This guide is for aspiring or loyal Huntress mains that want a complete guide to playing Huntress at a high level and being able to play on Monsoon as Huntress. With almost 500 hours in the game, with a lot of them as Huntress and extensive experimentation with mods, I have a lot of experience to give valuable tips to people who are interested.
As a disclaimer, don't expect to get 'God runs' on Monsoon difficulty with any sort of regularity. Even with all of my experience and knowledge, I only make it past the first loop (stage 5) half of the time, and almost half of my deaths are on the first boss. This is better than being unable to get past the first two bosses.
Guide to Monsoon Huntress
Huntress in Monsoon
Since this is Comprehensive guide to Monsoon with Huntress, I will start with some fundamentals of Monsoon and detail some specifics about Huntress's ideal playstyle.
The first thing to know about surviving in Monsoon and RoR2 is that you survive by dodging hits, not healing damage that you take. As such, being aware of the local environment and knowing where you can find cover from enemy projectiles is important. Also, constantly jumping is incredibly important for your survivability because changing your vertical position is the most simple and effective way to dodge, in my experience.
The second thing to keep in mind is that the game gets harder very quickly in Monsoon. Because of this, it is crucial to not waste any time farming for chests in the early stages of the run. It is only worth farming for all of the chests (excluding legendary chests) starting from stage 4 or 5 and if you have some movement speed items e.g. Red Whip. It's not worth getting a single green item from a large chest while letting the mobs get almost 50% stronger. If possible, try to get to stage 3 in about 9 mins (4 to 5 mins per stage) so you can grab a Preon Accumulator if you get the snowy stage. Locating the equipment can be a bit difficult, but you can look up tricks to locating it in other guides or youtube videos. Even if you can't get it, however, this is still a good metric for how fast you would like to progress through the stages. That said, it's not a disaster if you're a minute or two slower.
How do we apply this to huntress? Well first of all, always sprint. Maintaining maximum momentum keeps you moving as quickly as possible, which helps you evade as many attacks as possible. Following this principle, you should also immediately press the sprint key after using normal blink or laser glaive. Any instant you are stalling in the air can get you killled by a brass contraption or wisps. Even Elder Lemurians can shoot you out of the air if you are low enough to the ground. Maintaining the sprint also ensures that Rose Buckler is pretty much always active. Even a single Rose Buckler provides you with almost 25% damage reduction, so it is very important to keep up the armor bonus.
It is also good to know how to effectively strafe while attacking enemies and sprinting. Proper mechanics involve you moving forward diagonally away from the primary target/threat. So either diagonally move left(and forward) with the enemy to your right or diagonally move right(and forward) with the enemy to your left. This form of movement allows you to slow your movement towards the target while still allowing you to keep sprinting and attacking. After all, if you close the distance too quickly, you'll simply run past them or into them. If you're willing to put in the extra effort, you can 'flicker' in between shots by sprinting in any direction of your choice, but quickly shifting your camera in the direction of the monsters to fire at them as you are running away. This technique is especially effective with the alternate primary skill, as explained in the 'Loadout' section of the guide. Other niche mechanics specific to Huntress's skill will be further explained in the 'Loadout' section.
You may notice that I have noted, on a few occasions, an arbitrary statistic that I call the Proc rate/Damage product. This is a number that is calculated by multiplying the (Proc Coefficient / [Unit of Time]) or (Proc Coefficient / Skill Usage) by the base damage percent of the damage instance. This factor takes into account proc rate of skills, the base damage of the damage instances, and the fire rate of said skills to create the most accurate representation of the strength of a skill in the context of proccing items, which is the source of damage in RoR2.
- Strafe: seeking arrow that does 1 x 150% dmg every 0.5s = 300% dps.
- This is the standard primary which, after the recent changes, has become a solid option and a pretty good primary attack, even compared to other survivors.
- Flurry: seeking arrows that does 3 x 100% dmg every 1.3s = 230% dps, but fires 3 extra arrows on crit for 6 x 100% dmg every 1.3s = 460% dps. There was no official attack time for the animation, but I tested how long it takes to complete 10 attack animations, and the average was 12.94s or 13s for 10 attacks.
There are pros and cons which make this choice a difficult one.
- Great for killing single targets by shooting 6 arrows at once.
- Looks cooler than default.
- Maximum base damage per 1.3s is 600%(6 x 100%) vs 390%(2.6 x 100%).
- Maximum Proc rate/Damage product per 1.3s is 4.2 vs 3.9.
- Lower firerate means that targeting multiple enemies takes more than twice as long.
- Can feel clunky with low firerate.
- Starting base damage per 1.3s is 300% vs 390%.
- Starting Proc rate/Damage product per 1.3s is 2.1 vs 3.9.
So yes, the new primary is cool and has greater potential, but you start off weaker and there's no point in greater potential if you can't live to tell the tale. Doing the math, you start at about 77% dps and need 30% crit rate just to match the dps of the default primary. This isn't even considering the lower proc coefficient. Also, each proc of the default primary is 50% stronger than the proc of the alternate primary. This means that the default primary is only a little worse than the max potential alternate primary by maybe 15% and at most 25%. Unless you're playing command or find a lucky crit printer, this just isn't a very good option for consistent dps.
However, there is an argument that most of her dps comes from her glaives and ballista anyways. Her default primary isn't that special, but the new primary is almost like a spammable ballista shot, and is a potent damage tool in the late game. Also, due to the charge-up or wind-up animation at the beginning of the attack, you can start the attack animation, then turn around and run away as the arrows automatically home in on the enemy behind you. This gives huntress a great deal of flexibility in her movement while using her primary, in contrast to her default primary for which moving while shooting can feel tricky at times.
As a result, for the final verdict, just pick what you feel like using, because they are both good options.
*Fun Fact, with the default primary, if you have a lot of backup mags or brainstalks active, when you hold left and right click at the same time, Huntress will alternate between shooting an arrow and throwing the glaive. This is not possible with the alternate primary however, and will only result in throwing glaives.
Laser Glaive: Throw a seeking glaive that bounces up to 6 times for 250% damage. Damage increases by 10% per bounce. This skill is the bread and butter of Huntress, and is one of the tools that makes her so powerful. Assuming there are enough targets close enough together, this single ability does up to 1960% damage pretty quickly on a 7 second cooldown. The way that this can be used on two tanky elites or a wide array of mobs makes this verstile ability incredibly strong. I really wonder what Hopoo is gonna make for an alternate that can even compare to this.
Blink: instantly teleport forward a significantly large distance. Cooldown: 7s.
This ability is great for both map traversal and dodging threats. Although 7 seconds isn't too long, it's not short enough to spam unless you have hardlight afterburner. Use it to get out of tricky situations.
Phase Blink: instantly teleport in any horizontal direction a short distance. 3 charges with a cooldown of 2? seconds per charge. Although this ability is great for dodging enemies, it significantly hinders map traversal. It does give you the ability to blink backwards while firing forwards to kite effectively, but I've blinked backwards into a Burning Greater Wisp before.
Phase Blink Comparison
The shorter distance means that you don't always move far enough to really disengage, still leaving you in danger. This combined with limited vertical mobility leads me to choose the default blink in every situation. It's up to you though, because backwards blink to kite is pretty cool too. Also, you won't have to hit the sprint key after Phase Blink.
Arrow Rain: teleport into the sky before raining arrows in an area [to deal an initial 110% damage and 330% damage per second afterwards over 6 seconds] while slowing enemies in the area.
*Note the description correction is different from in-game description
Ballista: teleport into the sky before firing up to 3 energy bolts, dealing 3x900% damage.
- 2700%(3x900%) damage vs 2090%(19x110%) damage over 6 seconds.
- Fires as fast as you can shoot.
- As far range as you can aim.
- 3 x 1 proc coefficient instead of 19*0.2 proc coefficient.
- Proc rate/Damage product is 24.55 vs 3.8.
- Is no longer Aoe.
- Has no Crowd Control.
Yes, the total proc coefficient of Arrow Rain is slightly higher, but each of those procs only have a base damage of 110% while the Ballista bolts have a base damage of 900%, making each proc over 8 times stronger than the Arrow Rain procs. When also taking into account the number of procs, Ballista is still approximately 6.4 times as strong. The only way for Arrow Rain to even compare is to keep at least 7 units in a relatively limited aoe for the entire duration, which is very unlikely. This also doesn't help against early game bosses when there's only one primary threat to aim for. And if you get a nice ukulele proc off of that Ballista bolt, it's gonna be really strong with that 900% base damage, which will take care of any aoe issues that wasn't already cleaned up by her glaives. Aoe is not Huntress's problem, and the crowd control of the ability is limited, so Arrow Rain is simply unnecessary. Ballista wins without a doubt.
One thing that you can do with both Ballista and Arrow Rain is Blink right after you come out of the animation. So if you need to scale a high wall or cliff, Ballista into a blink might get you there. Blinking is also a safer way to drop down from the animation, because without blinking, you simply enter freefall without being able to do anything until you hit the ground. You can also use the rising teleport animation of Ballista/Arrow Rain to dodge projectiles with good timing. Note for Ballista, is that it blinks you backwards. To go high, aim at the ground.
Best Items to Look for
And now for the fun stuff! Let's go over what items will win you runs and what crazy item combinations exist in the game.
Note: If you haven't already, I highly recommend you look up an explanation of proc coefficient, because it'll help you understand a lot about why certain items are so strong.
- Soldier's Syringe: Increases attack speed by 15% (+15% per stack). Simple, but effective. Attack speed is a universal damage multiplier that affects both attack rate and skill animation speed for glaives, so it is valuable on any survivor except perhaps Acrid and Artificer.
- Tougher Times: 15% (+15% per stack) chance to block incoming damage. Unaffected by luck. It uses a stacking method that is neither multiplicative nor linear, so its a bit hard to explain, but the first few are very effective while later ones are still good, but not so great. Teddy Bears save runs.
- Paul's Goat Hoof: Increases movement speed by 14% (+14% per stack). This increases all movement speed and blink distance. That latter effect is why hooves are generally considered better than energy drink. Mobility is survivability, so this is very important.
- Lens-Maker's Glasses: Your attacks have a 10% (+10% per stack) chance to 'Critically Strike', dealing double damage. Critical hits are a universal damage multiplier that multiplies all damage by 2. This combined with crits being necessary for healing makes crit one of the most important things in a run. Especially with alternate primary. Only need 9.
- Backup Magazine: Add +1 (+1 per stack) charge of your Secondary skill. Glaives is arguably Huntress's strongest damaging skill, so more is great!. Throwing out a few glaives can destroy teleport mobs and bosses with ease in the late game.
- AtG Missile Mk.1: 10% chance to fire a missile that deals 300% (+300% per stack) total damage. With a proc coefficient of 1, this item just shreds monsters, and stacking it is fantastic.
- Ukulele: 25% chance to fire chain lightning for 80% total damage on up to 3 (+2 per stack) targets within 20m (+2m per stack). With the ability to hit small mobs while aiming at larger threats, you never have to worry about aoe again. With a proc coefficient of 0.2, but the potential to hit a lot of targets, this item greatly multiplies your dps.
- Harvester's Scythe: Gain 5% critical chance (+0% per stack). Critical strikes heal for 8 (+4 per stack) health. This item is the best lifesteal item in the game, and will keep you alive with good crit rate.
- Wax Quail: Jumping while sprinting boosts you forward by 10m (+10m per stack). The sudden acceleration can jump you out of the way of threats, and makes you significantly harder to hit. Strafing also becomes much easier. Don't get too many though, because you'll just fly into space when you hit a slope. xD
- Rose Buckler: Increase armor by 30 (+30 per stack) while sprinting. One of the few sources of consistent damage reduction rather than damage negation. Sounds nice on a character that can sprint while attacking, right? Even just one of these gives almost 25% dmg reduction.
- Will o' the Wisp: On killing an enemy, spawn a lava pillar in a 12m (+2.4m per stack) radius for 350% (+280% per stack) base damage. An AOE item with a proc coefficient of 1 with scaling range, damage, and hits all of them at the same time? If Ceremonial Dagger didn't have infinite range with only one stack, Will o' the Wisp would outclass it in every way.
- 57 Leaf Clover: The single strongest item in the game, and stacks well too. This item increases the proc rate of all of your items and crit chance (except Tougher Times). This also increases the chance of proc chains, such as atg -> ukulele proc -> atg proc which, if you had just 3 atg, would deal 6480% dmg.
- Ceremonial Dagger: This one was also really darn close to first place. Doing 3 x 300% with a proc coefficient of 1 for every monster killed is really strong. It procs your other items at a high rate, homes on enemies when they spawn for infinite range, and does a lot of damage. This thing will clear the map for you in the end game.
- Brilliant Behemoth: All your attacks explode in a 4m (+2.5m per stack) radius for a bonus 60% TOTAL damage to nearby enemies. It's hard to turn down a universal 60% damage increase. And by universal damage increase, I mean that it stacks multiplicatively with other damage amplifiers.
- Dio's Best Friend: Upon death, this item will be consumed and you will return to life with 3 seconds of invulnerability.
As I said earlier, Teddy Bears save runs.
- Royal Capacitor: Call down a lightning strike on a targeted monster, dealing 3000% damage and stunning nearby monsters. Cooldown: 20s. 3000% damage with a proc coefficient of 1 with a low cooldown and Crowd Control capabilities? Sounds fair and balanced to me. That feeling when Scavenger looks at you and you don't know his equips.
- Jade Elephant: Gain 500 armor for 5 seconds. Cooldown 45s. I'm not sure you guys know, but 500 Armor means 83.33% dmg reduction. You only take 1/6 dmg. What was that, there's an overloading worm? Idgaf. Squishiest character in the game? Not anymore.
- Spinel Tonic: Increases damage by +100%. Increases attack speed by +70%. Increases armor by +20. Increases maximum health by +50%. Increases passive health regeneration by +300%. Increases movespeed by +30%. Sure there's a potential downside when it wears off, but what if clover reduces that chance to neglible amounts or it never wears off?
There are quite a few in this game, so I had to create a whole separate section. Prepare to witness all of the brokenness of this game. I'll try to order it from most consistent and effective to least.
Items proc items proc items...
Although an item cannot proc itself (AtG -> AtG doesn't work), they can proc each other. Ukulele and Meat Hooks hit a bunch of enemies and keep on proccing each other in a loop. They also cause you to rapid fire missiles, sticky bombs, bleed, fire and ice, crit hits, and more. with the help of a clover, this only goes even crazier. This is the fundamental concept that makes later item combinations strong.
Key items: AtG Missile Mk. 1, Sentient Meat Hook, Ukulele.
Gaze of Death
Some equips, like Royal Capacitor, are really darn strong. Just one Gesture reduces the cooldown to 10s. Another Gesture or Fuel Cell reduces it to 8.5. What if you got a Gesture and a total of 6 Gestures/Fuel Cells for a sub 4s cooldown? What if Soulbound Catalyst reduces equipment cooldown by 4s(+2s per stack) for each kill? The answer: everywhere you look lies a corpse and epilepsy warnings.
Minimum Items: Royal Capacitor, Gesture of the Drowned, Fuel Cell.
Will o' the Wisp is strong. 5 of them means 1470% base dmg to everyone in 21.6m aoe at the same time. How about multiplying that first hit of damage by 5 with just 8 crowbars. 7350% base damage that procs items at a high rate? Yeah, things just die. If they proc your 2 AtGs, the missiles do 44,100% dmg. Once you have like 20 will o' the wisps, and a handful of crowbars, you can probably kill a boss with a few hundred k hp by hitting a wisp with a normal attack. Ceremonial Daggers just help to make sure mobs on the other side of the map don't escape the chain reaction.
Minimum items: Crowbar, Will o' the Wisp.
Avatar of Death
Ever wanted a Shaped Glass that doens't lower your health? Look no further than Spinel Tonic! With Spinel Tonic, Gesture of the Drowned, and only three more Gestures/Fuel Cells. It doubles your damage, multiplies your health pool, increases your attack speed, increases your movement speed, increases your armor, and increases field of view (I think)? Sounds like a simple recipe for an easy run. Gaze of Death won't let you play the game anymore cuz everything's dead, but with this, you can actually move your body and do something.
Minimum items: Spinel Tonic, Gestures (1-4), Fuel Cell (0-3).
X marks the spot?
Death Mark is a strong debuff: Enemies with 4 or more debuffs are marked for death, increasing damage taken by 50% (+50% per stack) from all sources for 7 seconds. It multiplies all damage, but is kinda hard to achieve. Or is it?
- Tri-tip Daggers for Bleed Proc.
- Gasoline for aoe burn Proc.
- Chronobauble slow is finally useful.
- Runald's Band for chance of Ice slow or Shattering Justice.
Once you get Shattering Justice or Clover and a few of these other items, Death Mark is just a free damage multiplier which is really strong.
Minimum Items: Tri-tip, Gasoline, Chronobauble, Runald's Band
True Pacifist Ending
Do you just want to go on a stroll in the park? Treat Monsoon like it's an absolute joke? You only need a few things! Actually kinda a lot.
- At least 2 or 3 Razorwire.
- Harvester's Scythes, Leeching Seeds, and Crit rate.
- Lots of Repulsion Armor plates.
- Jade Elephant.
- Gesture of the Drowned.
- At least 10 more Gesture/Fuel Cells.
If you can really get this many items, you deserve to walk through Monsoon. Armor + Flat Dmg Reduction = everything does 1 dmg. Hitting you without blocking with too many Tougher times = all enemies around you killing themselves with of Razorwire. A Soulbound Catalyst may significantly reduce the number of Fuel Cells you need.