Hades | Best Build For Your First Clear

Hades first clear

Climbing your way out of hell is quite important to the storyline of Hades. Once you get out once, you’re bound to find ways to do it again and again! However, that first clear will always be the hardest, and it can get frustrating to never climb quite as far as you want. This guide will introduce you to some tips and the best build that is sure to aid your quest out of Hades!

The Best Build For Your First Clear in Hades

Hades first clear

Before we begin, it’s important to note that your first clear is going to take a while. It’s critical to upgrade the Mirror of Night and learn boss patterns each time you ascend. That way, you can reduce damage to yourself… And come back to life once or twice!

For the best build for your first clear, we recommend the following Major Upgrades for a player who wants to go toe-to-toe with Hades’s finest.

  • Attack: Athena (Divine Strike)
  • Special: Ares (Curse of Pain)
  • Cast: Any
  • Dash: Poseidon (Tidal Dash)
  • Call: Ares / Athena (Ares’s Aid, Athena’s Aid)

This setup focuses on two powerhouses: Athena and Ares.

Athena’s attack has the special property of deflecting projectiles. Every sword swing, punch, dash arrow… They all protect you from the many different ranged options that enemies have! All of the bosses in the game have a ton of projectiles too, meaning you won’t lose much damage during boss fights.

Ares’s Special deals damage after a short time. Since all weapons – other than the bow – want you to use Special sparingly, the extra damage that Ares grants is very, very high! For the Bow, we recommend Zeus Special, Thunder Flourish… Though, Ares isn’t terrible on Bow’s special, either!

Casts all perform similarly. Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, and Demeter (once unlocked) are better at a single target. Ares, Dionysus, and Zeus are stellar area-of-effect spammers. Poseidon is in-between, and is a great default cast to pick!

Tidal Dash is crazy. In typical encounters, this can actually win you the fight by itself. The Push-Back shoves enemies into walls, which deals additional damage and hitstun to them. This can clear the last area of Hades – The Temple of Styx – very, very easily.

Both Ares’s and Athena’s calls give you total invincibility when used. They’re both great “get out of jail free” cards; Ares does passive damage while Athena does not hinder your control at all. Poseidon’s also gives you total invincibility, but is significantly harder to control. Most other calls just deal damage. Damage is great, but survivability so you can learn mechanics? Much greater.

New Player Advice

Hades first clear

While builds work great to improve your damage and survivability, that’s not all that you’ll need. Battling out of Hades requires a quick hand and a bit of luck. Here’s some advice to help you out!

  • Dashing Is Your Friend: Dash attacks may look weak, but dashing is so important to the game. You are completely invincible as you zip around the battlefield, which will let you survive deadly encounters more reliably. As you get used to Zagreus’s durability, you can slow down on dashing. However, while you’re starting, try to dash in circles around fights to avoid damage.
  • Save for the Second Death’s Defiance and Health: Early on, the ability to make mistakes is going to be crucial for your learning. Death’s Defiance will allow you to “lose” to bosses, but give you another chance to learn more, or even take them down. You can then replenish Death’s Defiances with Athena or at Charon Shops. Getting to 100 Health will also be useful, since that’ll make you get more health with Death’s Defiance… As well as just starting with more in the first place.
  • Use Nectar on Gods: As you’re playing runs, you may notice that you can offer the Gods Nectar before taking their boons. Try to do this at least once for each God. That will grant you their Keepsake. The Gods’ Keepsakes will force them to spawn in your run, as well as upgrade the rarity of their boons. Great for guaranteeing consistent runs with the strongest gods, like Artemis or Zeus (for bow and Gauntlet runs).

Loving Hades? So do we! Check out some of the guides that we’ve made for this GOTY contender!

Jason Toro

Jason Toro

Jason Toro-McCue has committed his schooling to the study of the connection between game design and narrative. When he's not working on this bond through writing articles or guides, he's playing Dungeons & Dragons, or just playing games themselves and looking at the story there.