Ranking the best killers in ‘Dead by Daylight’

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Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer survival horror game with staying power. It’s been scaring gamers on consoles and PC for five years and kept horror fans on their toes with its constant innovation. While the simple brilliance of its killer vs. survivors mechanic has remained in place, its roster of survivors and killers has been continually enhanced. 

Dead by Daylight is a perfect horror movie set-up, where the challenge and the fear depend on which side you’re on. The realms of Dead by Daylight see four survivors play against a killer at the command of a bloodthirsty supernatural being called the Entity. In each game, one killer is tasked with chasing, injuring, and then sacrificing survivors to the Entity before they can escape the map. 

With little safety in numbers, survivors have to carefully work together to evade sacrifice by starting five randomly placed generators through a series of skill tests. If they do, they open two exit gates, although killers will be doing everything they can to block their typical sprint to safety in the Endgame. 

Dead by Daylight quickly overcame some early hosting issues, and new content has kept it fresh and popular. Fans eagerly await the next officially licensed horror icon to join the game. Some of cinema’s most evil creations have been called on by the Entity, each bringing specific powers to scare everything out of survivors. They include The Cenobite, a chain-wielding Pinhead from Hellraiser, and Michael Myers, the Shape who needs no introduction. 

New players of Dead by Daylight will have a limited set of killers to choose from, but these can be boosted with in-game currency or by purchasing specific DLCs. While there’s a thrill in playing a character from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or Stranger Things, not all killers come to the game equal. Some are better for beginners, while others have complicated abilities that are only truly effective when mastered. 

Each killer favors a different combination of the game’s key variables, including map control, danger, perks, add-ons, powers, and their ability to snowball — that is, turning a survivor mistake into a bloodbath. Under pressure, these things happen.

Currently, there are a total of 26 killers available in Dead by Daylight. Before selecting which to play, you should read their complete skill sets to understand the learning curve fully. But to give you a head start at mastering the art of the hunt, we’ve ranked the game’s current best killers and their special powers.

Mid-Tier Killers

These Dead by Daylight killers are worth mastering but have a few quirks that quick-witted survivors can use against them.

13. The Executioner — Pyramid Head

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This killer will look familiar to Silent Hill Fans. While he can’t navigate the map as quickly as others, Pyramid Head can smash through obstacles. His “Rites of Judgment” power lets him place booby trap trails, knocking any survivor that runs into them into a visible “tormented state.” The difficulty comes in mastering his special attacks, including a powerful long-range lunge that’s only devastating when used with precision.

12. The Doctor Herman Carter

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The Doctor is effective at hunting down survivors before inducing madness with electrical shocks. While his attack is weak, reduced sanity makes survivors easy to track and more likely to fail generator skill checks. If they fail those, guess who’s waiting? One downside is this killer’s mobility, making the Doctor easy to loop (distracting a killer by running among obstacles while other survivors take care of the generators).

11. The Huntress Anna

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The distinctive Huntress is worth getting the hang of, especially for her quirks. Her terror radius, which projects a lullaby, is fun in Dead by Daylight-terms and makes skill checks more difficult when survivors hear it. She was also the first killer in the game to use projectiles. While her long-range hatchets can cut survivors off when they’re evading her at pallets and windows, they require practice. Her slower speed also makes it easier for survivors not caught in range to break her line of sight.

10. The Hillbilly Max Thompson Jr.

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The chainsaw-wielding killer that arrived before Texas Chain Saw’s Leatherface, the Hillbilly’s speed can force survivors from hiding places, and his chainsaw dash is devastating if mastered. It can drop any player in the chainsaw’s path to Dying State. But wielding that weapon in a close environment is challenging, particularly when it’s over-revved. 

9. The Twins Victor & Charlotte Deshayes 

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This killer duo isn’t easy for beginner players, as they’ll have to acclimatize to jumping between Charlotte and Victor. But, they are a powerful combo that, uniquely, can be in two places at once. If Victor is camped out, he can notify his sister of any survivor movement. That said, the conjoined twin’s natural imbalance can make them a bit easy for Survivors to outfox. 

TopTier Killers

These Killers take a bit more mastering, but when a player commands their powers, they’ll stand a good chance of taking out any survivors they come across.

8. The Wraith Philip Ojomo 

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If the Reaper-like Wraith’s imposing height isn’t bad enough, his weapon is the skull and spinal cord of his former boss. Not that you’ll see him much. By ringing his Wailing Bell, he can use his cloak of invisibility to sneak up on survivors. That said, the scene he makes when uncloaking gives attentive survivors time to escape and phasing through the Spirit World leaves him vulnerable to bright light.  

7. The Nemesis — Nemesis T-Type

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A recent addition, this Resident Evil icon is one of the strongest killers, although his attacks take effort. Nemesis has a fast mutation rate that boosts his ranged power — a T-Virus-infected tentacle, of course — and can beat survivor attempts to loop him if he summons wandering infectious zombies.

6. The Oni — Kazan Yamaoka

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This highly mobile killer draws on the suffering of injured survivors to power a phenomenal ability. His Blood Fury allows him to navigate the map and take out survivors with a single hit after consuming blood orbs. A formidable killer, indeed, but his large turning circle means quick-witted survivors stand a chance of evading him.

5. The Blight Talbot Grimes

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A versatile killer that unnervingly rebounds off objects to target survivors. When Blight’s chain rush skills are learned, they’re almost unbeatable. But after a steep learning curve, his Blighted Corruption power requires repeated precision to work well. It’s worth the time invested.

4. The Hag — Lisa Sherwood

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The Hag is a big jump scare wrapped up in a tiny body. If any survivor triggers the traps she sets, she can teleport to within forty meters of them. She’s versatile with the way she uses those traps too. Survivors have to take care not to run over the figures she conjures from mud with hexes. 

3. The Nightmare Freddy Krueger

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This Nightmare on Elm Street killer’s concept is what makes him the highest-ranked license. Freddy can access the game’s Dream World, using teleportation, Dream Snares, and Dream Pallets to dispatch Survivors. If a Survivor falls asleep, they won’t wake until they take damage, help a colleague, or locate an alarm clock. He’s a powerful killer, but one that takes some mastering. At full power, he’s in a league of his own when it comes to the Endgame. 

2. The Spirit — Rin Yamaoka

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Yamaoka’s Haunting allows the Spirit to phase walk, wandering unseen through the Trial Grounds. The Spirit can’t see survivors but can track scratch marks and noises while walking the Ethereal Plane, materializing with a jump scare. Survivors may only see the husk the Spirit leaves in the physical world until it’s too late.

1. The Nurse — Sally Smithson 

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The Nurse can get tired if she blinks through the Spirit World too often, but that’s one of this highly mobile killer’s only weaknesses. She not only teleports around the map but through obstacles too, leaving survivor options limited. With practice, she’s challenging to loop and pointless to block with pallets. No Dead by Daylight killer poses the same challenge as the Nurse.