Socky's Cards and Builds to Pew Pew (2024+)

Socky's Cards and Builds to Pew Pew (2024+)


First half: cards and deckbuilding

omitted cards aren't necessarily bad or unviable

gadgets and burn cards won't be covered

in-game card descriptions aren't always accurate and the way things are calculated is convoluted

Last half: builds that I use for No Hope & Nightmare campaigns

mainly designed for quick play and playing with friends who are casual players

(ie. little to no build coordination)

you won't need all that damage for Recruit and Veteran

I'd replace a damage card for Admin Reload and/or Mad Dash (whatever is missing) some tips and tricks

Disclaimer: I mainly like playing with sniper rifles, shotguns, and pistols. All builds are designed for mouse & keyboard users.

General Build Advice

Is it an essential card, or just a decent card that would be nice to have and potentially bought for 500 copper? (there are random cards that you can buy in most levels, aka "card shrines")

Put the essential cards in your builds and leave the rest to RNG

Know what you want to do with a given build and your main weapon

Ask: "why am I taking this card instead of ___?" and "is there a better, more useful card?"

Can this card's effects be replicated by common weapon attachments instead?

Does it provide something beneficial that attachments don't? Consider what other players/bots might have or lack

Build a solid foundation to be effective at something. Then sprinkle in a few powerful cards that'll help everyone when ♥♥♥♥ hits the fan. The goal isn't to be a jack of all trades but rather to be flexible enough to adapt to chaos.

Beware of diminishing returns. You won't miss, notice, or need that umpteenth damage, mobility, money, or healing card. A mix of direct and indirect DPS, team/money cards, and mobility helps everyone survive.

Optimize damage by mix and matching different damage types, and adding indirect damage cards. Don't go all-in on weakspot, or bullet damage, or weapon-specific cards, or reload speed, etc, as your only source of DPS.

My general build template:Core cards for the role & weapon

Don't need builds specific for every Cleaner. But support/healer is best played as Doc for obvious reasons. For melee, Sharice is ideal (Heng, Holly, Doc, Evangelo are alternatives). 1 or 2 money (Copper Scavenger +/- Money Grubbers)

1 or 2 non-money cards that help everyone (Amped Up, On Your Mark, Utility Scavenger, Needs of the Many, etc)

1 or 2 mobility (Run Like Hell +/- Mad Dash)

Great Cards For Nearly Any Deck

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Amped UpArguably the most effective card. I can't think of another card where just one copy out of 60 cards in a team can have such a noticeable impact. Its absence is noticeable and sorely missed.

Everyone gets healed instantly for free - It mitigates attrition. It relieves a lot of pressure, especially in the absence of a Doc or healing items. It relieves pressure on Doc. It saves healing supplies and money.

Nothing else gives you this free healing* - You can get similar effects of many cards (damage, reload/ADS/swap/move/sprint speeds, extra lives, etc) through weapon attachments, better weapons, or burn cards. If you don't have money, you could loot Hives or use burn cards (Team Upgrade card = 1500 copper; Squad Armor = 1600 copper value). But there's no burn card, weapon, or attachment that does what Amped Up does.

There are many possible cards that you will find at card shrines, but there's only 1 Amped Up. What are the odds you'll find it?

Not dependent on incaps - Inspiring Sacrifice* gives free health regen. But Amped Up prevents players from going down in the first place. It's more versatile and useful. Less incaps = less trauma. Less incaps = more secondary objectives passed = more copper

Its effects stack - disagree that more than 1 copy is overkill.

1 is game-changing. 2 is ideal. The 3rd gives diminishing returns (limited by trauma) but worth buying. 4 is overkill (but worth buying for bots)

Fits into any deck - Not synergized by other cards. No penalties. You can support the team as a DPS player with no effort

Not affected by Pure Chaos which halves healing efficiency


Bots have Amped Up, so if you're playing with at least 1 bot, no one needs to get it

Triggers once in non-stop horde events. So for levels like The Crossing, T5, The Body Dump, you're out of luck

Take advantage of Amped Up:

Watch the horde timer (or know when a boss will spawn) and not waste healing when Amped Up will kick in soon

Intentionally trigger hordes under the right conditions to top off the team (strong positioning, Silence is Golden not active, about to exit a level, etc)

- - - - - -

Copper Scavenger

On Your Mark

Run Like Hell

Mad Dash

Admin Reload

Utility Scavenger

Needs of the Many*

Medical Professional**

Ammo For All (stacking in premade groups)

*For No Hope

**For No Hope, if Needs of the Many is present

Money Cards

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Copper is essential and versatile. You can buy team upgrades and cards which will compound over time. Higher difficulties have less copper. Not all copper cards work in Hives. Two cards is the sweet spot.

Copper Scavenger

If you only take one money card, this is the one.

It can't be bought at card shrines

Two more copper piles spawn for every player that runs it (+400 copper per card)

Wallhack vision is an overlooked benefit:

Helps quickly find easily missed copper - important because of how common timed hordes and mutations spawn on higher difficulties

Money Grubbers

Synergized by Copper Scavenger. Money Grubbers by itself generally won't give as much copper.

The wording is misleading. You don't get a max of +75 copper per level. The first copper pile picked up, everyone with Money Grubbers gets +3 copper. Then the next pile, they get +6. And then +9, etc, all the way to +75 per pile, if there are enough copper piles.

Copper Scavenger + Money Grubbers

The standard 2-card combo for money since launch

If you only take 2 cards, these are usually the ones to get*

*In a coordinated group, you could try 4 x (Copper Scavenger + Lucky Pennies)

Lucky Pennies

Synergized by Copper Scavenger. Lucky Pennies is bugged and works way better than stated. When someone gets lucky with extra copper, everyone else with Lucky Pennies also receives that amount. Lucky Pennies nets significantly more copper on average than Money Grubbers, if at least 3 players run Lucky Pennies instead.

Most people aren't aware of the Lucky Pennies bug (or don't want to abuse it). So in quick play, Money Grubbers is the safe choice.

Bounty Hunter

Gives a decent amount of copper and not dependent on looting. Works in Hives. Worth buying. Bots have it.

Share the Wealth

Doesn't trigger in Hives but nice card to buy.

If everyone puts it in their deck, you can buy a team upgrade every level. But then again, you can just use a team upgrade burn card instead of using up 4 card slots. 4 x Copper Scavenger, Money Grubbers or Lucky Pennies will give more copper in the long run.

Mobility Cards

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Mobility helps you survive especially when ♥♥♥♥ hits the fan. Sometimes you can't out-shoot your way to victory but to run instead (eg. non-stop horde events). And they make the game more fun.

I prioritize move + sprint speed over stamina cards:

Sprint speed helps kite attacks and make long jumps that wouldn't otherwise be possible

You can find free "intel" cards every level which may increase stamina

You can buy team stamina upgrades

There are more cards that affect stamina. You're more likely to find stamina cards in card shrines

Run Like Hell

Most versatile mobility card. The game feels sluggish without it.

Mad Dash

Fastest sprint card. More reliable than Run Like Hell for dodging. Pairs up nicely with Run Like Hell.

if you can only take one, either are top candidates. But I prefer Run Like Hell.

Cross Trainers, Superior Cardio, Rhythmic Breathing

Always useful and no drawbacks. Worth buying.

Cross Trainers recovers your stamina a bit faster, while Superior Cardio allows you to sprint a bit longer. Cross Trainers may be more useful overall since regen helps with bashing/melee too, and there's increased move speed. Rhythmic Breathing is the least beneficial.

Mandatory PT

Not a card I'd usually have in a deck. But in a group, having 2-3 copies is more efficient than everyone running their own Cross Trainers, Superior Cardio, or Rhythmic Breathing.

Buy - it's a cheaper and stronger team stamina upgrade.

Adrenaline Fueled

A staple melee card that's also an overlooked, fun mobility card. Regenerates stamina for run and gunning. Helps survive when running from hordes. Buy.

Marathon Runner

The speed increase is more noticeable for backpedaling. Useful for everyone. Melee players can sidestep tallboy attacks easier. It's nice to have but not a card I'd typically add unless going for some fast gunplay build.

Damage Cards

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DPS = "damage per second". Also used in short for "damage" or damage builds.

Glass Cannon

The strongest damage card - affects all types of damage, including guns, accessories, weakspot, and melee. The core of all DPS builds. Not for beginners or those with poor survival skills. Not important for Recruit or Veteran.

Some players pair it with Canned Goods to offset health loss. But Canned Goods kills your stamina at the beginning when you don't have stamina intel cards. Some then try to mitigate that by adding stamina cards, when they could take cards that benefit the team instead. Canned Goods is not a bad card to have but I'd rather take Amped Up. Canned Goods is a card I'd buy.


The strongest weakspot card. You can mitigate the slow-down effect by jumping and shooting in mid-air. This trick works better for some guns and builds.

Confident Killer

It's like a weaker Glass Cannon but without the health penalty. If you're new, I'd run this instead of Glass Cannon. You'll often reach 15% within the first 10 minutes of a level, especially if there are cultists (plentiful and easy to kill).

If you have Glass Cannon + Hyper-Focused, prioritize Confident Killer over a 3rd weakspot card. You'll do more damage overall.


One of the best damage cards but not for every gun. Helps the team destroy bosses and mutations. They'll take more damage from everything. Essential for shotgun and SMG builds. Works well with automatic pistols. Suitable for LMG when paired with Fill 'Em Full of Lead.

Marked For Death

Another great card for deleting bosses and mutations. Wherever possible, take MFD over Silver Bullets or Stock Pouch. 10% damage buff for everyone > 10% for yourself. But for ammo-intensive guns, I'd prioritize the +10% weapon damage/30% ammo card.

Underappreciated highlighting effect helps track and anticipate targets in poor visibility.

MFD is usually taken by snipers and shotgunners, so I don't usually take it in other builds.

Some people don't like taking it because they think it's a waste if someone else has it. But when playing with randoms, it's too good to pass up and to rely on someone else having it. Most people don't run it, let alone ping enemies.


Effect doesn't stack

Bots have it

If you rarely ping, don't take it

Patient Hunter

Up to +30% damage for holding right mouse button is a no-brainer for most gun builds, particularly Sniper, LMG, and AR. The buff lasts as long as you're aiming down sights. But beware - the longer you're zooming in, the higher chance for friendly fire or getting mobbed. It gives the optionality for more damage but that doesn't mean you should always lock yourself in ADS. If you have a mobile or run and gun play style, you may not get the most out of it. Useless for no-ADS builds.

Large Caliber Rounds

LCR significantly increases the number of targets a shot can penetrate and the damage to those struck. Bullet damage also increases stumbling power.

Why I prioritize Large Caliber Rounds over Silver Bullets most of the time:

tldr:Silver Bullets: if you want to min-max single-target damage

LCR: trade off a modest amount of single-target DPS for extra horde clearing DPS

With LCR, even a pistol can quickly thin out multiple ridden with good positioning. Bullet penetration can help you survive chaos and preserve ammo.

A damage calculator[] shows the benefits of having LCR, at 10m distance from target:

Glock auto without and with LCR:

AK47 without and with LCR

Tac14 without and with LCR

I mainly care about damage to the first 3 targets. The rest is just noise. Enemies in B4B rarely come single-file in a convenient straight line or in very dense groups. Even if you hold at a long narrow chokepoint, hordes come in a long, steady trickle so it's hard to penetrate more than 2 or 3 targets. Bullet penetration works best with shotguns because of the bullet spread.

Silver Bullet's extra 2.5% bullet damage won't make a noticeable difference. Within effective range*, LCR does negligibly less damage than SB against a single target but gives you versatility in horde clearing.

Silver Bullets

The main advantage of SB over LCR is the 15% effective range boost. Silver Bullets will give a decent damage boost over LCR (or any other +10% damage card except Marked For Death) outside of a gun's baseline effective range.

*Shotguns and SMGs have very short effective ranges so any range increase will increase overall DPS. SB helps kill bosses/mutations a bit faster outside baseline effective range. But long range barrel attachments are plentiful (you can find range increase from 25% to infinite with Spray'N Pray legendary). With LCR, you can forgo bullet penetration mods and get more versatile mods like +magazine size, + reload speed, +fire rate.

So if I only take 1 bullet damage card, I'd usually take LCR. I'd take SB over LCR for Act 4.

Fill 'em Full of Lead *unlock with duffel bag

Great for automatic guns with large mags (eg. LMGs).

The longer you shoot, the higher the DPS. Makes it easier to proc Shredder with LMGs. Works well with Admin Reload. But make sure you have ample reload speed (if not, Admin Reload can't keep up with super fast swap speeds). After unloading your mag, switch to your other gun (preferably another automatic) and continue filling 'em full of lead. Repeat until dead.

Ammo For All

In a premade team, 3 or 4 x Ammo For All is a lot better than everyone running their own "10% gun-specific damage/30% gun-specific ammo" card. Buy if you see it - it's a cheaper and stronger team ammo upgrade.

Indirect Damage Cards

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Indirect DPS:can't be measured or appreciated by theory and damage calculators.

Reload speed

Also increases fire rate of Barrett, Phoenix, Tac14, 870 Express Magazine size and ammo capacity

Effective range

Bullet penetration

Sniper rifles and LMGs have the best. SMGs and pistols (except Revolver and Desert Eagle) have the worst Fire rate

Positioning and timing

To optimize bullet penetration and effective range and minimizing risk of FF

Timing with your abilities (eg. activating Shredder and Marked for Death before using explosives. maximizing Patient Hunter stacks) Accuracy

Buffs/debuffs only affect hip fire - I don't run accuracy cards unless it's a no-ADS build Recoil

Not usually a concern unless there's Noxious Fumes or running a Belgian with super fast reload speed Aim and weapon swap speed

Can find attachments that increase these which is why I rarely run cards like Cocky, Tunnel Vision, Steady Aim, and Shooting Gloves No friendly fire


Buys more time to attack

On Your Mark

Multiple cards stack. It's great to have at least 1 or 2 in a team. I use it in ammo-intensive builds (pretty much anything besides snipers) to mitigate ammo depletion. All the other perks are good too. On No Hope without bots, ammo quickly becomes scarce. Not as important for Recruit and Veteran as ammo is plentiful and mutations have low health. Like Amped Up, bots have it, and it won't be of much help for non-stop horde events.

Admin Reload

Synergized by reload speed. I love this card. Anyone that says Back 4 Blood's gunplay is boring has never played a good build with Admin Reload.

A versatile card for indirect DPS, survival, and quality of life -

It reloads your guns like magic when you're doing an objective, reviving/healing, opening a crate, clearing a webbing, climbing a ladder, etc. It eliminates the need to juggle reloads between killing. Admin Reload saves lives. It's a godsend for guns with long reloads, such as sniper rifles and LMGs. As a sniper, it allows you kill commons with your secondary and then snipe mutations/bosses with a fully loaded chamber. And vice versa.

One of those cards with unique powerful effectsNote that if your swap speed is too fast, some guns may not reload in time.

Mag Coupler, Quick Kill

The core of no-ADS hipfire gun builds. Quick Kill is useful to buy as melee so you can shoot stuff.

Do not buy if you're using aim down sights!

Scattergun Skills

Great for shotgun-only builds and pairs up well with Mag Coupler and Quick Kill.

Cold Brew Coffee

Four useful perks that adds the finishing touches to any DPS build. Three of the perks can be replicated by common attachments. It's not worth taking if you barely have any DPS cards as Coffee alone isn't strong. Reload and swap speed synergizes with Admin Reload.

Front Sight Focus, Line 'em Up, and Shooting Gloves are alternatives but I think Coffee's more versatile.

Generally, if have to take one only, Coffee > Reload Drills. More benefits for -5% reload.

If using Admin Reload, Reload Drills > Widemouth Magwell. +25% swap speed instead of 10% faster reload and -5% damage resistance is worth it

Ammo Stash

It's a big practical and psychological advantage when you never have to worry about ammo. You can just focus on killing non-stop. Very useful, particularly if you're the last 1 or 2 players alive, or if The Dark corruption card is present. It'll come in clutch when the the team runs low in ammo. I like taking it in Sniper, Belgian, and SMG builds. A nice card to find and buy but not needed with bots.

The reload speed debuff is quite noticeable, so I don't suggest using it without any reload speed cards.

Empowered Assault *unlock with duffel bag

The most useful of the newest cards. Effects stack. Stumbles save lives. You can stumble snitchers on No Hope which generally can't be. Less useful on lower difficulties because you can easily kill mutations.

It's a great card but I don't think it's that important for DPS builds. Certain shotguns and snipers already have high stumbling power and you can just kill with high DPS. Everyone got by just fine before this card existed. It's worth buying at the very least. The more the merrier.

Down In Front

When you can attack without friendly fire, it can significantly increase DPS when it might otherwise be high risk. It's very powerful in cramped or chaotic situations. A lot of people swear by it. But I think it's become a crutch for many, including veteran players, who unfortunately can't play with the possibility of friendly fire.

Imagine playing a FPS where you can negate one of the biggest risks of higher difficulties by simply pressing a button.

It's overpowered and ruins the thrill and tension of No Hope, where there are no respawns. It makes the game boring. It eliminates the risk/reward decision of attacking or moving. It rewards aggressive play but also lackluster game sense, positioning, movement, and trigger discipline. Down in Front gives strong optionality but it's hardly essential. People aren't going to learn how to get better if they always use or rely on others having Down in Front.

I'm not saying you should never run it, just that you don't need it in every single build. The game becomes more rewarding and satisfying.

Support And Utility Cards

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Amped Up - covered earlier

Utility Scavenger

Versatile card that can provide a lot of value though it's RNG.

Four free utility accessories per level

The addition of bear traps to the game dilute chances of tool kit/defib/ammo spawns, lessening some of this card's value

ditto for Emergency Transfusion. Defibs aren't as important as beforecan unlock free first aid cabinet use with tool kits

On No Hope, item spawns are scarce. You'll unlikely find a tool kit or defib somewhere without someone running Utility Scavenger or going into Hives. But first aid cabinets are also less common, so even if you find a tool kit, you might not be able to use it in time.

Ammo pouches are underrated for No Hope

The effects stack like all scavenger cards

Can't be bought in card shrines

Support Scavenger

Four free healing accessories per level. Doesn't actually give defibs. Utility Scavenger is more popular; this is generally viewed as a healer/Doc card. Can't be bought.

Food Scavenger

A versatile card that synergizes with Heng's perks. But not worth taking if no Heng.

Spawns 7 food items with various perks (damage, reload/swap/melee speed, health regen, trauma heal, accuracy). Heng receives double the effect from food and also heals 1 trauma from any food that he consumes. He also receives the benefits from food that others consume. It saves him money on healing trauma. It also counters Ravenous corruption card. One of the few scavenger cards that can be found in card shrines.

Needs of the Many

Important for No Hope since everyone has one life (but not with bots as they have NOTM now). At least one person should run it. For No Hope quick play, you may want this even if you're not playing support. Sacrificing some health and a card slot so everyone gets another life can have a big impact. NOTM makes mistakes less punishing. Not important for lower difficulties.

Medical Professional

Life restore card with some trauma heal. It's a versatile card that can fit into any build. Every healer/Doc should have it. The life restore is important for No Hope if someone is running NOTM.

If you're just running Medical Professional and everyone has only one max life, it's kind of pointless. The trauma heal was nerfed to 10 (from 15).

Trauma healing is bugged now and scales off of the target's healing efficiency rather than the user's. For most players (except melee and Doc), that would be 0% and thus less beneficial than before.

It's not really worth using first aid kits solely to heal trauma unless you have blue or purple kits and/or you're healing yourself and have healing efficiency.


Strongest healing efficiency card. A core melee card.

Lost value since it boosts trauma healing only for yourself now (and because Unnatural Healing is a thing now too).

Medical Expert

Can use this in lieu of EMT Bag due to the bug. It exchanges some healing potential for a little more trauma healing. The revive speed is a bonus. It's worth buying especially if there's a Doc and/or melee on the team.

Field Surgeon

A good Doc card though not essential. Field Surgeon helps mitigate trauma build up with any healing item. It even works on Doc's free heals (field bandages). Gives extra value to bandages and pills. Spare bandages and pills can be used instead of being left behind. Improves trauma healing on first aid kits and defibs. With 1 Medical Expert and Field Surgeon, everything heals at least 4.6 trauma damage, not insignificant given how quickly trauma accumulates in No Hope.

Some argue that it's not cost efficient, that you can just run Utility Scavenger or a money card instead. That may be true, but first aid cabinets aren't always available. The tool kits are RNG. And what's the point of playing Doc if you can't mitigate trauma readily?

Group Therapy

Good Doc card to reduce chip damage since her free heals also proc Group Therapy. Adds extra heal to the initial target. Doc's perk and healing efficiency cards will affect it. Once you find Unnatural Healing, it loses some value.

Box O' Bags

Good support card

+4 slots overall > 2 slots (Shoulder Bags)

use Shoulder Bags if 1) you're playing solo or with 1 other player as bots don't benefit

2) running Needs of the Many + Glass Cannonequivalent to a team support slot upgrade, worth 1500 copperTeam gets 8 slots total from the start. May get away without spending a single copper on support slot upgrades. Going from 1 slot per player to 2 is an underappreciated game changer that gives a margin of safety. And sometimes the team support slot upgrade isn't available for purchase until deep into a campaign. Or you might not be able to afford it when it is available.

Support And Utility (cont'd)

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Use Speed >>> Revive Speed Don't take Revive Speed cards when you can have Use Speed instead

Use Speed is versatile and speeds up anything requiring holding 'E':

reviving and healing

mission objectives

opening crates

clearing Hive webs and bear traps

extinguishing flames from arrowsIt has more use besides loading up artillery in Act 1 finale.

Use Speed makes it much easier to heal or revive under pressure (eg. non-stop hordes).

Someone about to fail the secondary objective by getting incapped or dying and you saved them just in time? You just saved 2000 copper. You can pull off clutch revives without having to waste the only defib. Stepped into a bear trap and there's a tallboy on its way? Need to desperately clear webbings in the Hives? Use Speed saves lives and copper.

Headband Magnifier

Go for the best Use Speed (unless you have epilepsy or migraines). The extra speed does make a real difference. The blinding effect is short and the chance is low unless you're constantly taking damage. Sometimes I run through a few maps forgetting this was even a side effect.

If you have game sense and take initiative, Headband Magnifier is a great quality of life card that can come in clutch. I like running it as a healer or when playing offline. And I always buy it when I see it.

Naive players will laugh and scoff at Headband Magnifier, but they won't ever know or appreciate that you pulled a clutch move just in time because of it.

What's the point of carrying first aid kits if you can't use them in time during emergencies?

3 seconds to apply a first aid kit can be an eternity under pressure. Even 2 seconds for a common bandage can be a long time. Use time for bandages improve with upgrades but not for first aid kits.

With Headband, applying first aid takes a little over 1 second (2 seconds with Multitool).

Bandages and Doc's free heals become a near instant.

Fast thinking + fast use speed = life saving

Fit as a Fiddle

Gives everyone bolstered health (increased temporary health capacity). Note Sharice gives 25% team bolstered health.

Well Rested

Gives everyone overheal which converts a portion of excess healing that would've done nothing into temporary health.

Fit as a Fiddle only: can use pills even at max health with little to no trauma

Well Rested only: can get some temp health with any healing item if you have trauma

Fit as a Fiddle (or Sharice) + Well Rested: can get some temp health with any healing item regardless of how much trauma you have

To get the most out of either, you need both. They're nice to have but not essential for a Doc. On No Hope, temp health decays faster, so it's harder to justify a 2 card investment. It's more of a luxury. If there is a melee player on your team, then it would be more worth it. Buy.

Melee Cards

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A typical melee uses damage resistance and generates heals and trauma heals.

Then they either focus on:

generating vast amounts of temporary health to prevent and mask over trauma damage


maximizing trauma resistance so they don't need to rely on temporary healthOr you can run a mixed approach.

The core of a typical melee build:

Meth Head: improves melee stamina efficiency and melee attack speed. Without Meth Head. your attacks can get "stuck" (can't complete full arc of your swings) when you run out of stamina. To maintain and charge up this buff, you can bash every few seconds.

Spiky Bits + Motorcycle Helmet: 35% damage resist, and DPS increase allows you to kill commons by bashing. If you only take one, definitely take Spiky Bits.

Battle Lust: crucial for trauma healing and heals. Common ridden become your life blood.

Vanguard: heals the team and can provide temp health if someone has Well Rested

EMT Bag: improves healing/trauma healing/temporary health that you generate. Also gives more health from +heal on kill attachments.

Build your own melee:

DPS - Slugger, Ignore the Pain, Mean Drunk, Berserker

Temporary Health - Face Your Fears, Well Rested, Fit as a Fiddle

Trauma resistance - Wooden Armor, Body Armor, Durable, Fanny Pack

Trauma heal - Food Scavenger +/- Wasteland Chef (Heng), Utility Scavenger, money cards

Damage resistance - Padded Suit, Hunker Down

Acid resistance - Scar Tissue, Hazmat Specialist

Money - Copper Scavenger, Money Grubbers, Lucky Pennies

Utility - Heavy Hitter, Down in Front, Empowered Assault, Breakout, Mugger, Food Scavenger

Mobility - Marathon Runner, Hellfire, Run Like Hell, Mad Dash

Brazen and Slugger

Both are bugged and give twice the amount of stamina efficiency. Taking both gives unlimited melee stamina efficiency after attacking for a few seconds. You don't need both unless you want that extra DPS and quality of life.

Meth Head + Brazen + any weapon except axe --> can attack for a very long time

Meth Head (10 stacks) + Brazen + 1 Peanut butter + any weapon --> infinite stamina

For axe, just charge up Meth Head by punching before chopping.

Slugger only gives 5hp, not +5% hp.

Adrenaline Fueled

A staple melee card obsoleted by Brazen and Slugger both being broken.

Ignore the Pain

Great versatile card that gives DPS and unlocks another way to generate heals. All the other heals/temp heal cards require kills to proc. Ignore the Pain allows you to leech health/stamina off of mutations/bosses when you hit their unarmored parts. Sometimes there's just no commons around to heal from to sustain against mutations/bosses. Can literally allow you to ignore the pain (somewhat on No Hope), but beware of Monstrous foes.

Well Rested

Well Rested gives you temp health if:

1) you're at max available hp


2) you have trauma or bolstered health


3) you kill or

4) hit mutations/bosses (if you have Ignore the Pain)

If you have Vanguard, enemies you kill can also generate temp health for the team if they meet 1 and 2.

Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears will give you temp health as long as:

1) you're missing health

2) you kill, within 2.5m

Axe and baseball bat have a range of 2.4m

Machete, Claws, Hatchet are 2.1m

Attachments that increase melee attack range may prevent Face Your Fears from proc'ing

Well Rested vs Face Your Fears (if you only take one)

Both generate temp health but with different conditions.

Well Rested is more versatile.

Synergizes with Resonant Metal attachments (give heals on kills)

Allows Ignore the Pain to generate temp health

Allows Vanguard to give temp health to the team

team overheal, healing efficiency

no range restrictionsBut you would not be getting temp health unless you're "overhealing".

Face Your Fears provides temp health immediately after every kill.

tldr:I suggest Well Rested over Face Your Fears if running Ignore the Pain and Vanguard.

Fit as a Fiddle

Increases temp health capacity. If you can't play as Sharice, then this helps to get the most out of temp health. But note that bolstered health loses some value as you accumulate trauma - it's harder to fill up all that extra space with temp health. Temp health fills up your trauma before bolstered health.

Wooden Armor, Body Armor, Durable, Fanny Pack

Stacking trauma resistance significantly mitigates trauma build up. On No Hope, you start with -30% trauma resist (-20% on NIghtmare) and can't rely on temp health as much to prevent trauma. Damage is easily healed - trauma cannot. Not as important for lower difficulties.

Mean Drunk

For mutations/bosses. The cleave effect doesn't seem to do anything. Becomes obsolete if you find the Grim Reaper.

Heavy Hitter

Guaranteed stumbles prevents a lot of damage and save lives. You can instantly free someone from a Crusher. Also buys some time for Ignore the Pain and hitting weakspots. On No Hope, snitchers can't be stumbled without Heavy Hitter or Empowered Assault.

Scar Tissue

Strongest acid resistance card; more damage mitigation.

Food Scavenger

Synergizes with Heng. See Support and Utility cards section. Helps heal trauma damage (mainly for Heng).

Wasteland Chef

You can provide trauma heals to the team as Heng with this and Food Scavenger. With Spiky Bits, you can just punch the food to avoid friendly fire. There's a 30% chance to find Gourmet Dinner, and 40% with Combat Knife. I don't think it's worth taking Combat Knife for this when you can take a money card instead.

Weapon Mods And Other Stuff

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Temporary health: Bots no longer have Fit as a Fiddle and Well Rested -

temp health isn't as effective as before when playing with bots

On Nightmare and lower, temporary health decays about 1 hp every 1.5 seconds.

But on No Hope, it drops 1 hp every second.

Healing Efficiency affects the amount of healing (including temporary health and trauma) from:

cards that say "Efficient Healing" on hover (Medical Professional, Field Surgeon, Group Therapy, Antibiotic Ointment, Battle Lust, Vanguard, Ignore the Pain, Face Your Fears).

Doc's free heals, Holly's heal on kill

Resonant Metal attachmentsTrauma healing is bugged and scales off of the target's healing efficiency rather than the user's. So if you have healing efficiency and trauma healing cards and you heal yourself, you benefit more. But if you heal someone else without healing efficiency, they won't get as much trauma healed as you.

Miscellaneous Buy Well Fed, Ammo for All, and Mandatory PT. They're like team upgrades but cheaper and better.

+1 team slot cards are just cheap team slot upgrades with a minor drawback

Marked For Death > Silver Bullets > Stock Pouch (low value unless doing a M1A build)

3 x Mandatory PT > 4 x Cross Trainers

4 x Ammo for All > 4 x 10% gun-specific dmg/30% gun-specific ammo (Shotgun Carrier, Mag Carrier, Tactical Vest, Stock Pouch)

Weapon attachments simplified

GunsBarrel: Long Barrel - you can't go wrong with an effective range increase with any gun.

But it's most important for shotguns.

Get Spray n' Pray and shotguns become very op.

Shotguns, snipers, single shot pistols: long barrels

Automatics: recoil compensators

Magazines: can't go wrong with +magazine size or +reload speed.

stumble doesn't help with hordes or bosses

bullet damage doesn't help much with hordes

bullet penetration generally doesn't help with bosses, and you'd have more than enough with Large Caliber Rounds

"Magazine Size + Reload Speed" or "Fire Rate + Magazine Size" are the most versatile as they'll help with hordes, mutations, and bosses.

Optics: mostly preference. I prefer 2x scope for sniping and no-ADS shotguns, and holo-sight/reflex sight for everything else.

I avoid 4x scopes:

high chance of friendly fire

hard to ADS up close

can't see surroundings when zoomed in

blocks more of your hipfire view

For no-ADS builds, you still benefit from any damage bonus.

Best scope


Primary gun: ADS speed or swap speed

Pistol: Swap speed or move/sprint speed

Melee and Bow:Materials: Kills heal X health or damage resistance

Grip: Mobility or melee attack speed

Handguards: melee: damage (stumble damage for bat). bow: arrow speed or damage

Very broken and op; you can kill an ogre in 1 hit with a white melee/bow.

It obsoletes your melee DPS cards.


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Shotguns are the strongest guns. You can take on anything.

Tac14 - my go-to shotgun. Best for destroying mutations and bosses. Highest damage and stumbling ability per shot by far. Most ammo efficient shotgun - you'll rarely run out of ammo. You can have 2 Tac14 users and not be starving for ammo. Can't say the same for any other shotgun. Main downside is the tiny magazine size so it's not great for horde clearing.

870 Express - great all-rounder. Best range, 2nd highest damage & stumble damage per shot, decent magazine size for horde clearing. More ammo efficient than AA12 and Super 90. It's my second choice for shotgun.

AA12 - best shotgun for crowd control (biggest magazine size, fast fire rate/reload). Highest DPS potential but very ammo inefficient and low effective range. I usually avoid it because you'll be starving and competing for shells if there's another shotgunner. Fine for pre-made groups, and amazing for offline play.

Super90 - the worst shotgun by far. AA12 and Super90 have the worst effective range (2.5m).

I'd take a white Tac or 870 over a green Super90 any day.

My go-to shotgun build, designed for Tac14 or 870.

no ADS for point and click and less chance of FF. Plays more like boomer shooters and Left 4 Dead

you can kill a sniper from extreme range with 50% accuracy Tac14 in 1 to 3 shots

faster reload speed helps with horde clearing

versatile and can use with any Cleaner

50% accuracy is the sweet spot for shotgun accuracy. Good enough to land most of your shots at mid-range while spread's still wide enough for horde clearing. And you don't need a second accuracy card taking up space.

Empowered Assault is good but not necessary when Tac14 and 870 already have high stumbling ability and can delete mutations easily. Depending on the team composition, I'd replace Marked for Death or Amped Up for it.

Jumping backwards and shooting in mid-air will allow you to kite faster than holding S and shooting. You won't get slowed down by Hyper-Focused. But you're more likely to get friendly fired from unexpected movement.

This is not your typical Belgian-only build with Buckshot Bruiser. It's a spinoff of the previous build that uses Belgian for horde clearing and another shotgun for deleting bosses and tanky mutations.

Mom starts with a Belgian. You don't need to play as Mom though as this build is good with any shotgun and secondary until you find one.

Belgian's DPS is hamstrung by its fixed range and limited attachments (eg. no Long Barrels or +mag). Effective range is 5m.

Line 'em Up increases effective range and tames Belgian's high recoil.

Widemouth Magwell isn't used as it gives diminishing returns and nausea-inducing recoil.

Down in Front: this is one of the few times where I might suggest it simply because you have no pistol to minimize friendly fire. Replacing Run Like Hell for it is reasonable (or Amped Up if someone has it). You'll have to play more carefully without Down in Front.

Buckshot Bruiser is something you can try but I've rarely bothered with. You have to build around it to get the most use which lowers your DPS. You get the most temp health from hitting large targets but it drains fast on No Hope. Amped Up is better overall.

Take a little bit of time to line up enemies between shots.

*Not a build I'd suggest for No Hope quick play but fine for everywhere else. Very fun for offline play.

A fun, high DPS build designed for high fire rate, fast move speed while firing, and fast reload.

Gear up an AA12 with these attachments:

Compensator - recoil control and move speed while firing

Magazine size - to Fill em' full of Lead

Lightweight Stock - +10% move speed

Wandering Eye (+75% to 100% move speed while firing) - amazing

Since AA12's effective range is only 2.5m, and we're not using a long range barrel, Silver Bullets has an edge over Confident Killer most of the time. If you find Wandering Eye, you can use a long barrel instead of compensator for increased DPS while still moving fast while shooting.

Marathon Runner would be nice to have but with Rolling Thunder and most of these attachments, you'll be flying.


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One of my favourite builds.

You can also use it for any gun since none of the cards are weapon-specific. It's not a problem if you can't find a good sniper rifle.

Barrett >> Phoenix >>>> M1A

A Barrett is as powerful as a Phoenix that's a tier higher in quality. M1A is good for horde clearing with Suppressing Fire but not great for mutations.

I usually switch out Empowered Assault since Barrett/Phoenix have strong stumbling power, and everyone got by fine before this card existed.

Some other options:

Mad Dash - for Act 3 and to solo T5 if needed

On Your Mark

Food Scavenger - to play as Heng and get free trauma heals and buffs

Utility Scavenger

Lucky Pennies

Silver Bullets

Steady Aim

Ammo For All (group play)

Needs of the Many - for No Hope Quick Play

Admin Reload is a godsend if you want to be an effective sniper. It makes it effortless to kill, switch targets, etc. With an automatic pistol/belgian, large caliber rounds, unlimited ammo, decent reload/swap speed, you can horde clear and not just be a one-trick pony. The main weapon of a sniper should be their secondary, not their sniper rifle. Don't be one of those passive snipers that only sits and waits for mutations because "it's their job". You need to be able to multitask and Admin Reload lets you.

ADS and weapon swap speed attachments are plentiful, so I only use Coffee and Reload Drills. Cocky, Steady Aim, and Tunnel Vision are worth buying though. Cocky's accuracy debuff doesn't apply when you're using ADS.

Marked for Death > Silver Bullets > Stock Pouch

Take Silver Bullets instead if you know someone will run Marked for Death

Silver Bullets buffs all guns. Stock Pouch only affects sniper rifles

Range buff gives a DPS edge over Stock Pouch You won't run out of ammo for Barrett/Phoenix unless you're running Desert Eagle without Ammo Stash. So Stock Pouch's extra sniper ammo isn't that useful unless doing a M1A build.

Two is One and One is None isn't necessary. More often than not, Two is One users are starved for ammo especially on No Hope. What do you use to kill commons when there's no ammo to spare, or your team is dying and all you have is a sniper rifle? You can kill commons just fine with a secondary, good positioning, and Admin Reload. Two primaries is a friendly fire hazard. The -25% swap speed is also very noticeable.

I'd take Ammo Stash over Two is One any day. Ammo Stash gives peace of mind. It keeps you productive because you never have to worry about ammo as a sniper. It'll give you more flexibility than having that umpteenth damage card.

No aim down sights

A fun viable alternative that plays like a sniper from Unreal Tournament, Left 4 Dead, and boomer shooters. Just point and click. It's become my favorite sniping build. If you're not a fan of sniping in general, this build might change your mind.


fire deadly shots quicker. first shot advantage helps a lot against mutations with ranged attacks

allows a faster play style with greater awareness and lower chance of friendly fire because you're never zoomed in

much easier to snipe at close range (eg. breakers)

faster reload and firing rate


less max damage per shot potential (no Patient Hunter)

card intensive; less flexibility

trouble hitting small targets at extreme distances (may require a few shots to hit a tiny node at > 50m. certain map tricks are harder to do) but these are niche cases

Noxious Fumes will still be a pain

95% accuracy is sufficient for the vast majority of the time. Being able to move and shoot opens up more ways to play. You can sprint back from commons, jump, spin 180 and shoot at a mutation with accuracy. You can jump and shoot over player's heads.

I don't recommend builds with less than 95% accuracy as the shots won't be dependable for hitting weakspots. Some builds use Hunker Down and Quick Kill for 90% accuracy. They use Down in Front to synergize with Hunker Down. But this forces you to crouch and be a sitting duck every time you need to shoot. You'll get mobbed when retreating.

Don't use Cocky here, or it'll become hard to snipe when you take damage.

Why Shooting Gloves (95%) instead of Front Sight Focus for 100% accuracy:

Front Sight Focus' Aim Speed is useless here, and 10% weakspot damage isn't much

Gloves give swap speed for Admin Reload

Get 1 Peanut Butter and you'll have 100% until end of level

Gameplay tips

Ping every mutation for Marked for Death

Don't snipe commons. It's a high risk, low reward friendly fire hazard that's too slow for clearing them

You can Immediately reload after firing to cancel the slow down effect. This allows you to sprint away from danger. Swap also works but is slower with sniper rifles.

When you see an idle tallboy, aim at the weakspot, then Mark for Death and immediately shoot. If you ping it before aiming, he'll turn around, hiding the weakspot.

You can quickly destroy cars to kill mutations

Can loot and then destroy police cars from at least 28m away to prevent them from being triggered (preventative maintenance)

If you jump and snipe, you can lower the risk of friendly fire (works best with bots because they

can't jump too)

1. Kill commons with secondary gun

2. Whip out sniper for mutation/bosses

3. Swap back to secondary for commons.

4. Rinse repeat.

If you have a sniper rifle out most of the time, you're not being as effective as you could be.

Light Machine Gun

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Higher DPS and bullet penetration than ARs. Melts all enemies, but less mobile than a shotgunner, takes time to power up, and eats ammo.

M249 vs RPK

M249 - overall higher DPS. Larger magazine size and shoots faster

RPK - stronger damage and penetration per bullet. Higher recoil

LCR isn't as beneficial. Could use Silver Bullets, Shredder or Confident Killer instead

Suppressing Fire is a unique effect that slows down hordes and mutations. Any build can run Empowered Assault but not every build can take advantage of Suppressing Fire.

Some useful cards:

Down in Front


Confident Killer

Reload Drills

Steady Aim - makes Noxious Fumes less painful

Ammo for All

Empowered Assault

Two is One

Gameplay tips

One tap roaming commons and use secondary weapon to preserve ammo

Spraying makes you a sitting duck. Beware of scopes with zoom (limits field of vision)

Play as Hoffman for chance of ammo drops

Assault Rifle

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Assault rifles are jack of all trades.

AR ammo is usually highest in demand. Preserve it by tapping into all that pistol ammo you get from Ammo Belt.

AR isn't too hard to control on PC so I don't run recoil or accuracy cards.

This is also good for sniping if you can't find a good AR.

Empowered Assault is a flex card. Could try Fill 'em Full of Lead, Reload Drills, Utility Scavenger, etc instead.


M4 - lowest DPS; easiest to handle

M16 - stronger than M4; burst-fire only

AK-47 - well-rounded; a little weaker than Scar but easier to handle

Scar - highest DPS; high recoil, slowest reload

Ranch Rifle - like a weaker M1A but faster fire rate and more ammo capacity

Some useful cards:

Ammo for All

Ammo Stash

Fill 'em Full of Lead - worth buying if you get a +magazine size

Reload Drills

Shredder - AR shoots too slow to proc well (it's a buy card)


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Fast move speed while firing, fast fire rate with little downtime and backed up by a large amount of ammo. The amount of bullets you can fire makes up a bit for the lack of sheer power. SMGs have low DPS, so this is designed to be a fun gunslinger to clear trash and non-tanky mutations and softening up mutations with Shredder.

Use Tec 9 with SMG of your choice. Tec 9 preferred over Glock Auto because it counts as an SMG and is affected by Speed Demon (+35% reload speed, +4% move speed).

Vector - fastest rate of fire, lowest recoil, smallest clip. Laser beam that literally goes brrrrrr.

UMP - highest damage, penetration, stumble per bullet. But small clip, slow rate of fire, reload, and slowest move speed

MP5 - well-rounded attributes. Second largest mag size.

Uzi - largest mag size, weakest damage per bullet. Both Uzi and MP5 have fastest move speed.

You won't be going brrrrr until you start getting attachments:

Compensator - recoil control and move speed while firing

Magazine size - to Fill em' full of Lead

Lightweight Stock - +10% move speed

Wandering Eye (+75% to 100% move speed while firing) - amazing

You can move and spray to propel yourself faster than sprinting.

if you don't care about move speed while firing, replace Hellfire and Marathon Runner.

SMG eats ammo like crazy. Ammo Stash conserves all the ammo from Ammo Belt and Mag Carrier for the primary SMG, while ensuring no killing downtime. The more ammo you have, the more ammo On Your Mark gives. On Your Mark also boosts move speed while firing.

Cold Brew Coffee is a good alternative to Speed Demon and allows you to benefit from Glock Auto.

If playing with someone with Shredder, you can replace it with Confident Killer.

Patient Hunter doesn't work as well here. Reaches 1 stack, sometimes 2 at the end of a clip. I'd only buy it. SMGs have decent hipfire accuracy so you don't need to ADS at close range. Unless you're aiming at a weakspot, you can get away with hipfire at close range (10m) to kill commons.

There are SMG builds that use Power Swap. I find Power Swap finicky to use and unreliable. I prefer cards that are set and forget so I can focus on other things. If you forget to use it or can't proc it half the time, you might as well use something consistent like Confident Killer, Marked for Death, or Silver Bullets.

Some useful cards:

Confident Killer

Cold Brew Coffee, Front Sight Focus, Shooting Gloves

Energy Drink


Empowered Assault


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Support builds are always the most contentious.

There are different ways to play support, ranging from pure healer to something with as little as Needs of the Many, Amped Up, and Medical Professional. There are also niche builds that focus on pills and temporary health, and even using Heng to create Gourmet Meals.

Dedicated healing or support builds aren't necessary to beat No Hope. All the power creep and bugs have made it more forgiving to play with less support. Healing builds have lost some value because of:

Cursed Key

Legendary first aid kits

Free legendary intel: Unnatural Healing, Emergency Transfusion

Amped Up, Utility Scavenger

Break Time (fast life regen, no trauma)


Lucky Pennies bug

Medical Professional nerf and trauma healing efficiency bug

Powerful cards that you can find for free, introduced in one of the final updates.

The No Hope quick play meta revolves around Needs of the Many, Medical Professional, Amped Up, money cards, and the rest mostly DPS. Can't count on others to bring the most useful cards. Kill things before they kill you.

That said, healers are still viable and can be fun to play if you have a decent team that can make up for your lack of firepower.

A versatile healer build with some of the most important support cards and some DPS for any gun. A Doc that's better at killing/stumbling can prevent a lot of damage. You'll have a better chance of survival amidst all the chaos if you don't have teammates with good DPS.

Recommended guns:

Tac14 - easy to play, ammo efficient, high damage/stumble per shot, some horde clear ability

Barrett or Phoenix - ammo efficient, high damage/stumble per shot

M1A - crowd control; can 1 tap commons. fast fire rate

The Witness (legendary M1A) - Marked for Death on steroids

For those that like to play pure support, this has something for everyone. Big heals and more options to heal trauma: tool kits, bandages/pills, money. The best 3 copper cards. Ammo replenishment and indirect DPS support.

For Nightmare and under: Needs of the Many is not necessary so it and Lucky Pennies are swapped for Fit as a Fiddle / Well Rested for creating big temp health.

Amped Up - any one can run it, but most people don't. It's bizarre seeing Docs in quick play that don't run Amped Up when it's a healer's best friend.

Headband Magnifier - controversial pick for anything but Act 1. Use speed has more use/value than simply loading up artillery in Act 1 as mentioned before. First aid kits only take 1 second to apply. Revives also speed up. You can replace it if not playing Act 1.

Magician's Apprentice - reuse chance works on everything including legendary accessories.

Some useful cards:

Experienced EMT

Run Like Hell

Admin Reload

Fit as a Fiddle and Well Rested - more of a luxury for No Hope; unless playing in a coordinated group with melee or temp health builds, these are more of a buy than deck cards. If there is Sharice, you can just get Well Rested.

Poultice - okay to buy but obsolete once you find Unnatural Healing

Combat Medic, Charitable Soul, Smelling Salts, or Rousing Speech -

They're okay cards to buy, but there are better cards to have in your deck. Why have Charitable Soul when you can have Amped Up or Group Therapy? Why Combat Medic/Smelling Salts when you can have Headband? If you want revive speed, go for the best Use Speed. Or use Medical Expert for its other benefits.

Gameplay tips

Watch horde timers and take advantage of Amped Up before wasting supplies or free heals

Doc's free heals trigger Group Therapy and Field Surgeon. With EMT Bag, you can heal at least 50 to the target (2 blocks of health)

Save your free heals until later when healing accessories become scarce

You can use spare defibs to heal trauma when reviving

If you don't have Use Speed, you can use defibs to revive someone quickly in an emergency

(eg. to secure secondary objective where all cleaners have to survive, if someone gets incapped at the last few seconds. An example of how a smart player with Headband can clutch things.)

Don't rush to revive if it'll endanger you, or if they're just going to die again (eg. on acid or fire). Kill threats or make sure you have backup. Move the camera around when you're reviving. Use smoke, bait jars, etc if you have to

Support/DPS hybrid builds for No Hope quick play.

Powerful set and forget team cards do the work so you can focus on killing. These aren't healer builds. These are for experienced players who can handle having -40% max hp with cards to counter/compensate for the unpredictability of No Hope quick play.

For Heng, you can try Food Scavenger instead of Reload Drills or Shell Carrier.


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The classic melee relying on temporary health to sustain and protect. Very strong for Nightmare and lower. You become a vampire that can leech health off anything you hit.

Temp health decays faster on No Hope. It's still viable - just less forgiving if you don't have many commons to kill (eg. your team kills everything). You can't just hold w + m1 anymore.

Fit as a Fiddle can be substituted if playing as Sharice or if someone else is.

Get Resonant Metals (+heals on kill) to make it easier for Well Rested to work.

A versatile, team-oriented build for any difficulty. There are tankier or higher DPS builds, but the upgrades/cards/heals you can afford here compounds over time. Wooden Armor negates the -30% trauma resist of No Hope. Beware of lobbers and Monstrous crones.

High trauma resistance with some temp health potential. More forgiving for No Hope.

For best results with any of these builds, play as Sharice and have Doc on the team (+team trauma resistance). To optimize as Heng, replace Slugger with Food Scavenger.

Cleaner choice

Sharice is ideal. She has built in Fit as a Fiddle and trauma resist. The free armor spawns are invaluable when Cost of Avarice isn't present. She also starts with an axe which is OP if you have unlimited stamina.

Heng is also strong with Food Scavenger. He gets food buffs, and every food he eats heals trauma. Increased food spawn helps counter Ravenous.

Holly is good for sustain though anyone can get heals per kill from Resonant Metals now.

Doc gives 20% team trauma resistance and has 15% healing efficiency which makes her useable.

Evangelo has free Breakout but everything else is inferior.


Machete, iron claws, and baseball bat are great for horde clearing.

Bat is great at crowd control. it has lowest single-target DPS but highest stumble power and wide arc and long range. With Heavy Hitter and a stumble mod, you can stumble mutations repeatedly.Axe is the best for killing mutations/bosses. Melee stamina bug makes it viable for horde clearing and overall strongest melee.

Hatchet is like a weaker axe with faster swings and narrow arc.

Gun - shotgun or The WItness (high hipfire accuracy)

Grim Reaper attachment turns the game into a joke.

Gameplay tips

Charge up Meth Head by bashing before combat. Bash occasionally to maintain the stacks.

Kill commons to heal trauma, generate health and potentially temporary health

If you don't have Down in Front:

Bash commons when near others

Minimize crouching when attacking so people know not to go too close or shoot near you

Stand perpendicular to the doorway so you can see if teammates are approaching the door

It's a good idea to let people know in advance whether you have Down in Front Circle strafe Crushers from your right when you hear their grunt

Fists Only

When you're bored and want to hold W and M2 and somehow still have the most health and least trauma.

Playing With Bots

It can be a lot easier to play with bots than with the average player. Bots have a lot of health and don't take trauma unless a player takes over them. They don't waste money and they give all their money to you. They also run many powerful team cards that the average player neglects.

Bots have:

Needs of the Many

Amped Up

On Your Mark

Ammo For All

Marked for Death

Inspiring Sacrifice

Well Fed

Medical Expert

Bounty Hunter

Silver Bullets

Large Caliber Rounds

Take risks early on and enter Hives for tons of loot.

You can trigger hordes to abuse Amped Up to heal everyone. This is important to maintain secondary objectives for 0 incaps. It sounds counterintuitive, but you can easily fend off the horde with good DPS and positioning.

If a bot has a tool kit, go in front of the stash room and spam ping until the bot opens it. Everyone needs to gather in front of the door. Get the bot to use theirs to save your own for free heals.

It's cheaper to burn a Group Hug as a stopgap rather than using first aid kits/Medical Professional to restore bot lives. Restore bots' lives in the stash room. They get unlimited uses for free with a cooldown period.

Bots are terrible against bosses so do have strong DPS. For melee, I'd get Mean Drunk (or hope to find Grim Reaper attachment).

Offline Nightmare/No Hope

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You can easily beat Nightmare in offline mode to unlock Zwats. You can use the same build for every Cleaner.

Expect an extra boss for most levels on No Hope.

Trauma will be your main enemy. There are fewer first aid cabinets on No Hope. They're usually only found in the stash rooms.

If you do Hives, you'll have lots of copper even if you fail secondary objectives.

Cost of Avarice is a trap if you load up early in the level. All that warped copper will go towards your medical bills.

If you're still struggling with bots, try taking Needs of the Many for the extra bot lives.

You can restart the Act until you get the bots you want.

eg. for Act 1 and 6, you can restart until there's Karlee for Use Speed.

Tala and Sharice are great to have. Make sure at least one bot has a tool kit.

A versatile shotgun build for No Hope Sufficient damage with fast reload speed - melt mutations, bosses, and hordes. Bots will provide unlimited ammo so just keep pewpewing everything with shotgun. Admin Reload ensures no DPS downtime. Two is One and One is None is not needed at all.

Versatile accuracy - 50% is a great all-purpose accuracy for shotguns. Sufficient for mid-range. Spread is not too narrow for horde clearing. You can even kill snipers at extreme ranges with 1 - 3 shots.

No ADS; hipfire - for simple point and click, Left 4 Dead style gameplay. Be effective quicker without sacrificing peripheral vision/situational awareness.

Very fast Use Speed - to do objectives, revive bots, apply first aid, clear Hive webs, etc. It'll come in clutch. Don't underestimate how important it is to quickly pick up bots with full life bars in an emergency.

Fast mobility - for quality of life, and survival in non-stop horde events such as Pain Train,

Abandoned, T5 and Body Dump.

Admin Reload - optional since you have unlimited ammo and can just use shotgun to destroy everything. But it's quality of life and can come in clutch. Replace with Fill 'em Full of Lead if planning to main AA12.

Copper Scavenger - to find all the copper quickly

Double Grenade Pouch - sometimes you go through a campaign without being able to buy any Team Offensive Slot Upgrades which can be a pain. This card also saves you 3000 copper on slot upgrades. Paying 3000 for +2 slots for yourself is poor value.

Medical Professional - this is more useful for No Hope as bots don't respawn. On Nightmare, there are more first aid cabinets and each one has a free heal.

Can use any shotgun though I don't recommend Super 90. AA12 is amazing in offline mode because you have unlimited ammo.

Get range barrels, magazine size/reload, move/sprint speed attachments.

Sniping - harder but more satisfying

Act 3

Shotgun - you can replace Admin Reload for Cross Trainers/Superior Cardio for more comfort with T5 and Body Dump.

Instagib - you can replace Silver Bullets with Mad Dash to help with T5

Move + sprint speed attachments help a lot.

T5 Mansion

Wires help but aren't required. With limited wires, it's best to place them on the main staircase.

With 2 mobility cards, it's very doable if you learn how to loop around the mansion to control the crowd. Watch Youtube for solo'ing T5 and you'll get ideas. Practice moving around T5 on Recruit checkpoint. T5 is all about having a process and following it. Before the event starts, you can shoot down certain doors, and place spare accessories on the truck or some other convenient spot along your looping path. Avoid killing stuff that aren't in your way as this can cause more to spawn ahead of you.

Using bait jar on the ogre can help kill two birds with one stone.

Don't bring pain meds or you might die from attrition. Bring bandages or first aid kits instead. You can apply those big heals easily thanks to Headband Magnifier.

Or just play melee ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Act 4

Bring bandages instead of pills or you might die from attrition. First aid kits might take too long to use during the last part.

Youtube for positioning and strategy. When the boss starts moving away, stay near the entrance of the giant cavern and wait for two of the weakspots to appear. After destroying those, run along the left side and you should see the other weakspot eventually.


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There's no such thing as the perfect or best build.

The beauty of Back 4 Blood is all the builds that you can try. Experiment!

Adapt and tweak to your play style, preferred gun, who you're playing with, and the campaign/difficulty.

Consider Amped Up and Admin Reload. They have unique powerful effects. They'll save more asses than that umpteenth damage, mobility, copper, or healing card ever will.

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Thanks for reading. I hope my guides have helped you enjoy Back 4 Blood.


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