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The best killers in Dead By Daylight

best Dead by Daylight killers tier list
(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

With 21 Dead By Daylight killers (and counting), there's plenty of discussion to be had about which of the game's serial murderers is best. To some extent, it's variable. Factors such as Dead By Daylight perks, maps and player skill can significantly impact whether a killer is 'good' or 'bad'. That said, some killers consistently do better in trials over others. A killer's prowess often boils down to the ability to hinder objectives, traverse the map, and chase survivors.

This Dead By Daylight killers guide lists the best all-round killers in both hardcore and casual settings. It assumes each killer has access to all perks in the game, since perks can be taught to any killer via the Bloodweb or purchased through the Shrine of Secrets. It is also based on official data recently released by the developers of Dead By Daylight based on killer popularity and kill-rate.

Dead by Daylight killers tier list

1. The Nightmare

The Nightmare (Freddy Krueger) was initially considered one of the worst killers when he debuted in Dead By Daylight. But thanks to some substantial updates, he has become the most viable killer in the game.

The Nightmare's ability, Dream Demon, makes him incredibly versatile. Dream Demon is constantly active, continuously sucking survivors into the Dream World and thereby hindering their attempts to complete objectives. It also creates multiple obstacles that disrupt survivors' attempts to run away. The Nightmare can also teleport directly to active generators to set up ambushes.

With the ability to quickly traverse the map directly to objectives and a constantly active ability that greatly hinders progress and escape attempts, it's little wonder that many Dead By Daylight players want the Nightmare to be nerfed.

2. The Nurse

(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

The Nurse requires considerable player skill to be a viable killer. That said, an adept player who can use The Nurse's blink ability effectively can become a terror even for the most skilled survivors. It's no wonder that she most often appears in competitive Dead By Daylight settings.

Her perk, Nurse's Calling, allows her to quickly close in on survivors with her Blink and lunge at them before they have a chance to react. Though she may not have projectiles or abilities that hinder objectives, her map-control and ability to quickly end chases make her stand out as one of the most challenging killers to face—provided she's in the right hands.

3. The Plague

Whether facing casual or veteran survivors, there's no doubt The Plague will cause immense grief with her Vile Purge ability. This volatile vomit projectile sends survivors into a state of sickness, bringing them into the 'Injured' state over time. Additionally, if upgraded to the Corrupt Purge, it can instantly injure or even down survivors.

Not only does the sickness affect survivors is hit directly, it can also spread if they interact with other survivors or objects on the map recently hit by the vomit. This includes vaulting locations, generators, and even the exit gate switches. Consequently, matches involving The Plague often descend into chaotic messes of sick survivors and objectives that can't be touched. 

Combined with perks such as Hex: Ruin and Pop Goes The Weasel, which further damage generators, The Plague can make escaping any trial a tribulation.

4. The Spirit

(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

Another killer whose full potential is unlocked through player-skill, The Spirit excels for similar reasons to The Nurse. With Yamaoka's Haunting, The Spirit briefly leaves behind her physical body, becoming invisible to survivors as she hunts them down from the spiritual realm.

While in this state, The Spirit's speed is increased significantly, and survivors have no way of pinpointing exactly where she will reappear, tipping chases completely in her favor. It's also useful for quickly moving around the map and maintaining authority over objectives.

5. The Huntress

Killers with projectiles aren't common in Dead By Daylight, but The Huntress relies on them with her Hunting Hatchets. This ranged ability gives her the potential to be a competent killer in capable hands. 

A skilled Huntress player knows the exact angles and locations to lob the hatchets across the map, hitting unsuspecting survivors from seemingly impossible positions. She is equipped with five hatchets at the beginning of each trial, and can quickly replenish them at any locker.

Though slower and generally less versatile than other killers, The Huntress' hatchets grant her ranged map control and options during chases that many other killers don't have. She can be particularly devastating with perks like No One Escapes Death, which instantly downs survivors when they are struck by her hatchets.

6. The Executioner

The Executioner (aka, Pyramid Head) was hugely anticipated when announced for Dead by Daylight, and he didn't disappoint. The iconic monster from Silent Hill 2 is a highly versatile killer, with abilities that include a robust ranged attack, a quicker substitution for hooking survivors courtesy of Cage of Atonement, and the option to instantly kill any downed survivor in the final stage of The Sacrifice.

A skilled Pyramid Head will be able to predict the movements of survivors as they run away, then use his special attack, Punishment of the Damned, to strike them from a distance. Although slower than many other killers, his ability to speed up the sacrifice process of survivors and kill them gives him noteworthy map control.