quasar Cannon if you're yet to unlock it. Finally having at least one person with High Explosive grenades will be useful in a pinch.

Best Helldivers 2 loadout for beginners

Helldivers 2 anti-materiel rifle aiming through scope at automaton robot

(Image credit: Sony)

Some of the best loadout options that are currently top of the Helldivers 2 meta aren't available until level 15, or even level 20, which can take a while to reach. While you try to level up fast in Helldivers 2, there are some solid alternatives and less powerful Stratagems you can unlock for lower difficulty missions, so I've created a loadout using only weapons and Stratagems unlocked before level 10 and no premium Warbonds. Broadly, I recommend choosing one Support Weapon Stratagem, one Orbital Offensive Stratagems, one Eagle Offensive Stratagem, and one Sentry Defensive Stratagem:

  • Primary: Liberator assault rifle
  • Secondary: Redeemer pistol
  • Armor: Any medium armor
  • Support Weapon Stratagems: Anti-Materiel Rifle, Stalwart, Recoilless Rifle, Grenade Launcher
  • Offensive Stratagems: Eagle Strafing Run, Eagle Cluster Bomb, Orbital Gas Strike, Orbital Precision Strike, Orbital 120mm HE Barrage
  • Defensive Stratagems: Gatling Sentry, Mortar Sentry

With lots of useful Stratagems available, it's a good idea to ensure you and your allies choose a variety to ensure you can tackle any foe in the low-to-medium difficulties. You need armor-penetrating and explosive weapons and Stratagems to deal with boss-type enemies, but also some that can deal with swarms of weaker foes.

Once you reach level 10, you can get things like the Autocannon, Orbital 120mm HE Barrage, Eagle 110mm Rocket Pods, and both Guard Dogs, which are all useful Stratagems to have in the moderate and upper difficulties, helping you get closer to the best possible loadouts in Helldivers 2 by level 20.

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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.