Top 15 Skills in Payday 2, Ranked Worst to Best (2023) (2024)

Payday 2 is a game of variety that gives players complete control over their gameplay and playstyle. This freedom in Payday 2 allows players to adapt the game to their personal preferences rather than having to adapt to the game. The game has something for everyone. Viable builds range from passive and stealthy playstyles to more aggressive and explosive tactics.

In Payday 2, to succeed in your heist, you must grab the right equipment and weapons and acquire the right skills that will give you active and passive abilities to help you reach your goals.

This article covers everything you need to know about the best skill in Payday 2. After reading, you will be equipped to improve all of your favorite loadouts!

What Are Skills in Payday 2?

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For those unfamiliar with the basics, we’ll do a very brief intro to skills in Payday 2 before diving into the top choices.

You can unlock and upgrade skills to enhance and obtain specific abilities. They may provide active or passive stats that will heavily improve your performance during a heist.

There is an incredible variety of skills in Payday 2. You can truly find anything to match your playstyle. This is why there are so many viable and great builds for Payday 2 that cover all playstyles, as some will benefit from stealth, others aggressivity and weapon stats.

Because of the vast number of skills, we decided to list the 15 best Payday 2 skills based on how useful and practical they are during a heist.

Top 15 Skills in Payday 2

15. Steady Grip – Right Between The Eyes

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Steady Grip is a great skill that will add eight extra accuracy points to any weapon, making it a good option if you use high-recoil guns, such as light machine guns.

This ability comes as part of the Oppressor Branch in the Technician Deck.

Aced Version

The Aced version will grant 16 additional stability points to any weapon.

Why is Steady Grip a Great Skill?

Steady Grip is an excellent skill when carrying low accuracy and stability weapons. Even if you use a high-accuracy weapon, this perk will make your bullets as accurate as laser beams.

14. Stockholm Syndrome – The Ace Under Your Sleeve

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Stockholm Syndrome is a fan favorite, as this perk will intimidate civilians with the noises you make and will keep them in that state for 50% longer.

This skill is part of the Controller Branch in the Mastermind Deck.

Aced

Aced Stockholm Syndrome will cause civilians not to flee, even when rescued by your enemies. They will even trade themselves if they get captured. Remember that it can only happen once during a heist.

Why is Stockholm Syndrome a Great Skill

Stockholm Syndrome is basically an extra life, especially for those players who like to rely on having hostages; this is a great skill to have. In particular, we recommend this for our stealth build in Payday 2, where you don’t want to make too much unnecessary noise.

13. Forced Friendship – Keep Your Hostages at Bay

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Forced Friendship is a skill that supplies additional cable ties and helps you tie hostages faster.

This skill is part of the Controller Branch in the Mastermind Deck.

Aced

You will receive 0.5 damage absorption for each hostage in your custody, and it can stack up to a maximum of 8 hostages.

Why is Forced Friendship a Great Skill

Forced Friendship is an excellent perk to have along with Stockholm Syndrome as it will provide a passive stat that will positively affect your HP. If you enjoy the play style where you have to take hostages during your heist, this is a great skill pick for Payday 2.

12. Underdog – Now We Are Even

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Underdog is a fantastic perk that will benefit your weapon damage when enemies are 18 meters or less from you and are targeting you. You will receive 15% more damage for 7 seconds.

This skill is part of the Shotgunner Branch in the Enforcer Deck.

Aced

When Aced, you will also receive a 10% damage reduction every time an enemy hits you for 7 seconds.

Why is Underdog a Great Skill in Payday 2

Underdog is an excellent skill for aggressive players as it will reward you for getting close and personal with your enemies. This Payday 2 skill will greatly benefit close-range weapons such as submachine guns and shotguns.

Even more hardcore and up-close, melee builds in Payday 2 can enjoy this skill’s benefit. It will reduce the damage you take as you close the distance.

11. Resilience – Tank Your Way Out

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Resilience is another great skill for players who like close-quarter combat, as it will indefinitely increase their armor recovery rate by 15%.

This skill is part of the Tank branch in the Enforcer deck.

Aced

The effect of flashbangs gets reduced by 75%.

Why is Resilience a Great Skill

Resilience is a good skill for frontline Payday 2 players, gunning down enemies and absorbing high amounts of damage. In particular, we highly recommend this skill for players trying to complete a great leech build in Payday 2.

10. Overkill – Feel Like Rambo

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The basic version of Overkill will provide 75% more damage for 20 seconds every time you kill an enemy with a shotgun or the OVE9000 Portable Saw.

This skill is part of the Shotgunner Branch in the Enforcer Deck.

Aced

The 75% damage status will apply to any weapon except melee, throwables, and launchers but will still need to be activated by a shotgun or the OVE9000 Portable Saw. You will also gain 80% weapon swap speed.

Why Overkill is a Worthwhile Skill in Payday 2

Overkill is the perfect skill for players that like to rush and want to benefit from using shotguns. If this sounds like you, we highly recommend you check out our list of the best Payday 2 guns and weapons. There are some great shotgun picks available to you.

9. Body Expertise – Make Every Bullet Count

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Body Expertise is an excellent Payday 2 skill for a less tactical player. It provides 30% headshot bonus damage to enemies hit in the body. Body Expertise can only be used with Submachine guns, Assault Rifles, Light Machine Guns, and Special Automatic Weapons.

This skill is part of the Oppressor Branch in the Technician Deck.

Aced

Aced Body Expertise will increase the status to 90%.

Why is Body Expertise a Great Skill?

Body Expertise will help more aggressive players with high rate of fire weapons do even more damage. When you use Body Expertise, you can care less about where your bullets go, as they will deal greatly increase damage even on body shots.

8. Joker – We Are Hiring!

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Joker is an excellent skill to gain extra firepower, as it will convert any non-special enemy to fight on your side. This skill won’t work in stealth runs; enemies must surrender for the this Payday 2 skill to take effect.

This skill is part of the Controller Branch in the Mastermind Deck.

Aced

Any enemy converted will deal 35% more damage. The conversion time is also reduced by 65%.

Why Joker Should Be Included in Your Next Payday 2 Loadout

Joker is a great asset for those looking to increase their firepower with the help of an AI-controlled ally. Not only will it create a chaotic bullet storm on your adversary’s camp, but Joker can also support solo players who want to focus on completing mission objectives.

Players who want to lean into this style of play can also take it while running a turret build in Payday 2. This will truly maximize your AI-controlled damage output in-game.

7. Transporter – Look at Those Arms

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With the Transporter skill, your Payday 2 gameplay is taken to a whole new level. It enables you to throw bags up to 50% farther than usual and helps with movement when juggling multiple bags simultaneously. This amazing ability will make it easier for you to complete objectives quickly and efficiently!

This skill is part of the Tank Branch of the Enforcer deck.

Aced

Every ten armor points you have will reduce the movement penalty by 1%.

Why is Transporter a Great Skill to Include in Your Next Payday 2 Loadout

This skill can play a significant role at the end of the match when you are low on supplies and want to flee quickly, as it will allow you to move faster. It can work in a variety of builds.

6. Second Wind – Screw This, I’m Out

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The Second Wind Skill will increase your movement speed by 30% for five seconds every time your armor breaks. This happens quite often, so you can expect this effect to trigger several times in a heist.

This skill is part of the Silent Killer Branch in the Ghost Deck.

Aced

The Movement Speed buff will get applied to your teammates.

Why Second Wind Is a Great Payday 2 Skill

In a game like Payday 2, it is almost impossible not to receive damage. As a result, your armor breaking is inevitable. Therefore, a skill that will help you move faster when this happens is very useful. You will want to escape danger quickly when taking heavy fire!

In particular, we highly recommend this skill for any Stoic build in Payday 2.

The 5 Best Skills in Payday 2

5. Die Hard – No, It Won’t Turn You Into John McClane

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The Die Hard skill will benefit speed-running players or heavy tanks, as they will take 50% less damage when interacting with objects. You will want to consider this skill if your teammates can’t cover you while you take the objectives. For solo players or those who run with bots often, we highly recommend it.

This Payday 2 skill is part of the Tank Branch in the Enforcer deck.

Aced

Die Hard will also increase the armor of the Ballistic Vest by 20.

Why is Die Hard a Great Skill

Die Hard will be helpful for players that like to focus on the objective while their teammates are fighting the enemies or if they feel they may need to finish the heist solo. While the benefit sounds very situational, it can be very helpful in in-game crises.

4. Painkillers – A Perfect Payday 2 Skill for Those Friends That Die a Lot

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Every time you revive a teammate, they will take 30% less damage for the next five seconds. This is a fun skill for more supportive players.

This skill is part of the Medic Branch in the Mastermind deck.

Aced

Painkillers’ effect status gets increased to an additional 50%.

Why is the Painkillers Skill Good

If you prefer to take on a supportive role for your Payday 2 team, Painkiller is the ideal skill for you! We often recommend one player who is a dedicated support on a squad take this skill, but not multiple players. That would be a bit of overkill.

3. Hardware Expert – Be The Teammate Everybody Wants

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Your ability to fix drills and saws is buffed. Specifically, it will allow you to repair them faster by 25%. This skill will also affect the mine deployment time by 20%. Another great buff of this skill—and very significant, especially for stealth players—is that it will make drills and saws completely silent.

This skill is part of the Breacher Branch in the Technician deck.

Aced

Broken drills and saws have a 10% chance of restarting automatically. Hardware Expert won’t benefit the OVE9000 saw.

When You Should Consider Using the Hardware Expert Skill in Payday 2

Hardware Expert will allow you to complete your objective faster and greatly benefit stealth playthroughs. That is why we highly recommend it in stealth builds. Yet, the skill may not be worth it if you are not trying for a silent playthrough.

2. Duck and Cover – A Perfect Payday 2 Skill for Dodge Builds

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Duck and Cover is a must-have Payday 2 for those creating dodge builds! Stamina regeneration will occur 25% quicker, and your run speed will also increase by 25%. Don’t miss out on these powerful benefits if you want increased mobility in your kit.

This skill is part of the Artful Dodger Branch in the Ghost deck.

Aced

Your chances to dodge while sprinting will be increased by 10% and 15% while ziplining.

Why is Duck and Cover a Terrific Skill in Payday 2

Duck and Cover is the perfect skill for players going for a dodge build in Payday 2. This is because it significantly increases your mobility and provides much faster movement. It’s absolutely critical for any high-agility builds.

1. Inspire – Lead The Pack (One of the Best Payday 2 Skills)

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Inspire is undoubtedly the best skill available in Payday 2. It allows you to revive teammates 100% faster and makes them move 20% faster for 10 seconds simply by shouting at them.

This skill is part of the Medic Branch in the Mastermind deck.

Aced

Inspire gets much better when Aced, as you can revive teammates from up to 9 meters by shouting at them. This range increase means you can help revive them from behind cover and safety.

Why Inspire is the Best Payday 2 Skill

Inspire is the ideal talent for players who are looking to maximize their efficiency and performance without wasting precious time. On harder difficulties where players will more often fall, it’s a must-have ability to revive them from behind cover.

We really believe that this is the most essential skill in Payday 2, and it should be included in at least one team member’s build for every heist.

Last Thoughts

We hope this list has helped you select the best skills for your upcoming heist in Payday 2 to become a legendary thief. We have handpicked these skills based on their utility and enjoyment during a match.

Please let us know what you think about these skills in the comment(s) below. Moreover, we’d love to learn about your favorite skill and its usefulness to your top builds.

Feel free to visit our other guides and lists for Payday 2, including our guidance on how to invite and play with friends in Payday 2 or our list of the best Payday 2 DLC packs.

Good Luck, and Good Heist!

Top 15 Skills in Payday 2, Ranked Worst to Best (2023) (2024)

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