Here I’ll be going over some hidden stats of each perk deck while giving some general use cases and strategy tips.
This guide doesn’t contain exact builds, just perk suggestions and general ideas for how I find each deck is best run or not run as the case may be.
- Equip Crew Chief
- Take hostages
- Receive succ for carrying the entire game.
Crew Chief is great, just by taking this deck your entire team gets some awesome health regeneration and other great bonuses. But combine it with with the Hostage Taker skill from the Controller tree and some of Enforcer’s Tank skills and you become God.
The sad part is it without heavy and specific point investment Crew Chief doesn’t do very much for the one using it, you get a little extra health armour and damage resistance. But nothing special.
Crew Chief works best if you have good heist knowledge, knowing where to hide your hostages will save you time and it is best ran on heists with lots of civilians such as Mallcrasher, Bank Heist, Go Bank, Big Bank, No Mercy and Green Bridge.
Avoid heists that have few civilians or involve lots of moving around such as Panic Room, Heat Street, Birth of Sky, Henry’s rock and Beneath the Mountain.
Yes you can of course use cops for hostages but its less reliable than civilians.
On the subject of heist knowledge, try to communicate with your team!
Pool hostages in locations where cops do not spawn and where there are no objectives. Make sure they know what your doing, EVERY hostage counts for Crew Chief and Hostage Situation/Taker even those the Chief didn’t tie down.
While running Crew Chief You are the support. Invest in First Aid Kits/Doctor Bags, Jokers, and anything else to help your team mates do their best.
Marathon Man has a typo, it actually grants 8% damage resistance not 6%.
Stack it with Underdog aced to max out your durability.
Forced Friendship aced is utterly NOT WORTH IT even with max hostages the additional resistance amounts 2-point-something damage.
It’s completely worthless.
Basic is fine because of the extra zip-ties and faster tying speed.
The Berzerker skill can actually be a support perk because while you are under 50% health the defence bonus of Brute Strength is doubled from 8% to 16% combine this with other damage resisting skills like Hostage Taker, Frenzy, and Underdog for an expensive but enduring build.
Avoid weapons that can easily kill hostages, such as grenade launchers and snipers.
Especially avoid taking Graze with this deck unless you want to constantly ruin your own bonuses.
Weapons wise Crew Chief suffers.
You need to put a lot of points into your hostages, Jokers, and armour to make the best of it leaving you with precious little few points weapon skills.
Shotguns are cheap and very powerful and are easily my top pick. Once you get Overkill going NOTHING stands in your way. Really anything can work, just remember to take unsuppressed weapons to get the most threat to make taking cop-hostages easier.
On the surface it looks like it needs a buff.
3% HP regeneration every couple seconds sounds pathetic. Grinder massively outclasses it and Crew Chief is better for a support deck. Being more likely to get shot than your team is good for them, but AWFUL for you. Panic is terrible, it ruins your aim and while yes Sociopath does spread panic as well if you read my section on that deck you’ll see why it works there.
Something small to remember is that your regeneration is based on a percentage, so if you raise your health with other skills or someone else’s perk deck then the amount scales up.
Unlike Grinder or Biker which have fixed amounts of regeneration.
Good armour gating goes a long way with Muscle, although you have the second largest health pool in the game you will want to take at minimum the Heavy Ballistic vest.
Hostage Take adds a nice layer of additional regeneration that stacks well nearly doubling your native regeneration. Stack this with the Convert skills you have to grab along the way and you will be well on your way to being the biggest tank around.
Underdog is a great skill that will help your damage and resistance, it also puts you on the path of shotgun skills which are some of the best weapons in the game. Grab a Raven for your primary, and a slug/sabbot Judge as your secondary and you will be well equipped to deal with just about any threat.
You can also swap slugs for explosive rounds if you want to deal with Bulldozers.
Support wise Muscle users are best off working closely with Dodge users, if you think about it 15% less incoming fire basically means a 15% dodge bonus just for standing within line of sight of your Muscle equipped teammate.
If you get lucky and have someone who runs Crew Chief or Leech around then Muscle becomes almost unstoppable. It’s the ideal deck to run if your friend is a Crew Chief main.
Panic sucks, and there is no real defence for it. When it trips cops cover their ears and bend over running your aim and completely shattering any rhythm you might have going.
Your best bet is to just use a shotgun and get one shot headshots all the time before you can spread Panic, where that fails trust in the spread to get whatever you miss.
For deployables if your going full Controller then grab Doctor Bags as the resultant regeneration is good enough to override First Aid Kits.
But if you want to walk the path of REAL gaming. Then join my “holy trinity of C4 builds” and ditch Controller, putting those points into Technician’s Breacher skill tree instead.
C4 can shave whole minutes off a heist BEFORE drill skills and with Enforcer’s Tank tree you have a hardy build that can be supportive inside and outside of a firefight.
In game it’s incorrectly spelled “armorer”
Armourer is contender for the most straightforward deck in the game; equipping this deck gives you a massive buff to total armour and significantly faster armour recovery rate. Unlike Anarchist which focuses on small amounts of armour gained to armourgate, Armourer focuses entirely on getting all your armour back in one go. Similar to Hitman, but much slower.
Using Armourer pretty much necessitates the use of the ICTV. When making your way to the top of the tank tree, keep in mind that Die Hard Aced DOES NOT Affect the ICTV. It is worth mentioning that only one instance of the Shock and Awe can be active in your crew, so consider letting your teammates know they can save the points and invest elsewhere. This also applies to the final tier of Armourer, which grants an additional 10% armour recovery rate to yourself and your crew. Also, consider grabbing the basic versions of Parkour, Duck and Cover, and Second Wind from the Ghost section: The total cost of these is only 4 points, but they will work to massively offset the slow movement speed of the ICTV.
Two more important skills to consider investing points into while running Armourer are Frenzy Aced and Bullseye Basic. Frenzy reduces incoming damage by 25% at the cost of capping your health at 30%. This is a fine trade off, since you will infrequently be taking health damage; Armourer shares Anarchist’s 2 second invulnerability when your armour breaks. You can also grab Berzerker on the way to Frenzy to get more damage out of your weapons, which is always appreciated. Bullseye Basic on the other hand greatly improves your survivability by allowing you to armourgate.
See Anarchist for more details.
If you do not plan on investing into Frenzy or Berzerker, consider investing into the Joker skills located in the Controller tree. They can grant you bonus total health, along with movement speed and health regeneration through Hostage Taker located at the very top.
The trade off to getting a glorious 280 points of relatively quickly regenerating armour is that you’re left with an Achilles Heel of sorts, in the form of an unmentioned mechanic in the game called “armour suppression”. Put simply, if any enemies are merely firing at you, regardless of if they can hit you your armour cannot regenerate. The only way around this is to either kill them or to put significant cover between you and your assailant. This effect is most noticeable with SWAT turrets. You can mitigate it by bringing surface-penetrating rounds from a sniper or slugs, or simply avoiding the turrets altogether when possible.
For weapons. You may choose to go “Full Combat Build” and use Snipers, Shotguns LMGs or whatever else tickles your fancy. Just know that concealment is absolutely worthless with the ICTV equipped, along with attempting to score crits. Should you use weapons that don’t require much investment, consider taking skills to aid your teammates such as Jack of All Trades or Inspire. Depending on your team’s ability, you may also consider running higher damage weapons and bringing ammo bags to support yourself and your team.
Some tips for actually playing Armourer once you’re in a heist. Since you have slower regeneration you should avoid open areas when you can, always try to move in such a way that you can isolate your targets.
Should you need to cross an open area, work with your team to clear it out as much as possible before stepping out.
Snipers can be a real godsend with Armourer, as you can often penetrate through your own cover to take out enemies very safely. Otherwise, get used to marking specials and popping your head above cover to headshot them, and then duck back down to safety.
Tl;dr: Stop n pop.
Oh boy, Rogue.
If this guide wasn’t already stepping on toes even mentioning this perk deck is going to start a flame war.
Rogue is a hated deck by a lot of players, back in the day when Death Wish was the hardest difficult this was the best deck hands down. Avoiding 50% of damage just by existing is crazy powerful. Nowadays though it has far too many haters. Yes Hacker has support healing, Crook and Hitman have armour, Leech is broken. But Rogue is still really really good.
I submit three reasons why Rogue is the best for learning dodge.
Firstly, Rogue is the most versatile.
- Rogue can run AP pistols, akimbos, grenade launchers, shotguns and snipers all with equal ease.
- There’s no need to get headshots for armour. Rogue can run dragons breath or even automatics without fear making it great for new players who don’t have the muscle memory to bang headshots all day long.
- Once you grab the Artful Dodger skills Rogue gets a 60% flat dodge chance while standing still, yes Hacker beats that out by 10% only when using a pocket ECM but Rogue can still obtain the same 70% dodge chance just by sprinting which doesn’t have a 100 second cool down.
The main focus of Rogue is of course the Artful Dodger and Silent Killer trees, once you’ve got these the sky is the limit.
Technicians Lock n’ Load basic is huge, it lets you fire any weapon while sprinting and maintaining that 70% dodge. That alone lets you equal Hacker’s dodge on command whenever you want and would be reason enough to take it but it also lets you grab Steady Grip and Fire Control which help a lot with maintaining concealment as suppressed weapons rarely get 100% stability/accuracy. Finally it leads into body expertise if you want to run automatics.
You can also try Close By basic from Shotgunner but only for Shotguns.
That has its own advantage as it leads to Overkill which can grant 160% faster weapon swaps. More on that below!
Rogue’s tier nine card “Killer Instinct” gives the bonus of 80% faster weapon swap speed.
Combine this with Equilibrium basic and you now have 113% faster weapons swaps making secondary pistols cheap and highly effective, the 5/7 AP is perfect if your primary can’t pierce shields. If you grab a sniper you can run an automatic pistol like the STRYK 18c or the Federales DLC pistols and use it like you would an SMG just with a faster swap speed, take Gun Nut and you can melt Bulldozers GGEZ style.
Even if you don’t want to use pistols the GL40 is a great primary choice that benefits well from the swap speed boost, especially with concussion grenades as your throwable. You can use a grenade to stun enemies for a brief window and use the GL40 to clear out rooms like you would use a normal throwable.
The Brothers Grim akimbos are the classic choice of the Rogue with dragons breath shells they make an amazing primary that can just liquefy whole squads.
But you can also run crits snipers like the Contractor 308 and Grom or DMRS like the M14 and CAR 4.
Running snipers can give you a powerful defensive advantage, just mark specials and shoot them through walls. It can be tricky to figure out what can and can’t be shot through but it is possible to learn.
If your having trouble try aiming for the corner/edge of the wall.
Relying on dodge does leave you vulnerable to sniper fire and Rogue makes a poor choice for heists that require you to move lots of bags. Avoid heists like Slaughterhouse and Aftershock if you can.
Even then just keep sprinting and you’ll come out just fine.
For a deployable I like to take Doctor Bags.
Rogue is a selfish perk deck and its nice to be able to support your team at least a little bit.
Crook is an odd duckling. Its more survivable than full dodge, but it also walks a tighter rope trying to hit that magic three concealment.
The whole point of Crook is that while you have less dodge overall however you can use the Light Weight Ballistic Vest which makes your survival FAR more reliable.
Yes you loose some movement speed but this is PAYDAY. You run but you can’t hide from the fifty SWAT turrets surrounding your location.
The most important thing to remember with Crook is the Detection rating break points for Low Blow and Sneaky Bastard. 5 for basic, 25 for aced.
These are tight limits, especially with the LWB and acing both is very expensive and personally not worth it. So its important to do what you can to put the best weapons in your hands.
Optical Illusions and Inner Pockets will help a lot with keeping detection down. Make sure to grab a 32 concealment melee weapon.
The Ghost skill tree Artful Dodger is Crook’s main source of survivability. But some skills are better than others.
Parkour is a great skill, it works well with Duck and Cover, good thing since it’s mandatory. Running reloads are a great crutch and I try and work them into every build I can.
Even if you’re not doing dodge the extra sprint speed and faster cool down from D&C is great.
Shame the same can’t be said for the rest of the Artful Dodger tree.
Dire Need should be skipped once you’ve developed the muscle memory it just makes hitting headshots harder.
Shock Proof used to be unusable but now it actually gives you a prompt when your looking at the Taser and its a lot more useful if a bit situational.
Once you’ve got at least Sneaky Bastard basic, skip Unseen Strike as its very situational and move onto the Enforcer’s Tank tree.
Die Hard, Bullseye, Shock + Awe and Iron Man basic are all you need to max your survival.
Going for low detection and high dodge naturally means low threat. Which makes Mastermind’s Controller tree less useful, especially if your guns are suppressed.
For weapons the selection is sparse.
Aim for guns with at least 28-30 concealment.
Also go for full auto weapons, more shots means more chances to land a crit. Heavy investment in Technician’s Oppressor tree can make up for the low damage and poor stability of suppressed automatics. But don’t forget Stable Shot and Rifleman from Mastermind’s Sharpshooter tree work regardless if your weapon is full or semi automatic.
Melee is where your selection is the thinnest.
But it doesn’t matter since this isn’t Sociopath, just take weapon that has 32 concealment.
SMG secondaries can make good primary replacements if you grab Surefire and Body Expertise. My favourites are Jacket’s Piece and the Micro Uzi.
There’s also the 5/7 AP and the USR-12 if you want something that can go through shields.
Never forget about shotguns, not just the Brothers Grim with Dragons Breath but the Judge with Sabot/Slugs or High Explosive is a worthy take even without the skills.
Primaries are tougher, Akimbos like the Brothers Grim are tempting but I personally find Hitman is better for them as it gives bonuses to all Akimbos and you have the freedom to customise them as you wish without worrying about concealment.
A fully cut down GL40 makes out concealment cutoff and provides some much needed area of effect punch and can cut through shields and knock Bulldozer face plates open.
Though there’s plenty of choices for Assault Rifles like the M308 or the entire CAR/AK family and of course I’d be hung drawn and quartered if I didn’t mention the Grom sniper rifle with crits.
Tobias Reaper I presume?
Hitman is a weird deck. It’s the only deck that provides a direct bonus to akimbo guns and it’s focus on faster armour recovery instead of regeneration or more armour points is unique.
However its not until the final perk Tooth and Claw that this deck really comes into its own.
Tooth and Claw is great because of a hidden mechanic called “armour suppression”.
Basically, even if your in cover if cops are shooting anywhere near you, your armour cool down will not start until they stop. (Most noticeable with SWAT turrets.)
Suppression is why armour recovery often takes longer than the listed time.
But since the Tooth and Claw timer starts the moment your armour breaks this becomes a non issue, it also makes most of the armour recovery time skills redundant. Freeing up points for more important things.
The best way to run Hitman is to grab the heaviest armour you can. There’s some debate about if you should run ICTV or one of the other vests but I trust you can decide for yourself just how THICC you wanna be.
Obviously you should run Akimbo primaries, these weapons are typically ammo hungry and have short range and poor recoil control.
The Ambidexterity perk helps a bit but the best solution is to just engage at indoor voice range. Try to converse your ammo where you can, and don’t forget every trigger pull fires two bullets.
For those who want to run a lighter armour it is more difficult to get crits this way than it is with the Two Piece Suit it is still possible, just use anything that can get 28-30 concealment.
Yes the Akimbo Grims DB is good yada yada.
What do you want me to say? Its the stealth perk deck. It makes all your stealth actions faster.
What, still here? Okay fine.
Yes, Yakuza and Hacker are better for ECM rushing. But since most modern heists are designed to be “un-rushable” those both require a team of players with all the reliant skills, excellent communication and flawless execution.
Yes if you solo stealth then bot perks can give you actions that are just as fast.
That only counts if you ignore the fact bot perks and perk decks can stack.
Burgler just makes every part of stealth work better, as long as your not a literal God who has the entire heist memorised.
Don’t take it loud. Not even as a joke.
Semi-stealth builds are universally terrible ideas and you shouldn’t even consider them.
On first glance Infiltrator looks like a side grade to Sociopath.
The problem is Sociopath gets far greater regeneration, both in bulk and in terms of how many ways you have to regenerate. Since everything with Sociopath is on a separate timer you also have a far greater degree of safety AND it gets regeneration for both armour AND health.
About the only advantage is that you don’t need to own Hotline Miami 2 to use Infiltrator.
But beyond that this deck is pretty unusable, the resistances simply don’t add up enough to justify it. I’ll try and give this deck a fair shake but like Maniac I wouldn’t even recommend it for new players who are playing below Overkill.
Most of advice from Sociopath holds true here.
The main difference is Infiltrator has resistance and you get health on hit.
But the overall healing is terrible with Infiltrator and while resistance sounds good on paper in practice without armour gating to protect your health it doesn’t mean much.
However since you get health on hit not kill you can forgo all the melee perks and just run weapon butt or the Nova-shank and just poke enemies for health when you need it.
Another thing to note is the unlisted effect of Advanced Close Combat which increases the length of Overdog’s duration to 7 seconds.
This is pretty meaningless as the MASSIVE damage bonus from Bloodthirst means that you’ll one shot everything even Bulldozers (assuming you can get the kills before hand) and Overdog’s timer already reset every time you scored a hit.
At first glance this perk deck seems either really good or really bad depending on who you ask and how long they’ve played Payday for.
Back in the day before the big melee buff lot of players dismissed it out of hand because it was easily the worst deck in the game.
Newer players run it once, charge a Bulldozer and get slagged then swear it off and go back to using Grinder.
There’s three problems with Sociopath.
- The Deck’s effective range is poorly defined. Only in two other places is the term “medium range” ever used while every other perk and skill with a range limit will give you the exact range in meters.
- Always remember “medium range” is defined as 18 meters in the games code.
- You basically have to spend perk points and run a 140 damage melee weapon, anything else won’t put you in the range to one shot Bulldozers.
- Its easier and cheaper to kill a Bulldozer with an RPG or the Thanatos than it is to use a melee and risk getting downed by a shotgun-punch combo.
Obviously to make the best of this perk deck you’re going to want to invest in Fugitive’s Brawler skill tree. Everything here is good accept for Counter Strike. Its much easier to simply shoot Cloakers before they charge or to charge your attack while out of enemy range and then rush them down.
Another thing is that Overdog does NOT trigger if you use Counter Strike to hit the enemy.
Just grabbing Bloodthirsty and Pumping Iron aced is enough to let you two shot Dozers on Mayhem. Which isn’t always the smartest choice but the regeneration from Tension, Clean Hit and Overdose will soak up some of the damage you’ll take.
Avoid taking Martial Arts aced. Extra knockdown won’t mean anything when your one shotting everything but the Bulldozers who are immune to knockdown.
Panic seems to trigger on a per-cop basis. I’m unsure if it has an upper limit the most cops I’ve seen it effect is two.
As for what to do about it, well just melee them. They basically become free First Aid Kits since they can’t retaliate so there’s no risk of having your armour shattered by a melee attack.
Sadly specials are immune so it doesn’t protect you from Bulldozer shotgun-punches and Cloakers.
Grabbing Underdog unlocks more shotgun skills which are a natural fit for this perk deck due to their close range. Flamethrowers also work reasonably well and I suppose if you wanted to use the OVK Saw as a weapon this would be the best perk deck for it.
Frenzy and Berzerker are great choices because of the massive additional damage. But Overkill from the Enforcer tree is safer if you don’t want to deal with the reduced health.
Or you could run all three and become king of damage town.
Armour restoration from Tension and Overdose runs on a separate cool down and trigger from Bullseye. Giving you more opportunities for armour gating allowing you to get away with wearing a lighter vest, though your probably best off using the ICTV since that can get you three hit armour on Death Sentence.
I personally favour the Heavy Ballistic Vest for a bit more mobility but I know at least one player who swears by the Light Weight Ballistic Vest.
Remember to charge your melee strikes while your in cover or your target isn’t shooting at you. The best way to take down a Bulldozer is suddenly and unexpectedly.
If you don’t want to use melee as a special killer you can run the Nagant with the bayonet which is powerful enough to one shot cops and most weaker specials but it’s also the fastest single hit melee weapon in the game.
Plus the potential for armour gating with a sniper rifle is really, really good.
Overdog’s buff is lost if you miss a strike while its active.
Overdog can also be triggered by hitting friendly Jokers and Civilians.
The perk deck of the turret user.
Gambler gives you a small amount of HP back per ammo box you pick up. When maxed you also share ammo and health with your team. This makes it the best perk deck for running ammo hungry weapons or Turrets.
The downside of this perk deck is it requires a bit of communication, stealing other players ammo isn’t that bad when you do it. But it is pretty bad if they steal yours!
As I’ve already said, and will continue to say. Turrets work very well with this perk deck, they kill lots of things giving you lots of ammo. They can also tank a phenomenal amount of damage and keep a lot of heat off your team. Make sure to grab the AP rounds upgrade and set your turrets to deploy with AP rounds first instead of normal rounds. It will save you time setting up your turrets.
Another thing about Turrets is that they can see through vision obscuring effects like smoke or tear gas and cannot be stunned by flash bangs. Also they will aim at hostages if no other targets are present which can slow them down because of how long it takes them to turn.
Tower Defence the penultimate Turret perk is a bit of a handful.
On one hand you can lock down almost an entire heist with FOUR whole Turrets.
On the other hand, you will spend more time picking up and replacing Turrets to refill their ammo and health or move them to another location in the heist.
It’s mostly up to preference but I’d personally suggest only running Tower Defence basic on heists that require lots of moving around.
Another item that works weirdly well is Ammo Bags.
In-fact the entire Ammo Specialist tree is good for you. It’s all about getting more ammo pick up, which works very well for Gamblers. Some times.
The risk to this tree is that if your ammo is full then you an’t pick up more boxes to get health.
Of course you can just… Shoot, your gun. At the floor or something.
But its not always something that I remember to do cause it just seems so illogical.
Even if you don’t want to use all of Ammo Specialist. Scavenger is a mandatory pick for Gambler. Extra ammo drops and easier pick up are HUGE.
The big risk is that you need to kill cops AND loot them before you get anything meaningful out of this deck. To that end grabbing Parkour alongside Duck and Cover from under Artful Dodger will help mitigate the risks of sticking your neck out.
But your still best off running heavier armour and abusing armour gate all times to keep yourself alive.
Gambler can run just about any weapon comfortably but the need to constantly pick up ammo incentivises things like LMGs and automatics that have high rates of fire and good pick up.
Snipers can work well and efficiently despite their limited reserves.
Flamethrowers and miniguns are also a barrel of fun even if they aren’t the best weapons.
Uniquely the choice between First Aid Kids and Doctor Bags isn’t so cut and dry with Gambler.
Your regeneration is less reliable than other Decks, but you also DO have regeneration.
Personally I make more use of Doctor Bags with this perk deck but you might find the opposite.
Ultimately if you find that Turrets are too good to turn down, grabbing Jack of All Trades will speed up your deploy and pick up times as well as let you run a second deployable. I don’t recommend trying to max out two deployables since you can only bring half of your secondary pick. Tailor your secondary to the team or the heist at and.
For your own sake set your turrets to use AP rounds when you equip them in your inventory, and never EVER mix Turrets with any weapon that can’t pick ammo off the ground.
Especially the OVE Saw because a single turret costs an entire saw blade/clip/magazine.
Why are you down? Just left click.
Grinder is very OP, but its lack of armour or dodge means it starts to loose out on the higher difficulties.
Seriously Overkill or less and you basically can’t die with the amount of regeneration this deck gives you.
Your big weakness is that you can’t use any armour other than the Lightweight Ballistic Vest and Two Piece Suit.
Therefore you need to combine Grinder with any and every defensive edge you can get, Jokers and Hostage Taker are great perks because of the increased health and passive regeneration they give you.
Everything under the Enforcer’s Tank tree is a godsend, unless your running dodge.
Dodge works well with Grinder because of the limited armour selection. But be wary of using criticals, you may be called a try hard.
Unlike Leech you get HP on HIT not on kill, seek big targets that can take lots of abuse, Dozers are basically walking doctor bags for you. Especially if you set them on fire.
Also Medics can actually be somewhat useful as their ability to revive enemies allows you to continue getting HP off the same target.
Avoid playing with Graze mains they can and will depopulate areas faster than you can.
That said Graze Grinder is possible, but it seems to only count a single hit so it won’t give you as much regeneration as hitting multiple enemies with a shogun.
When it comes to weapons yes the classic “DB Akimbo Brothers Grim Suit Grinder” word salad meta is monsterously powerful.
But its not very fun to play with someone who just runs across the entire map killing everything and never dying.
Therefore two points of advice if you want to consider weapons other than Grim Akimbos:
- Weapons that deal damage over time are great because they can trip your regeneration multiple times in a single shot. Molotovs, C4 (with the Fire Trap skill), flamethrowers, Dragons Breath rounds and poison will give you lots of health!
- Give priority to rate of fire over per shot damage to give yourself more chances to regenerate
Deployables are pretty open, most people run First Aid Kits or Doctor bags. But Grinder’s regeneration can also be triggered by C4 trip mines and Turrets.
Don’t. Yakuza is a pretty bad deck. Yes you get bonuses for being on low health but other perk decks give you way better bonuses without the need to let yourself get crippled.
It can be very fun and exciting to run Yakuza don’t get me wrong, but it is far from the “best” or most reliable way to play just due to the inherent danger of needing to be on low health all the time.
While you can run Berserker to mitigate those risks, and get down to lower health faster pretty much every other deck works better.
If your dead set on Berzerking Anarchist, Armourer, Socciopath and Hitman all have better armour and can protect your smaller health pool more reliably than Yakuza’s mobility.
You also can’t run anything from Mastermind’s Controller because you NEED to take damage to activate Yakuza. No Jokers and no Hostage Taker is a raw deal.
You can technically take Jokers but the extra health and resistances means it takes longer to activate anything Yakuza gives you.
The only thing Yakuza does well is give you mobility but that doesn’t help much in Payday, most open areas are covered by snipers, SWAT Turrets or both making a “run n gun” play style suicidal at best on most maps. You can get away with it on older maps with fewer turret spawns, but even then that’s less than half the game.
One unusual use case for Yakuza is Stealth heists. Molotovs make no sound and can be used to manually lower your health thus raising your speed. Personally I find the benefits of Burglar to be much better, but Yakuza has some niche uses for ECM rushing…Though even that’s a stretch because Hacker can out perform it by using the pocket ECM.
The only legitimate use case for Yakuza I guess is challenge runs?
Since if you keep your health up your basically playing as close to having no perk deck equipped as you can without mods.
I didn’t want this guide to turn opinionated, but I really struggle to find value in Yakuza beyond challenge runs and lulzy builds.
Another one of those sketchy perk decks that falls under the category of “totally viable I just suck”
With Ex President you build a reserve of health with every kill. When your armour is emptied and then fully recovered the health is also given to you.
That’s it, the deck offers no resistance or armour bonuses. Just a useless plus 10 dodge.
With more armour you get to recover less health, which is stupid.
Ex President doesn’t do anything to boost armour recovery or regeneration so why should it matter?
The problem is that it requires your armour to be FULLY broken before you can recover your HP. Which is always hard, on lower difficulties just taking enough damage to open your armour is difficult but on Death Wish it becomes much easier but then you pretty much die in one hit as soon as it’s blown.
So first things first you must mitigate the risk of going down once your armour is open.
The best way to do that is to grab everything in the Tank tree and then also grab Second Wind from Silent Killer.
Bullseye is weird, yes armour gating would help you live but you also want your armour to break.
Other perks, getting Hostage Taker is a must, probably more so than anything in Tank.
Ex President’s healing is powerful but unreliable at best.
Also take First Aid Kits, use them more for getting uppers when your healing fails and for your team than for restoring your health when you take small amounts of damage.
As for what armour to run I guess the Light Weight Ballistic Vest. It gives you the second most HP storage behind only the Two Piece Suit. No mater what armour you run it won’t fill your HP completely when it dumps, so its better to go with the safer option.
Weapons wise is free game, no range or concealment requirements. Snipers and Graze will keep your armour up. Shotguns are top tier and have lots of applications. Assault rifles are just pure fun. Really its up to you.
The hard part is learning how much you can expose yourself, how many hits will crack your armour and when to fall back. But if you play well Ex President does become an immensely capable deck. It just requires a lot of skill at the game and it subtracts many of the passive crutches other decks give you like damage resistance or dodge.
Don’t. Even less than Yakuza. Don’t even think about running this deck.
Every other deck has a niche, or can be made useful with the right perks. Maniac just doesn’t.
The damage resistance is pathetic. Above Overkill its outright meaningless, it doesn’t even let you take an extra hit on Deathwish.
Just save yourself the pain, run literally anything else. If you want to support your team use Crew Chief if you want to tank lots of damage Anarchist, Muscle, even Armourer are better picks.
“In great armour I will clad them and with the mightiest weapons they will be armed.”
This is it, the wide load deck, thicc boi town.
Anarchist is one of the best perk decks in the game, not because its powerful but because its dead simple.
You exchange health for armour, instead of traditional armour recovery where it all floods back at once Anarchist has it trickling back in smaller amounts over a longer stretch of time.
How much time is dependant on your armour. But the real secret is that the trickle recovery is always counting down and like Hitman armour recovery can happen while you are actively taking damage or being suppressed.
Also Anarchist stole Armourer’s two seconds of invulnerability on armour break. Which is long enough for a single Bullseye headshot to refill part of your armour.
Oh and before I forget when you reach max level in Anarchist you also get an additional 30 ARMOUR PER KILL! Which for some reason is incorrectly listed as 10.
This becomes so effective because as long as you have a single point of armour you cannot take health damage. (Falling and snipers not withstanding)
First things first, Enforcer Tank tree. Everything that gives you more armour points. Don’t bother with recovery buffs they are nullified by the first card in the Anarchist deck.
Bullseye is your bread and butter the main thing that keeps you alive. Remember, increasing Anarchist’s overall armour amount with perks does not slow the trickling recovery. That is controlled by what armour your wearing not its rating.
Speaking of armour when it comes to how thicc you should be most people swear by the Two Piece Suit or the Light Weight Ballistic Vest.
The Suit has the fastest trickle/tick time of 2 seconds, but the LWB has more armour to fall back on and is better for learning the deck.
I know I’ll catch flak for this but even with its glacial eight second trickle ICTV Anarchist is also viable on Mayhem and bellow. Death Wish is a stretch but its possible.
Running the suit also gives five free dodge, not much. But it is there just to make you that little bit tougher.
Another good skill is Transporter, since Anarchist converts health into armour this massively raises the effect of Transporter, making Anarchist the definitive choice for schlepping many bags.
The best skills for Anarchist outside of Enforcer are Frenzy and Berserker from Brawler in Fugitive.
Your already dependant on armour so sacrificing even more health to gain massive damage and increased resistance is an easy choice.
This also lets you wield alternative weapons more freely.
There’s also Second Wind which helps take advantage of Anarchist’s brief invulnerability after an armour break.
Resist the urge to invest in fast firing LMGs. You may miss too many headshots to keep your armour constantly up.
Instead consider Graze. With Frenzy-serker the 200 damage sniper rifles (mainly the R700 and Repeater 1874) suddenly hit breakpoints and the reliance on head shots feeds into Bullseye keeping your armour fuller than just spraying away and relying on Body Expertise.
If you do grab Frenzy, the bayoneted Nagant sniper suddenly has incredible potential as a last ditch weapon to one shot smaller specials whenever you run out of ammo.
Because it’s so maddeningly tough to crack Anarchist’s constant armour recovery there is not really a heist that it runs poorly on.
If you run Graze it will excel at narrow heists like No Mercy, Mall Crasher and Shacklethorne Auction.
If you run Body Expertise go for heists that throw large clumps of cops like Panic Room and Slaughterhouse.
Lastly its one of my go to decks to run C4 with, because it needs so few perks to unlock its survivablity and with the suit you run so fast the two are a match made in heaven for speed running heists like Nightclub and Big Bank.
Remember when I said Gambler was the best for Turrets?
Despite its reputation Biker is one of my go-to decks. If you threw me in an unknown no players no AI loud heist I’d probably bring Turrets and Biker.
Even though to put it diplomatically as possible this deck has a divisive reputation.
Bad players using it to “enslave” their teams and failing to provide any buffs. Be prepared to be called unskilled or a troll if you run this in pubs.
How it works is every kill made by your team whether its an AI, Joker, Turret or C4 will restore a fixed amount of health and armour.
The amount of restoration also increases the less health and armour you have. More health with damaged armour, more armour with damaged health. So just like Stoic you can get a little more aggressive when your pushed to get that extra healing.
If you make it past the bad reputation for this deck then you want max your kills. So Turrets are the most obvious choice.
If you go this route same as with Gambler avoid weapons that can’t get ammo pickup.
However Turrets are expensive so once you factor in weapon skills they won’t leave you with much room to pick & mix for survivability. As always Tower Defence is users preference
However you can forego Turrets altogether for traditional survival skills like Master Mind’s Controller tree.
There is no reason not to take the ICTV with Biker. It just doesn’t get enough bonuses or resistances to survive with anything else.
Running Controller for passive healing and resistances also gives your teammates buffs, which can help to offset the selfish nature of Biker.
Like the trailer for this deck says “The team helps you help the team”
Since Biker has no range or concealment limits you can run whatever weapons you want.
If you grab Turrets guns with lots of ammo pick up are the best choice. Low damage automatics and LMGs are the best, the Bootlegger has good ammo pick up and huge magazines without the limits of being an LMG.
If you go the other route and run Controller then consider weapons with high threat ratings, Graze snipers have good threat for getting Jokers and can pummel Bulldozers and Captain Winters from a safe distance.
Since Biker has such good regeneration you don’t need healing from deployables and can freely take whatever you want. Turrets have come up a lot but for me personally Biker is part of my “holy trinity of C4 builds”.
If you really want to offset this Deck’s reputation for selfishness the best way to do it is drop everything into Technician’s Breacher tree.
C4 is the best deployable, its great for defence and it can shave whole minutes off some heists. Grabbing drill skills is a natural compliment because if you can’t blow it you can probably drill it.
And since Biker leeches health from team mates kills while you’re pushing the objective they are healing you.
R.I.P one of the most unique perk decks in the game.
I honestly considered not writing about this deck because the only way for a new player to get it is with a DLC unlocker or other sketchy mod/cheat.
If you were lucky enough to get this deck when it came out then bless you.
Kingpin is the reverse of Stoic, instead of saying “that was a lot of damage” you’ll be saying “this will be a lot of damage”
You equip the injector and then can at will turn yourself nearly invulnerable. The timing for this is tricky and will come down to your situation.
Personally my gut always says “wait until your armour is broken”
But that is entirely wrong because Kingpin sits OVER TOP your armour and grants you HP back every time you take armour damage. So make sure to activate it while you still have armour!
For perk selection, heavier armour and passive health are musts. ICTV Kingpin is an absolute beast.
Yes you can get some health back with the injector but its not always reliable and it doesn’t let you restore your full health so you should consider working with a Crew Chief or running Hostage Taker yourself if you can.
Although you are basically invulnerable remember turrets are still God.
Nothing says fair and balanced gameplay like popping Kingpin, dumping four rockets into a SWAT Turret with the Commando 101 watching them all get blown up in your face, curling on the floor and sobbing as it mows down your entire team.
Or if your lucky enough to get a hit, you can enjoy the brief sensation of victory as you waddle over to the closest ammo bag.
Then resume sobbing when you remember you gotta do it three more times.
Unlike Stoic this perk deck is great if you want to tank through environmental damage like tear gas and fire. You can use it to cheese Hotline Miami Day 2’s thermal drill, or ignore the tear gas on Dragon Heist.
Jokers are amazing, you have health on par with Muscle and now you just get free damage resistance on top of it.
Remember you cannot activate the injector while you are firing your gun! It’s embarrassing but its killed me more times than I’d like to admit.
AKA Sicco Mode.
It’s a perk deck I struggle with. The big upside of throwing your smoke grenade (going Sicco Mode) is that you can basically stand in the open and do an objective, like repairing the drill or revive a teammate with very little risk because of the guaranteed dodges However both of these can be done faster and safer with Kickstarter or Inspire.
The problem with Siccario is that there are far better choices for everything it does.
Dodge? Rogue, Hacker and Crook have much higher dodge chances (outside of smoke) and Crook has armour for you to fall back on while Hacker has innate healing.
Saving skill points? Suit Anarchist with C4 not only costs less skill points but you can skip objectives which is far faster than using smoke to make them “safer”.
Siccario as a tool for speeding up heists is… bad.
Outright bad. C4 exists and can be taken with any perk deck, so can the OVK Saw.
The only objectives Siccario helps with are ones that cannot be perked like lifting the vault on Panic Room, the security boxes on Scarface Mansion, or crowbaring boxes on Henry’s Rock. However most of those are so long that by the time your half way done you’ll be out of smoke and fully exposed or as is the case with the cars on Scarface Mansion you’ll have to delay the heist to wait for your cool down.
Another issue with Siccario is that your throwable is a grenade. Not an instant item like every other perk deck based throwable replacement. You have to deal with the 60 second cool down, the timer on the grenade AND PAYDAY’s scuffed grenade physics.
Say you try to use it to take down a SWAT turret or Bulldozer. By the time it has gone off and started producing smoke a normal player has stolen your kill with a single HRL-7 rocket.
So what good actually is the Siccario smoke?
Unlike what Overkill advises in the trailer for the perk deck the primary value for the smoke is for areas you intend to pass through rather than take and hold.
Such as the sewer entrance on Birth of Sky, an escape zone at the end of any heist, the vault door on Big Bank or anywhere you move a lot of bags through.
When fully upgraded you can even stand right in front of a SWAT Turret if you wish. Though this is best used to take its fire off a team mate so they can hit it with an HLR-7 rocket.
Since Siccario NEEDS dodge lacking any kind of innate defence the most important thing to remember is the Detection rating break points for Low Blow and Sneaky Bastard.
5 for basic, 25 for aced.
Siccario is also one of two perk decks that actually lets you dodge while wearing the Light Weight Ballistic Vest. But if you wanna do that take Crook instead.
While Kickstarter and Inspire are powerful abilities they’re also expensive as hell.
With Siccario dodge is obviously a must but once you got Sneaky Bastard and Low Blow you can take the points saved and dump them into Mastermind’s Controller tree to make up for your lack of self healing or Enforcers Tank tree for better armour gating. But again, Crook does this better as you can take full advantage of the Tank tree.
Speaking of saving points Siccario’s smoke provides us a reasonable window of nearly 100% dodge chance and free armour restoration on dodge. Therefore timing it well can basically replace the need for Uppers. Just pop smoke, drop a First Aid Kit at your feet and use it before the smoke fades.
Of course this only works if your good enough to not need an Upper more often than every 60 seconds. And Uppers is necessary to get the full 14 FAKs.
Crits Dodge Siccario is reasonably powerful and very tempting but it’s also expensive and demands good weapon choices and careful ammo management.
I wouldn’t recommend it for new players or people just looking to dip their toes into an alternate play style.
If your running Crits stay away from the temptation of the high rate of fire Akimbo SMGs like the Micro Uzis or the Miyaka 10s.
Yes firing lots of shots means lots of crits but emptying 100 rounds in less than a second is hardly ever a good idea. 1000 Rounds Per Minute is pushing it, anything over that is too much.
Pistols work very well with Low Blow. Since low damage akimbo pistols like the Bernette 9 have great concealment, high rate of fire, solid ammo pickup and you can easily run the 5/7 AP pistol as a secondary to cut through shields.
A fast firing SMG secondary can be very useful for melting Bulldozers, if your good it can even serve as a reliable replacement for a primary.
The classic GL40 and Micro Uzi combo works as well with Siccario as it does any other perk deck with no throwables.
If your having trouble getting good concealment remember to take Optical Illusions and Inner Pockets. Also make sure you have a 32 concealment melee like the Nova Shank, Butterfly Knife, or the Leather Sap.
If you want to run melee and dodge the Ice Pick hits all the damage breakpoints of the Katana with reduced range and swing speed but the all important 32 concealment.
How? I have no clue.
Also remember teammates can benefit from your smoke the same as you, if you see someone holding F throw them some smoke!
The Yang to the Kingpin’s Ying.
Stoic is all about negating damage with your massive health bar and high resistances.
Every hit you take is converted into Damage Over Time (DOT) which can then be refunded for health using your Flask.
Don’t forget that kills refill your Flask and kills while under 35% refill it TWICE as fast. When pushed, PUSH BACK.
Overall while this deck sounds pretty sweet the downsides do require some reconstructive forethought.
The big one is that you have NO armour. All your armour is converted into health, this means snipers are absolutely lethal and great care must be taken whenever you cross an open area.
The same goes for Cloakers. While the kick isn’t too bad the health loss when you get up is.
You also have to rethink your play style. You really want to avoid a “death by a thousand cuts” where you get ground down by constant one on one encounters never taking enough damage to justify using your Flask. You also lack a throwable which might require some adjustment.
Also while Stoic can restore some of your health beyond the DOT its not much. You need a steady stream of regeneration from an outside source to make the most of this deck.
Because of this you’re going to feel pigeonholed for deployables the only really useful ones are First Aid Kits from the Mastermind’s Medic tree, may as well grab Inspire while your there since its a great perk.
You can pull away from FAKs by grabbing Hostage Taker but I’d still recommend at least taking the basic ones. In my experience I’d get cloaked or sniped and then struggle to recover my health without them.
You could (against my recommendation and better judgement) go full “combat build” and just take basic FAKs and put the rest of the points into resistances and weapons.
Uppers seem unreliable with Stoic. Some times you will be restored with full health, other times with just a bit of DOT or you can have an entire bar of ticking DOT requiring an immediate Flask. Not sure what causes it.
Hostage Taker and Jokers make nice add-ons, extra regeneration will make up for Stoic’s lack of restorative power and the extra resistance will replace later skills from the Enforcer’s Tank tree.
Since we have no traditional armour it doesn’t mater how quickly it recovers so you can safely avoid Enforcer’s Tank perks, only Resilience Aced and Die Hard aced give you anything of value. Even then though, flash bang resistance is questionable and the extra 20 health from Diehard aced may not always be felt.
Unlike the armour perks, Underdog is huge and it leads into the powerful Shotgunner tree. Even if you don’t plan on taking shotguns you will almost always be within 18 meters of MANY enemies.
As for what vest to wear, I personally stick with the Light Weight Ballistic Vest. As it keeps you mobile enough to be lighter on your feet than your average Muscle or Anarchist user.
But its up to you, really anything works with Stoic even the suit.
Of course the ICTV is the most common choice and probably the only one if your playing on Death Sentence. But if your doing that why are you asking me for guidance?
Since there’s no point in investing in Tank and First Aid Kids are pretty cheap you can pretty much run whatever weapons you want. Shotguns are great because you can bring a secondary with Slugs/Explosives to deal with shields, snipers with Graze will keep your Flask refilled, or you could just bring the 5/7 AP Pistol or the Rus-12 Angry Tiger since they have innate armour piercing.
Personally I highly recommend bringing a grenade launcher, it’s a huge adjustment playing without a throwable so having some kind of crowd clearing explosive is a solid crutch.
Just remember, you’ve got skills to make your primary work, but the Rus-12, 5/7 and Compact 40 are all great even without skills.
Graze and Hostage Taker don’t mix so exercise caution if you take them together.
I’m not sure if its the way damage/resistance is calculated or if its just the sheer volume of hits but environmental damage will annihilate you with this deck. Avoid tear gas and fire like the plague.
SWAT Turrets also tend to wreck your ♥♥♥, don’t run this deck on Heat Street or San Martin Bank unless you want to blow through all your FAKs faster than you can say “virtue is the only good.”
Just like Kingpin! Remember you cannot drink the flask while you are firing your gun!
Just get a friend who runs Crew Chief, Leech, or Gambler. Seriously Tag Team has a lot of potential.
Though it lacks any resistances or bonus HP. I find the best use case is for a newer player. All the other throwable decks have much more power and potential but only during their short bursts. What Tag Team gives you, is the some of the most consistent healing in the game.
Assuming you have a teammate to use it on and that both of you can get a great many kills.
How it works is you “tag” a teammate and the two of you become linked in a fashion similar to Biker. Every kill you get, heals both parties by an amount depending on if you are the tag holder (7.5 HP) or the tag placer (15 HP).
The other effects don’t sound too great, 20 points of damage absorption laughably small, but with Tier 9 “Harmony” card every single kill made by either of you cool down by two seconds. This means it is entirely possible to have another tag ready to go the moment the link breaks AND with the 1.3 second extension time per kill its also theoretically possible to have the tag last an entire heist.
Although in my experience it usually lasts for around a full minute before needing to be replaced. Which can be done in less than 0.2 seconds depending on how fast you can hit the throwable button.
The hardest part of Tag Team is staying close enough to keep it active, you have to be within 18 meters and no walls between you and your target. Do your best to communicate and always keep your allies close at hand to give them a tag whenever you want.
Running this deck along side Crew Chief is absolutely the best choice. While other decks can increase the healing only Crew Chief gives the Tag Team user extra health and armour to make up for their lack of innate survivablity, plus the healing from Hostage Situation and you can start to see some really crazy good healing.
Add in Hostage Taker and you basically become a pair of immortal vape juice fuelled war gods.
However Tag Team obviously has its down sides. Few players will stand still long enough to let you tag them. Some hosts might kick you as soon as they see your running content from the H3 pack, or they might accuse you of trolling or needing to be carried.
The best use for Tag Team, is for new players. It encourages them to stick to other players, follow them around and learn how each heist is laid out and how to tackle the objectives as they come up. It can be very powerful in skilled hands but it’s not as good as other throwable focused decks once you’ve gotten good enough to stand on your own.
As long as you have an ally to help you and you don’t try to stack Hostage Taker twice you’re pretty much golden you can run whatever you want with this one. ‘Cept for dodge I guess.
Weapons wise anything that gets lots of kills. Graze, high explosives, you know the works by now. Graze is a personal favourite of mine for this deck, since your focus should be on quantity of kills not quality. Another fun thing to use is run a high capacity primary like an LMG or assault rifle and the HLR-7. The LMG shreads commons and a single rocket can drop a Bulldozer which is always fun.
Armour should be heavy. You lack innate resistances and have no bonuses to dodge so you may as well go big. If you do, grab Duck & Cover along with Parkour and Second Wind. They all help your mobility and survival just as much as Tank.
Remember you can’t use the gas while firing your weapon!
So what does Hacker do exactly?
It replaces your throwable with two “Pocket ECMs” instead of throwing a grenade you can unleash an instant but shorter ECM effect. In stealth it acts exactly like a stock ECM, disabling cameras and pagers for six seconds.
While in loud it becomes ECM Overdrive, playing the worst sound in the world and stunning enemies for the same six seconds.
The Deck itself at cards 5 and 9 grants a hidden +15% Dodge.
Tier 7 grants a burst of 20% dodge for 30 seconds if you get a single kill while its active, but the real power comes from tier 9 any kill, regardless if the enemy is stunned or not made while hacker is active restores 10 HP to the player responsible with no upper limit.
If you could kill 27 cops in six seconds you could restore your full 276 hp.
Since you have TWO pocket ECMs you have two charges, but they will only recharge one at a time so be wary of using both at once unless you really need to. The recharge is also quite long at 100 seconds per ECM. You do knock six seconds off after every kill, even while the ECM is active but it’s still going to be slow.
Offensively you’re best off taking weapons that can get multiple kills quickly the usual suspects Graze snipers, shotguns and grenade launchers all work well with Hacker.
Your best defence is to take advantage of that 30% extra dodge, which also leads naturally into crits which will help you get lots of kills to keep your ECMs charged.
For deployables you are cautioned to take First Aid Kits as Hacker’s healing is on a long cool down and can’t always be relied on. Though you can also spec into Controller for healing with Hostage Haker.
Stunning enemies with your pocket is fun and cool but did you know you can also stun Bulldozers? While they have a much higher resistance than normal cops, when it happens its a great opportunity to clincher them.
It’s hilarious when it happens to a Minigun Dozer.
A cool trick is since Hacker’s pocket ECM works like a normal ECM during stealth if your playing with an idiot who fires his gun as soon as he spawns in (read: Me)
You can pop a pocket ECM to buy some time and maybe tie a hostage to delay the assault.
Since the pocket ECM works just like a regular ECM you can actually turn SWAT turrets to your side temporarily! Though this does require standing quite close to the turret, without standing so close it gasses you AND surviving being exposed to all the cops that inevitably crowd around the thing, without being able to take full cover beside it because of the aforementioned gas AND getting away from it once the six seconds are up.
And they make their own unique annoying noise for which there is no cure. Yeaah… I’d still sooner just not have these things in my game tbh.
Remember ALL your teammates get healed when you activate a pocket ECM, watch out for Berzerker mains. Hacker’s 9th tier can non-consensually heal them for the full amount (even if they have Frenzy) negating the Berzerker perks entire effect.
As soon as they hear that ECM override sound they will flip.
Just like Stoic and Kingpin: you cannot pocket ecm while shooting!
The most busted perk deck in the game at time of writing.
Press the 3 key to become almost unstoppable by activating an ability hereafter refered to as “Ampule”
You loose armour and your health is converted into “chunks” with each hit removing a single chunk. Killing two cops (any two cops you can mix specials and regular units) will restore a chunk. There is no time limit on how far apart the kills must be, they can be with the same Graze sniper shot or you can wait out your entire Ampule duration.
For many reasons, some of which are more obvious than others this is outright busted.
Unlike Grinder, Leech can use ANY armour set in the game.
Medics should be your first targets. Their resurrection ability can seriously hamper your regeneration and is one of three enemies that can actually slow you down.
Cloakers are the second enemy that can actually slow you down, their kicks will ignore Leech’s invulnerability.
Turrets are the final word in Payday. Even with the Leech ampule they will turn you into paste in a few seconds.
Since the ampule makes you only loose health in chunks of 20/10% you actually become immune to Sniper fire. The same applies to ZEAL Marksmen.
When trying to get regenerate avoid high health targets like Bulldozers or the Captain as they can be time consuming to kill.
Focus on non-special cops, especially ones who are climbing and can’t attack you. Using your Ampule as a group of cops repels into the level in say Hoxton Breakout day 2 or Mall Crasher will get you HUGE HP regeneration.
I highly recommend Hostage Taker or working with a player who has Crew Chief equipped. The passive regeneration while Leech is deactivated is great, Jokers can also massively increase your survivability.
Killing police hostages also triggers Leech. Providing a reliable, if unsavoury means of obtaining health.
Any kills caused by C4 trip mines will trigger Leech. Unlike Grinder Turrets do not trigger it.
In my mind Leech’s self resurrection is an awkward ability.
The only meaningful use is to save team mates by chaining together Inspire. Having to use a Doctor Bag after every self revive limits its use unless you were already grey.
That said it does reset the timer, so you can use it to give yourself another 25 seconds which can save your ass but I think its best to just not go down in the first place.
(I say, as the player who routinely has most downs out of all my friends)
Be mindful the ampule does not stop fall or self damage, so be careful if you launch grenades at your feet! Also your armour will remain depleted after using the ampule until it refills as normal.
Unlike other support decks Leech does not heal players with the Berzerker perk. So you don’t have to worry about them calling you a troll.
For weapons anything that lets you kill multiple targets works exceedingly well with Leech. Grenade launchers, Sniper rifles, and Shotguns are not only the best weapons in the game but their ability to kill multiple targets with a single bullet (or around/through cover) means you can top yourself off instantly. Grenade launchers in particular can help offset your “weakness” to Bulldozers, a single grenade will shatter both layers of their face plate and kill any other cops near them.
Secondaries are a free choice, if you want suggestions the HRL-7 can one shot Bulldozers and get huge multi-kills, and HE rounds Judge will melt their face plates or the stalwart 5/7 AP and RUS-12 pistols pierce shields.
It’s my recommendation in the debate between Doctor Bags and First Aid Kits to take FAKs, but ultimately the choice is up to you. Leech’s regeneration is insane so you won’t need the healing from FAKs much. Doctor Bags are great for carrying bad teammates though, and there is no shortage of them in PAYDAY 2.
Really your only weakness is you cannot ampule while firing your gun!
General Tips and Closing Thoughts
These tips can work for any deck, or just PAYDAY in general.
Remember, percentage healed scales with total health. Fixed remains fixed.
A lot of perk decks have broken descriptions.
There are mods that fix that, this is the one I run:
Your end of heist card doesn’t matter. Your reward is fixed anyway, don’t make the team sit for five minutes while you pick a card.
You only need one hostage to delay an assault wave. And only if they are tied before the anticipation phase begins. You’ll know its worked when Bain says “Every hostage you take buys you more time” though I think he’ll only talk about it before the first wave.
Deployables aren’t just for you. No mater what you do don’t be the guy who shows up to a heist with only a single ammo bag and when asked if he grabbed the wrong deployable says “It’s a combat build” unless you wanna be part of a inside joke that’s lasted since 2018. Inversely, don’t be the guy who shows up with 14 First Aid Kits and only ever drops them to give himself Uppers.
Graze and other area of effect attacks don’t mix with hostages. You can’t always know what other players are running, but do your best to minimise collateral damage.
Suppressors are a great survival tool. Because of the way AI aggression is calculated “noisy” players are targeted more than “quiet” ones. It’s most noticeable with cops that are farthest from any players.
Don’t fear the meta. Just because you’re not running “crits dragon breath akimbo grims” or some other magic combination doesn’t mean you won’t succeed.
Turrets and Jokers can draw a lot of fire. You won’t see what you prevent with these guys unless you really look. But the difference is staggering.
Never mix Turrets with any weapon that can’t pick ammo off the ground.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Don’t be shy about communicating, even just typing “Cloaker” in the chat when you get kicked can be an invaluable tip off to your team mates.
When in doubt, C4. It’s the best deployable, nearly every heist has a drill or lock that can be skipped with C4 and those that don’t will have at least one choke point or cop spawn you can rope off.
Lastly and most importantly. Any deck can work on any heist and all decks are viable. I myself have beaten heists on Death Wish with Yakuza. I’ve even done loud heists with Burglar.
10% of this game is your build 30% deployables and the rest is you. Heist knowledge is an invaluable skill that can only be gained with time. Knowing what to bring where and when to bring it is priceless.