Heretic is the only secret playable character in Risk of Rain 2. The Heretic is a powerful scaling character who can only be played by obtaining several Lunar items, slowly transforming your current survivor into the Heretic.
How To Unlock Heretic in Risk Of Rain 2
Unlocking the Heretic is partially based on luck since transforming your survivor into the Heretic requires gathering all four of her Lunar items. The item set includes the following:
- Visions of Heresy
- Hooks of Heresy
- Strides of Heresy
- Essence of Heresy
Obtaining any of these items swaps out your survivor’s abilities for one of the Heretic’s abilities, which are all tied to these items. You cannot permanently unlock the Heretic, but if you enjoy playing them, you must seek out her Lunar items in every run you wish to play her.
How to Use Heretic’s Unique Abilities
Passive – Nevermore
Nevermore is Heretic’s Passive in Risk of Rain 2. It exists in all four of her skills. This passive has no meaningful effect, only emitting a quiet squawk when one of her skills is used. This passive usually is not seen by the player since it requires the four Heresy skills needed to transform into her.
The meaningful part of her passive has no direct name, but when fully transformed into the Heretic, the player gains a high amount of base movement speed, vastly more base health than any other base survivor, and she can triple jump.
However, her massive downside is negative health regeneration, causing her to lose health over time, which requires prioritizing healing items to stay alive while playing as the Heretic. You may also temporarily use her Utility to bypass this negative effect since it heals her when active.
Related Article: How to Unlock and Use the Huntress in Risk of Rain 2
Primary – Hungering Gaze
Hunger Gaze is the Heretic’s primary ability granted by the Visions of Heresy Lunar item. It causes your primary ability to fire a flurry of tiny tracking shards that detonates for 120% base damage. Hunger Gaze does a small amount of direct damage, but the shards explode after a small delay. Even if you aren’t going for a run with Heretic, this ability is outstanding to get on Survivors with mediocre primaries.
Secondary – Slicing Maelstrom
Slicing Maelstrom is Heretic’s secondary ability granted by the Hooks of Heresy Lunar item. When used in Risk of Rain 2, Heretic charges up a small maelstrom which deals 875% damage per second to nearby enemies. After the projectile has been active for three seconds, it detonates, dealing 700% base damage and rooting enemies hit by blast. Slicing Maelstrom recharges after five seconds, and the charging speed scales with attack speed.
Utility – Shadowfade
Shadowfade is Heretic’s Utility skill, granted by the Strides of Heresy Lunar item. Heretic becomes intangible and gains 30% movement speed while healing for 18% of your maximum health for three seconds. While Shadowfade is active, Heretic can fly if the skill is used midair, and the invulnerability period can be canceled early.
Related Character Guide: How to Play and Build REX in Risk of Rain 2
Specials – Ruin
Ruin is Heretic’s Special ability granted by the Essence of Heresy Lunar item. While dealing damage, you passively gain stacks of Ruin for ten seconds. Activating the skill detonates all stored Ruin stacks at an unlimited range, dealing 300% base damage plus an additional 120% damage per Ruin stack.
Damage-over-time will not inflict Ruin, making direct damage only apply Ruin stacks.
The Best Heretic Build in Risk of Rain 2
Heretic is just like Void Fiend in the manner of being unable to have alternate choices for her abilities – Except the abilities do change slightly for each stack of the lunar item that provides them. Each stack of Visions of Heresy provides 12 more shards to Hungering Gaze but adds 2 seconds to the time it takes to fully reload.
Hooks of Heresy adds 3 seconds to the root from the explosion and 5 seconds to the cooldown of Slicing Maelstrom. Shadowfade is the only ability in the set that has no cooldown delay from stacking and only gets more healing and more invulnerability time per stack of Strides of Heresy. Essence of Heresy adds 8 seconds to the cooldown but adds 10 seconds to the life of each stack of Ruin.
We don’t recommend stacking many Lunar Items in your Risk of Rain 2 Heretic build unless you have multiple Strides of Heresy. The long recharge time between uses of abilities can be waited off while invulnerable.
Heretic benefits from most items, specifically Items that provide her with Armor, Mobility, Attack Speed, and Cooldown Reduction. The best item to take on Heretic by far is probably the Hardlight Afterburner, as it provides her with three total charges of her invulnerability move, cutting the cooldown of Shadowfade to a third of what it currently is.
Related Guide: How to Use Transcendence in Risk of Rain 2
Tips & Tricks to Playing with Heretic in RoR2
- In Risk of Rain 2, Heretic’s negative health regeneration is not considered taking damage. Making items like Repulsion Armor Plate or Razorwire unable to activate from Heretic’s usual health decline.
- If one Heresy item is removed, the corresponding skill is replaced with Nevermore. If one Heresy item is cleansed, the ability it grants is only resorted by obtaining the same Lunar item. This also includes the items consumed by Egocentrism, a death sentence to the Heretic.
- Heretic’s negative health regeneration will kill her, making fall damage now fatal unless prevented by using Shadowfade at the right time.
- If Captain is transformed into the Heretic, the Defensive Microbots passive will still be active, allowing Heretic to destroy projectiles.
- Since Heretic has three jumps, Wax Quail provides massive additional air mobility.
- Obtaining at least two Cautious Slugs is enough to offset the negative health regeneration outside combat.
- Taking Transcendence on the Heretic removes her negative health regeneration problem.
Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Unlock and Play with Heretic in Risk of Rain 2
Heretic is a rare and hard-to-unlock Risk of Rain 2 Survivor that can only be obtained in the middle of a run. Yet, she has a unique playstyle that is hard to describe fully. The Heretic in RoR2 is based entirely on the ability to burst massive damage in one window before fleeing and getting all of her health back. While she is hard to master, Heretic is one of the strongest characters in Risk of Rain 2 for her ability to evade massive amounts of damage and dish it back in full.
Even when all the pieces aren’t unified, Heretic has a very interesting kit in Risk of Rain 2 that provides Survivors with some alternatives if you’re lucky enough to get to the Bazaar Between Time in the middle of the run. While the Heretic is challenging to play in Risk of Rain 2, she is a blast to play once you have enough items to take advantage of her bizarre set of abilities.
For a very different playstyle, you may also want to check out our guide on how to build and play Captain in Risk of Rain 2. His ability set is much more centered on support for running with your friends. And for those with friends on other devices, feel free to check out our coverage of Risk of Rain 2’s cross platform capabilities.