Killing Floor 2 Perk Guide – Survivalist

With so many great perk choices to make in Killing Floor 2, it can be hard to stick to only one method of play; so why not play all of the perks at once? Learn how to become a one-man army with our Killing Floor 2 Survivalist perk guide!

Killing Floor 2 Perk Guide - Survivalist


"We're all still alive… you can thank me later."

Killing Floor 2 is host to a menagerie of different play-styles and characters. While some of the options available might be oriented towards dishing out as much mayhem and damage as they can, others might be more keen on defending the team, focusing important targets, or maintaining the group's health.

"A Jack-of-all-Trades is a master of none." This old saying best describes how the Survivalist gets on in the apocalypse. Able to use any perk weapons, and gaining overall useful stat growths with levels, the Survivalist is a great choice for players who, well, can't make a choice on preferred perks.

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The Survivalist is easy to pick up, but very difficult to master. While the Survivalist can make the most out of a tight situation (such as when the rest of the squad is dead), this desire to excel at every perk's skills makes the Survivalist inferior to every perk they try to mimic by direct comparison.

An entire squad of Survivalists is both the most diverse and most limited composition to any team currently available in Killing Floor 2. Players will be switching out weapons and abilities as often as every single wave if the want to make the most out of the role they need to fill for any squad. With a Survivalist's playstyle having to change almost every other wave, it is highly recommended that Survivalists at least understand how each of the other perks behave to properly fill their roles when using the appropriate weapons.


Weapon Handling
Tactical Reload 5 Heavy Weapons Specialist
Increase reload speed for Commando, Gunslinger, and SWAT weapons.  Increase reload speed for Demolitionist, Sharpshooter and Support weapons.
Survival Techniques
Medic Training 10 Melee Expert
Increase the potency of all your healing 20% and decrease the cooldown of your syringe and healing darts 25%. Increase melee attack speed 15%, inflict 10% more damage, and move 25% faster when using a melee weapon.
Ammo Vest 15 Weapon Belt
Carry up to 15% more ammo for all weapons and your grenade becomes a healing grenade. Increase carrying capacity by 5 and your grenade becomes a Molotov cocktail.
Spontaneous Zed-plosion 20 Make Things go Boom
Zeds you kill have a 20% chance to explode, damaging and knocking down nearby zeds. Increase area of effect of all Explosives 25%
Specialist Training
ZED TIME – Madman 25 ZED TIME – Lockdown
During Zed time, all your weapons shoot 3x faster. During Zed time, the power of all incapacitation methods are increased 200% for all weapons.


Much like the Tactical Reload skills of other perks, the two skills available here give a large increase to the reload speed and unique animation of all perk weapons affected by either half of this choice. This ability should be changed out depending on the perk weapon you decide to use for the upcoming wave. Take priority in switching this skill around first when changing your play-style to fit the current weapon you carry.


Overall it is better to take Medic Training as a skill, since teams more often require someone with good healing ability to keep everyone alive as opposed to someone who would be better off playing Berserker. Keep in mind that this ability increases your syringe and healing dart's capabilities, so it is not a requirement to use Medic weapons to be effective with this skill.

If playing solo, the increased movement speed that comes with carrying something as versatile as the Krovel is pretty useful; but the syringe power is great for self-healing in a pinch or two… or five.


These skills are controversial in the community, mostly due to the fact that Survivors that reach level 15 have their High Explosive Grenade replaced by other utilities that are not focused on damage. Once again, the healing-oriented skill Ammo Vest will be useful when your squad lacks any Field Medics.

Alternatively, Weapon Belt is a good skill for Survivalists who find themselves with allies that get themselves killed often (whether by themselves or through poor coordination doesn't matter). If you find an abundance of weapons being dropped, the extra carrying capacity makes it more likely that you can carry your allies' weapons (and use them) while you travel to the Trader Pod.


Unlike the related Firebug skill, Spontaneous Zed-plosion can be used to great effect for Survivalists that use horde-clearing weapons like SMGs or assault rifles. The skill only works to amplify the Survivalist's ability to keep weaker zed crowds under control while the team focuses bigger threats or cashes in on the easy kills.


The final choice for all Survivalists. These two skills aren't anything too special or unique; with the main draw being for Survivalists that want to get out a lot of damage (Madman), or encouraging Survivalists to stun large zeds with shotguns or quick-spraying weapons (Lockdown).


Before delving too far into this, it should be worth a mention that playing the Survivalist perk is much like drawing a hand in Poker. Sometimes the hand you start with is just not what you're looking for; and it's up to you to make the most of what you're given. Okay? Okay. Let's get into this.

The Survivalist starts out with two High Explosive Grenades, much like the Commando, but they also start out with a random starting weapon for any of the other perks currently in Killing Floor 2, making for some games that start out very easy, or rather difficult, depending on the player's preferred play-style.


There are three types of grenades available to Survivalists; while two of these grenades depend on perk level, all will be covered for the sake of player's who want to know how best to use these different types.

The Survivalist starts with the Commando's High Explosive Grenade. For a longer description of how best to use this grenade, please see the Commando perk guide's section on grenades. The short answer to how this grenade is best used is that it should be thrown at Clots, Gorefasts, Crawlers, Stalkers, and Fleshpounds. The grenade's large amount of explosive damage is great for instantly clearing out hordes of weak zeds, and the purely explosive damage is a vulnerability of Fleshpounds, allowing Survivalists to throw out a lot of burst damage once one of these brutes lumbers on to the field.

At level 15, the Survivalist then has to choose between the Field Medic's Medic Grenade or the Firebug's Molotov Cocktail.

The Medic Grenade is always a great choice for any character. While it might not be a massively powerful grenade like the HE Grenade, the healing ability (especially when augmented by Medic Training) is great for perks that can hold down a large zed in a small area without risk of a quick demise.

Alternatively, if you have a Field Medic or another Survivalist using the Ammo Vest skill, the Molotov Cocktail is just about as 'meh' damage-wise as the Medic Grenade, but will make most zeds caught in the burst of fire panic, reducing threat towards your team by a fair margin, and guaranteeing a lot of kill assists (and dosh) for your efforts.

Play Styles

Much like how the Survivalist perk doesn't follow a very clear-cut approach to any given situation, the guide for this perk will need to deviate from the traditional "how to fight the bad things" into more of a guide on how to effectively use the various perk weapons you have access to; such as situations where one perk might be most effective, or what perk weapons are most economical when trying to save up on money.

With that out of the way, let's get into the perks and what they'll mean for a Survivalist.


Killing Floor 2's Berserker Perk
Being the supreme master of melee combat, the Berserker class of perk weapons is a good choice when playing economical. For an upfront payment towards the preferred item (excluding the Vlad Nailgun or Eviscerator); there is no need to purchase ammunition afterwards.

Starting with this perk's Krovel Survival Tool is great for the beginning rounds; but the overall damage resistance (capping out at 25%) isn't much help at later waves; especially at higher difficulties, much like the Berserker perk's drawback. Only use Berserker weapons during your first couple waves; and trade them in for ranged alternatives quickly; it will improve your survival rate if you do.


Killing Floor 2's Commando Perk
Starting with the Varmint Rifle isn't really a good hand to begin a game with. The good news about this perk's starting weapon is that you can use it liberally in the first wave, then sell it for a more effective alternative during the shopping phase.

Taking Commando perk weapons essentially makes you a Commando that can't spot Stalkers for your team (which is one of the few reasons Commando stands out), and this isn't great for a team that already has perks that can clean up weaker zeds for you. The Commando weapons aren't much help against larger zeds, so this perk's weapon choices are mostly used as a step towards getting more powerful weapons from other perks.


Killing Floor 2's Support Specialist Perk
The Support Specialist perk weapons are a suitable middle-ground for what a Survivalist should be looking for in their loadout. Starting out with the SG-500 shotgun is great in the long term. The shotgun should last up until you're encountering Scrakes and Fleshpounds, so be sure to keep the gun supplied, while saving up a bit more to either pursue this perk's weapons and get the AA12, or settle for the Boomstick before moving on to another perk's weapon list.

You can keep weak zeds down and still have a hand in attacking larger threats; and the ammunition and overall price for these weapons won't leave you bankrupt after every wave; making it a great 'par for the course' until you're ready to make a more risky purchase.


Killing Floor 2's Field Medic Perk
This is the perk that you might find yourself compared to most often; the 'not as good as a Field Medic' medic. While it's true that the Survivalist is inferior to the Field Medic in every skill revolving around the original perk's bonuses, don't let that discourage you from taking Medic weapons to help keep the team healthy.

Starting with the Medic Pistol isn't exactly the best place to start, but it is additional healing to be supplied to the team (which is very useful on harder difficulties). Take Medic perk weapons if the team could benefit from having another person healing the squad. If you don't have a dedicated Field Medic in your team, it will be much more beneficial to just hold onto that perk instead.

If your team is getting killed too quickly for your less-effective healing to save them, it's time to either become the doctor, or take a different perk's weapons. It sucks, but someone has to do it.


Killing Floor 2's Demolitionist Perk
Taking Demolitionist weapons is like doubling-down while gambling. You know that what you're about to do can screw you and your squad over; but there's still a great chance to come out of the ordeal in great condition.

Demolitionist perk weapons are an asset and liability to the perk dedicated to them; but that doesn't mean you have to suffer the same way they do! Starting with the Grenade Pistol sucks, but sell it for something less expensive and more useful, like Firebug or Gunslinger weapons. If you save enough money, try to get either the Demolitionist M16 rifle or RPG and get straight into the good stuff.

Demolitionist weapons are not necessary to be a good Survivalist, but they are the most effective if the team doesn't have any heavy-hitting perks on the team.


Killing Floor 2's Firebug Perk
Starting with the Firebug perk's Caulk n' Burn isn't a great way to start any wave (mostly due to the lack of stumbling power provided by the Firebug perk) but quickly becomes one of the most useful perk weapon sets to use at max level.

The Microwave Gun aside, a lot of the Firebug's weapons are relatively cheap, and come with plenty of ammo to disrupt enemies if ZED Time is activated. The damage you'll do is terrible (excluding the Microwave Gun in some cases), and the best you'll do is keep Sirens quiet if you hit them with the Microwave Gun.

If ZED Time is activated, you will quickly cause zeds to panic with Lockdown, or quickly pop zeds if you are using Madman instead. As great as some Firebug weapons are, though, a lot of the time this perk should just be used as a stepping stone to get more powerful weapons in the future.


Killing Floor 2's Gunslinger Perk
Starting from this point onward, the following perk weapon lists will be a majority of what you'll be carrying as a Survivalist.

The Dual 1858 Revolvers are a great starting weapon; and can last up until you encounter Scrakes. With the speed associated with Gunslinger weapons, the relatively cheap ammunition, and the only major downside being the reload times for the akimbo weapons (which can be offset by Tactical Reload), these weapons are great for building up dosh for bigger purchases.

Be careful, though, these perk weapons might inspire you to start running off by yourself a lot; and this will either get you — or your squad mates — killed off. This perk's weapons are great for general survival, but you need to be sure to work with your team on what is currently needed from the squad. If the team doesn't need more bullets, consider switching the handguns in for something with more utility or raw firepower.


Killing Floor 2's Sharpshooter Perk
This will more often be your final stopping point for weapon upgrades as a Survivalist. The Sharpshooter's portfolio of various rifles make for great stopping power in the squad; albeit without being able to penetrate rounds through multiple zeds.

While you can't exactly double for crowd control like the dedicated perk; you can still focus on doing large amounts of damage to a single target at a time (most often Bloats, Husks, Scrakes, and Fleshpounds). The weapons and ammunition you will be using will become expensive if you're not making your shots count. As a result, great accuracy — much like the dedicated perk — will be important to using this perk's weapons effectively.

If the squad needs more people to focus on taking out large groups of zeds, rather than everyone carrying rocket launchers and snipers; don't go for this perk's weapons. It would be better if you kept with Gunslinger weapons up until the boss wave.


Killing Floor 2's SWAT Perk
Acting as a sort-of middle ground between the Gunslinger's speed and the Sharpshooter's high damage; the SWAT perk weapons are probably the most adaptable for any situation, and benefit both the Survivalist perk's progression and the SWAT's perk progression (both of which being to kill Clots with perk weapons).

Beginning a game with the SWAT's MP7 SMG is a Godsend. You can keep that gun until you are fighting Scrakes, at which point you don't have to sell it for an upgrade; just keep it as a back-up while you use bigger weapons on the more dangerous enemies.

The SWAT perk weapons have a big focus on killing hordes of weak zeds very quickly. Pursuing the SWAT perk weapon upgrades to the Kriss SMG isn't always a bad decision. The Kriss is a literal bullet hose, and has the option to change fire modes so as not to waste ammo on getting single-fire headshots against Clots, Crawlers, and Stalkers.

You have a lot of options when taking the SWAT perk weapons, and you don't really need to take other perk weapons unless you would prefer to; or if it seems abundantly obvious that your squad will benefit from another type of perk weapons being used.


For the most part, Survivalists don't have a cookie-cutter approach to progressing through Short, Medium, or Long games; and that's part of what makes them dynamic and fun.

As you play Survivalist yourself; you'll find that not everything said here will apply to some of the situations you might find yourself in. From one player to another, their Survivalist Tactics might differ a little or a lot between each other. It is worth mentioning that you should not hold the following information to heart; you will find a method you might prefer over what I offer, and I want you to explore your own options and refine your playstyle as you see fit.

Adaptability makes for the best Survivalist, after all.


Team composition is one of the first things you should consider when selecting your loadout. If your squad appears to lack any Medics, take up Medic weapons and the Ammo Vest skill to spread some healing around. If that isn't working, you might just have to switch to the dedicated perk next wave. This applies to any kind of role you're filling:
If you need more mob clean-up, take Commando, Firebug, SWAT, or Gunslinger routes;
If you need more single-target damage, take up Sharpshooter or Demolitionist routes;
If the squad seems well covered, just take some adaptable roles, or grab a little from multiple roles.

In the less likely event you are in a squad of Survivalists; communication will be important here. Use text or voice chat to try and come to an appropriate role for everyone. A great way to quickly resolve this is to have everyone agree to take on roles based on what their starting weapon will be.


One role you might find yourself in regardless of loadout is that of the banker. You are one of the best candidates for saving money, since you can essentially choose how you want to spend your dosh. You don't have to follow a linear upgrade path like other perks; and can pick and choose what weapons you find most effective in your squad's combined set-up.

You might have to give some money to your support roles or heavy damage-dealers so they can either afford the next weapon tier, or have enough dosh to fill up on ammunition. Don't feel broken up about it though; even if they aren't saying it directly, your team will appreciate it.


Currently, there are two bosses in the game, Dr. Hans Volter, an old German scientist who worked with Horzine before taking part in creating the specimens; and the Patriarch, the head scientist for the entire research project, and self-proclaimed 'father' to all of the zeds. The chance for either of these bosses spawning is random, and teams will not have a chance to change their perks or equipment once the wave has begun and the boss has arrived.


Killing Floor 2's Nazi scientist, Hans Volter
The Nazi scientist who still believes in the Reich, Hans Volter was one of the leading scientists for Horzine's specimen project before being convinced with what the team's head scientist had in mind. Keeping himself alive with an integrated life-support system outfitted with an exosuit to augment his physical capabilities, Hans attacks the squad with Freddy Kruger-inspired syringe gauntlets and a pair of StG-44 assault rifles, referred to as "Twin Fangs" by the doctor.

The best way to fight Hans is to be aware of how he fights, and what his weaknesses are. Hans is a fast-moving boss with a smaller frame to fire at. A lot of his frame is metal, as well; making him relatively protected from bullets. However, accurate shots can stumble or stagger Hans while people with explosives can dish out a lot of damage at once.

Hans will occasionally throw out gas grenades and fragmentation grenades in bundles to try and disrupt the squad. There is not much that can be done to stop this as a Berserker, other than hope your team knows to avoid the grenades.

Once Hans has lost most of his health, he will activate a shield (shown as a narrow blue bar above his health) and toss a handful of smoke grenades at the squad before trying to rush down an ally, claws extended. Being the squad's Berserker, you have two choices, you can either let Hans attack you; where he will sap your health using his syringes, utilizing it to heal himself, or run away while your team tries to destroy his shield. Regardless of what happens, Hans will move very quickly, making him a harder target to hit; and his shield is resistant to all types of damage, save for your EMP Grenades (although using grenades is not recommended, as he will typically run over/away from them before they have a chance to detonate).

If your squad is able to destroy Hans' shield before he can heal, he will no longer attempt to heal himself, making for an easier fight to finish. If allowed to heal, though, he will regain up to 80% of his max health, doing this up to three times before going into his final phase.

Hans will become more aggressive as he gets to later stages of his life (indicated by the lights in his suit). His attacks will change up to include attacking with the bayonets of his Twing Fangs (eventually becoming unblockable attacks in the final two stages), making large, leaping attacks with his claws (once again, unblockable), and throwing out more grenades more often, causing a lot of confusion and having the possibility to deal a lot of damage near the end.

Survivalist's will always have a tough time dealing with either boss, since they can't really predict who will appear beforehand, and must tailor their loadout to who they think will come. Alternatively, a Survivalist can carry weapons that are neither effective or ineffective against either boss, and settle for less-impressive results, regardless of the outcome.


Killing Floor 2's main antagonist, The Patriarch
This is a mean individual who has decided that genetic engineering is the key to a successful, elevated human future. Unfortunately for humanity, this involves cloning a bunch of mutants with no interest in anything other than the elimination of all humans. The Patriarch, is the head of this entire problem, and he exemplifies this logic to a terrifyingly simple solution; a rocket launcher/mini-gun combo for and arm.

The Patriarch utilizes a cloaking system much like the Stalker, but his bigger form makes him a bit easier to spot from a distance. During the first few moments of the fight against the Patriarch, consider where the camera showed him appearing, and use your map knowledge to guess where he will come from. If you hear your allies firing consistently in a direction, look over there to see if they are hitting the Patriarch (his cloak will flicker where it is hit).

Rockets work wonders on this guy. As long as you're able to stay behind cover when the Patriarch is using his minigun or rocket launcher; you can just peek out and fire while your team distracts him. If rockets aren't your forte, consider using Sharpshooter weapons and aim for his weak-points to deal considerable damage.

Just be sure to run if he comes after you.

Your role in this fight varies from heavy-hitting perk to cleaning crew once this guy sends more specimens after your squad. Regardless of whatever perk weapons you intended to take into the boss wave, be sure to have at least one hard-hitting weapon on hand, even if it has to be as little as a Hand Cannon.

The major drawback for the Survivalist in this scenario is that one cannot be sure of their loadout's effectiveness when going into the boss wave. You either have to get lucky or play it safe and only be of marginal help compared to the more dedicated perks on your team. It is an issue where the uncertainty of your perk does not match up with the uncertainty of the eventual boss fight.

It is recommended that you settle for taking a dedicated perk prior to the boss wave.


Starting out as a simple idea can quickly become a truly deep and engaging experience when beginning to play as the Survivalist. Being matched with a random weapon every time you spawn in makes it almost essential that a Survivalist has a solid grasp of how all of the other perks function before they should feel comfortable playing a Survivalist most of the time.

Although it is recommended that experts at Killing Floor 2 should play this class seriously; the Survivalist perk is a great way to 'dive into the deep end' if you are a player looking to see what the game has to offer overall.

Being the most flexible perk released thus far, the Survivalist supplies the most engaging experience for players in Killing Floor 2; when other perks have their strategies down to a pseudo-checklist, the Survivalist perk can pick and choose what they deem to be the most effective weapons to carry into any given situation, with the only limit being how much they can carry.

Being a perk that perfectly embodies the mindset of an individual scrounging up whatever they can fight with; the Survivalist can be considered the 'Party Game Perk' for players that are looking for a less-serious, more randomized play session in Killing Floor 2.

Guides will be made available regularly for each of the perks in sequential order, if you would like to check out our other perk guides, click on any that interest you below:

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