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Darkest Dungeon 2 best team and character choices

Darkest Dungeon 2 best teams characters
(Image credit: Red Hook Studios)

The Darkest Dungeon 2 best team will make a huge difference to the way you play, putting four of the best characters together to form a cohesive unit that all support and reinforce each other. By building the best team and emphasising certain strategies, you can create a powerhouse group that can tackle all the cultists and undead Darkest Dungeon 2 can throw at you.

It's worth keeping in mind that we've written this guide on the best teams in Darkest Dungeon 2 while the game is still in Early Access, but don't worry - we'll be sure to update it accordingly as updates add new layers and balances to the combat system. It's also true that certain characters might be a little less viable than others depending on location: if you're fighting fiery enemies from lava caverns, the Runaway's burning powers won't be quite so special.

Of course, if you want to know how to use these heroes as effectively as possible, check out our Darkest Dungeon 2 tips page to find out all the best ways to suffer.

Darkest Dungeon 2 best team and character choices

Darkest Dungeon 2 best teams characters

(Image credit: Red Hook Studios)

The best team we found was one that basically covered every base and played more defensively than aggressively, giving you a robust longevity to endure right to the end. One or two characters are actually focused on damage, while the others support them and prevent all the various horrible afflictions that can bring the team down. If there are better teams than this one, we haven't found them:

  • Front rank: Leper
  • Middle-right: Man-at-Arms
  • Middle-left: Jester
  • Back rank: Plague Doctor

Each of these characters has a specific role to play within the group, but also has enough versatility in their move pool and skills to serve outside of their main skillset. We'll go through them all below, as well as potential replacement classes if you don't like the versions the game has provided you.

Leper

Darkest Dungeon 2 best teams characters

(Image credit: Red Hook Studios)

Pros: Massive melee damage, self-healing, very durable
Cons: Useless if moved out of front ranks, low accuracy
Could be replaced by: Hellion, Runaway

Strategy: The Leper was known for being an overpowered class in the original Darkest Dungeon, and very little has changed. He has a lot of health, abilities that self-heal both his HP and stress levels, and his melee attacks do ridiculously high damage to the front two rows of enemies - maybe more than any other class.

Here the strategy is simple: everybody else keeps the Leper alive and functional while he mows down the opposition with huge sword strikes. The only downside is that the Leper's abilities can lower his accuracy, but his Reflection skill can lift that debuff, and by equipping items that also fix this to all your characters, you can keep him powerful. His brawny health also means he can withstand a lot of punishment, so you don't need to worry about him too much.

Man-at-Arms

Darkest Dungeon 2 best teams characters

(Image credit: Red Hook Studios)

Pros: Excellent tank, can defend others, abilities ensure he can get back to the front ranks if moved
Cons: Poor self-healing power, requires regular support when tanking
Could be replaced by: Leper, maybe? Frankly, nobody else can properly do what the Man-at-Arms does

Strategy: The Man-at-Arms is here to get beaten up. He has a great deal of health, and his Defender skill is a vital one that allows him to take another character's damage for several turns - as well as boosting his own defence at the same time. Trigger that on any ally who's about to go down, then use your healing classes to keep him alive and well. His Crush skill can do decent damage to the front three rows, and he has multiple skills to take him back to the frontline if he should get pushed out-of-place.

Jester

Darkest Dungeon 2 best teams characters

(Image credit: Red Hook Studios)

Pros: Manoeuvrability, Stress Heal, Bleeds enemies
Cons: Attacks force him to keep shuffling about, lacks serious offensive power
Could be replaced by: Occultist, Grave Robber, Highwayman

Strategy: The Jester is probably the class you can most get away with swapping around, except for one thing: the ability to heal Stress is a massive advantage. Considering how badly things tend to go after a character suffers a Meltdown, being able to prevent that is a huge boost that changes the way the game is played.

With the Jester in your team, you want to keep them in the back two rows, focused on Bleeding and attacking enemies, not to mention playing soothing music to any allies who start to look too twitchy. If the Man-At-Arms or the Leper gets forced backwards where they can't help, the Jester can dive back while inflicting damage on enemies at the same time, forcing the front-rank fighters forward again.

Plague Doctor

Darkest Dungeon 2 best teams characters

(Image credit: Red Hook Studios)

Pros: Healing, status cures, status afflictions, ranged attacks 
Cons: Low health, poor front row fighter, does damage over time rather than quickly
Could be replaced by: Occultist, but not really - the Plague Doctor's too good to swap out

Strategy: The Plague Doctor is your main support class, healing allies of both damage and afflictions while lobbing toxic explosives at the enemy that Blight and Blind them. Frankly, adventuring without a Plague Doctor feels ridiculous, as their extreme versatility means they have something for every situation. Big enemy? Blight them and watch their health drain. Opposition got their own healers? Throw poison at the back two ranks. Being attacked at range by artillery-focused foes? Trigger Blinding Gas to cripple their accuracy. Allies struggling to keep their blood inside them? Battlefield Medicine will pick them up.

The Plague Doctor's main priority is keeping their team alive, and if everybody's fine, inflicting various status effects on the bigger enemies that wear them down and tax their Deathblow Resistance saves. You'll never do huge damage in one go, but by stacking Blight effects you can end up doing over a dozen damage to an enemy every turn.

Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.