Five Underrated Survivor Perks in Dead by Daylight

The multiplayer horror game Dead by Daylight brings together icons from across the genre. With each addition comes new perks used to empower the characters. Here are five survivor perks often overlooked and incredibly powerful.

Five Underrated Survivor Perks in Dead by Daylight

With each new chapter, it seems that Dead by Daylight is only getting bigger. With a consistent and cadenced release of original characters and licensed IP, there is something for all horror fans. Every time a new asymmetrical multiplayer game with a horror cover and hunting mechanic is announced someone hails it as the Dead by Daylight killer. Yet, since its release in June of 2016, nothing has seemed to successfully put it in the grave.

Partnerships and agreements have brought horror icons from movies, video games, and even TV for a while together. What other game could have Laurie Strode rescue Steve Harrington from a meat hook in the basement of Jigsaw’s hideout while being chased by Freddy Kruger?

Aside from new characters and the occasional map, every new release adds a variety of perks that alter gameplay and strategy. Occasionally these introductions alter the core meta, or optimized game strategy.

The Over-Played Dead by Daylight Meta

Once the meta has been established it is rather difficult to sway the community from it. Not to mention new players who initially seek the best way to approach their first few matches. Assuming that they have the necessary perks unlocked of course. But, that leaves the game a little stale and disregards a variety of useful and fun character builds.

Example build for the survivor Jane.

Example build for the survivor Jane.

A quick glance through Dead by Daylight Twitch streams and checking builds in the post-game lobby will show the same handful of survivor perks time and time again. Which makes sense given how good they are. Self-Care to heal up when no one else is around to help, Decisive Strike for a second chance to get away, Sprint Burst for that sudden boost in speed, and Dead Hard for a quick fake-out after the first hit. These are undoubtedly strong perks and significantly increase a survivor’s escape.

Useful and Underrated Survivor Perks

The problem is that everyone knows the power of these perks and plays them at nauseum. In hopes of keeping things fresh while maintaining an advantage in the game, here are a few of the most underrated survivor perks in Dead by Daylight.

Dark Sense

As one of the general use perks not attached to a specific survivor, Dark Sense provides a lot of valuable information in exchange for a single perk slot. When it was initially released it simply showed the killer’s aura for a few seconds after the Exit Gates were powered.

Dark Sense being used to see the killer's aura.

Dark Sense being used to see the killer’s aura.

Later this was changed to anytime the player completed a generator. Then, at its peak, the aura of the killer was shown every time a generator was completed by any survivor. The most recent update has added a new caveat: the killer’s aura is shown after a generator is complete and the killer comes within 24 meters.

On the surface, the third iteration was the best option. Someone completes a generator and the player sees where the killer is. This could be used to direct the player where to go and avoid the killer or know if they were already heading their way. The newest version takes away that immediate knowledge in exchange for learning the killer’s location when it is more dangerous.

Fixated a.k.a. Self-Awareness

This perk was originally released with Nancy Wheeler in the Stranger Things DLC. After the license with Netflix expired the name changed and it became openly available. What this perk offers is information about yourself. Initially, it allowed the player to see their own scratch marks and offered a speed bonus when walking and not injured. After an update the “not injured” part was dropped.

Fixated showing the survivor their own scratch marks.

Fixated showing the survivor their own scratch marks.

On the surface, this may seem like a mediocre perk at best. The elegance and power lie in the fact that its best effects are indirect. Adding a speed bonus to walking is good, but why walk when you can run? Running is what creates the bright red scratch marks that can lead the killer directly to a survivor. Seeing the scratch marks makes the player, as the new name suggests, more self-aware. Getting to the next generator to repair faster only to get chased off by a bloodthirsty killer is nowhere near as good as getting there in good time and unseen.


Sometimes a particular lobby can be annoying when queuing into a game solo. That does not disregard the fact that Dead by Daylight is a team game. Everything is specifically designed and balanced, as best as possible, so that one killer equates to four survivors. With that in mind, it is important for survival to keep as many teammates alive for as long as possible.

Survivors healing at the exit gate.

Survivors healing at the exit gate.

Empathy helps with this goal. In short, the player is shown the aura of fellow survivors when injured or dying and within a given radius. This is invaluable information. A teammate injured and hiding with no way to heal themselves? The aura shows exactly where they are for a quick heal. Or, Empathy shows where a chase is occurring to step in as a distraction. In line with the name, it is a great perk to help care for the team as a whole.

Second Wind a.k.a. Renewal

This is another perk that received a name change after the discontinuation of the Stranger Things DLC. Coming from Steve Harrington and now available to all survivors, Renewal grants the survivor what is essentially a free healing.

Injured survivor still working on objectives.

Injured survivor still working on objectives.

After a survivor heals a teammate for a full health state the perk activates. Once the survivor with Renewal is unhooked, whether by a teammate or themselves, they suffer from the broken status effect for a short period. This ranges from 20 to 30 seconds. After the appropriate amount of time, the survivor is immediately healed one health state.

As long as another player does not attempt to heal the survivor or they are not put into the dying state again they heal back to full health. The importance is that it does not interfere with further gameplay. Being able to traverse the map, work on a generator, or cleanse a totem while the timer is still going is not something to be dismissed.


A perk belonging to Adam Francis, Diversion has become a bit of a meme within the Dead by Daylight community. This does not negate its usefulness though. The way that Diversion works is that a survivor must be within the killer’s terror radius and not engaged in a chase for a specific amount of time to activate it. Then, the player can essentially throw a pebble.

Example of loud noise notification on the map.

Example of loud noise notification on the map.

What throwing the pebble accomplishes is the creation of a loud noise notification coupled with scratch marks 20 meters away. This draws the killer’s attention and sends them on a short wild goose chase. Depending on timing and placement this can buy the survivor valuable time to escape a tight situation or get the last few percent of an objective complete. Not to mention the joys of audible shouting “pebble” every time.

With 33 available survivors and over 100 perks to choose from it can easily seem overwhelming to choose. There is the option to try them out and see what clicks, but the time investment to test them all is immense. There are obvious meta perks to focus on, but a little bit of reading a theory-crafting can save hours of time while keeping in-game builds unique and fun.

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