How to Make Builds in Hades
Hades is one of the most complex roguelikes ever conceived. Concocting a build worthy of fighting through all levels of hell can be a challenge for a brand new player and constantly escaping veteran alike. As Hades II looms in the distance, it might be a good time to brush up on some of your escaping skills in the original game! If you’re wondering how you can make good builds in Hades, then we can share some tips that might help you sneak out!
The Infernal Arms of Hades
Before you start your climb out of the Underworld, you have to choose the best weapon that suits your play style. By default, all weapons have an “Attack” and a “Special,” each assigned to a separate button. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each weapon involves looking at Attacks and Specials, then considering which boons will work with them. While each weapon has multiple builds for it, most have a few particular options they prefer.
If you’re just starting in Hades, you’ll only have access to the Stygian Blade. However, as you collect Chthonic Keys and Titan Blood, you’ll be able to start wielding every weapon in your armory.
- Swords use fast attacks and a slow special to manipulate the battlefield. Focusing on Attacks tends to work well for all aspects, though the Aspect of Poseidon is a Cast-centric build.
- Spears have a long-range attack and a fantastic Dash Attack Daedalus Hammer. However, the special is also significantly more effective, and it has a unique charge attack called Spin Attack which is important to some builds and Aspects. Many different builds can come from spears, but focusing on critical rates can be helpful.
- Shields have an Attack with natural knockback, a Special that is quick (and multi-hitting on some aspects), and a Charge Attack that blocks for you. Your Daedalus Hammers will be very important for how your shield’s build works out. However, focusing on Attack for Zagreus and Special for Chaos and Zeus tends to be nice.
- Bows are impactful ranged attackers that benefit from a focus on timing. Attacks are hard-hitting if you time it right, but your Special hits many different times. The Aspect of Hera is one of the best weapons in the game, turning your Casts into nuclear bombs.
- Fists use fast-hitting Attacks and a brutal Special to clear single enemies. Zeus is your best friend for the Attack boon, but your different aspects interact with your Special in different ways, making gods from Ares to Aphrodite impactful.
- Guns offer a rapid-shot attack, benefiting a ton from Zeus or Demeter. Their Special is an okay safety tool, a slow-launching grenade with a heavy impact.
If you’re already familiar with the Infernal Arms, you may be interested in our guide to the best builds for each weapon in Hades.
During your run, you’ll gain Daedalus Hammers to augment your build. Daedalus Hammers help define your builds by changing how your weapon works, often significantly. Be on the lookout for the Daedalus upgrades that fit your play style and your choice of weapon.
When you get to a Daedalus Hammer, you’ll be offered three options. These are all crucial, so you’re going to want to consider a few things:
- What Hammer upgrade best benefits my current boons? For instance, if you have Artemis Attack, choosing a Hammer upgrade that improves the likelihood that your attack chain critically hits can be very beneficial.
- What Hammer upgrade best improves my Aspects? For example, while many Bows prefer to focus on Attacks, the Chiron bow might prefer Concentrated Volley, a Daedalus upgrade which benefits it for hitting the same target multiple times.
As you complete more and more attempts at escaping, you will find that some Hammers benefit your personal play style more than others. For instance, I much prefer the Dash Attack upgrade on Shields — Dashing Wallop — to most others.
Since Daedalus Hammers can’t be re-rolled, they will have the highest impact on your builds. Consider learning as many of them as possible, and trying new things when you can!
How Boons Work for Your Builds in Hades
Each god has their own pool of boons, and the best boon for each god depends on the needs of that individual run. Essentially, they are small buffs which change Zagreus for the better over the course of your escape attempt. Gods can improve your Attack, Dash, Special, Cast, and grant you a special mechanic known as a Call.
While each gods’ boons are unique and can be used for many different builds, they tend to follow a specific trend. We’ll order them here by our personal preference:
- Hermes: A strange god that appears in Area 2 and will be part of every run. Hermes grants bonuses to Attack Speed, Movement Speed, and Dashes.
- Artemis: Grants Critical Damage, a chance to deal triple damage on attack. She also grants some boons for Casts. The Support Fire boon is of incredible use.
- Zeus: Grants Chain Lightning and Lightning Strikes. His Attack Boon, Lightning Strike, is very strong for fast-hitting weapons. He has quite high damage.
- Aphrodite: Grants the Weak status, which reduces enemies damage. Aphrodite’s boons grant the largest generic percentage increase in damage, and her Cast hits the hardest of the gods.
- Demeter: Grants the Chill Status, which slows enemies. Her boons are exceptionally high damage, though her Cast is quite slow and unimpactful without additional investment.
- Athena: Grants the Deflect ability, which reflects enemy projectiles, and the Exposed Status, which allows you to deal extra damage while behind an opponent. Good damage for experienced players, and has some of the best duo boons in the game. Her Deflect on Attack, Special, or Dash will keep you from taking much damage.
- Poseidon: Grants the Ruptured status, which deals damage to enemies on knockback. Many of his boons apply knockback, which is fantastic for clearing rooms. Poseidon Dash is an insanely safe and high-damage dash!
- Ares: Grants the Doom status, which deals damage after a moment. Tends to be underwhelming, though his “Urge to Kill” boon is fantastic.
- Dionysus: Grants the Hangover status, which deals a small amount of damage over time. This damage stacks up to five times, making him able to deal immense damage if applied often. His boons tend to be defensive or healing-focused, so he needs high investment or good Duo Boons to deal massive damage to endgame bosses.
What type of build works for you will ultimately be up to personal preference. However, if you’re really just looking to finally clear the underworld, check out our guide to the best build for your first clear.
Duo Boons and Their Impact
As mentioned a few times in the above text, having specific boons will allow you to sometimes get Duo Boons from gods. Duo Boons combine the strength of two gods’ skill sets to improve your build dramatically. For instance, the Poseidon-Zeus Duo Boon “Sea Storm” can inflict absolutely massive damage when used with Shields.
However, Duo Boons tend to be hard to obtain. Especially in your first few builds, you will want to focus more on learning the game and building a catalogue of normal boons before collecting Duo Boons. For more, you can check out our guide on the best Duo Boons to look for if you need extra guidance in that direction. You can also check your Codex at any point to find specific Duo Boons that might influence your run.
Permanent Progression: The Mirror of Night
Mirror of Night upgrades are perhaps the strongest tools available to help you escape from Hades. You will want to save both Chthonic Keys and Darkness to max this stuff out! They will highly improve all of the builds that you make in the future.
In general, the red, default side of the Mirror of Night tends to be “correct.” Ruthless Reflex, Golden Touch, Family Favorite, and Fated Persuasion have arguments for their strengths, but typically only for more experienced players. The Red choices are safe, and will rarely impact your builds… Though, try to be behind enemies more often than not!
Keepsakes and Companions
Keepsakes are another important aspect of your build. Most Keepsakes guarantee that a god will appear during your run, making it easier to access a specific boon that you want.
However, some Keepsakes can be quite impactful for your build, and leveling them up can come in handy. For instance, the Black Shawl makes backstabbing more important. The Distant Memory is fantastic for ranged weapons.
Companions offer a limited use utility in a run. We prefer using Battie to clear encounters, and it is very useful against the Theseus and the Minotaur boss fight. However, each of them offer a gigantic burst of utility that should be kept in mind during any encounter.
What Is The Most Powerful Build in Hades?
If you’re fortunate enough to get an Aspect of Hera run with Aphrodite cast, Artemis’s “Fully Loaded” and Exit Wounds abilities, and a Chaos boon for Cast damage or ammo, you’re in a good spot. You can augment this build with Hermes’s cast buffers, such as getting Cast Ammo back faster, to further improve this style of play.
What Is The Best Boon to Beat Hades?
If you’re having trouble taking down the big dog, you should consider using a defensive weapon with Athena’s Boons in your builds. Sword, Shield, and Bow all benefit a lot from Deflect, since their attacks are relatively big. The Hades fight has a lot of projectiles, making deflect particularly effective in keeping your health up and even dealing damage.
What is the Best Weapon to Beat Hades?
The Bow is a simple, strong weapon to beat Hades. High attack value, plus long distance, and a Special that can be combined with Athena to clear out projectiles, makes for a consistent weapon with safe distance and spam opportunities. However, for new players, the Sword is a quick attack without much commitment, letting you dash quickly and easily.
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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.