A fantastic early access roguelike shooter, Risk of Rain 2 has over 100 different items to make each run unique. The wide array of powers and abilities these items provide to our stalwart explorers can be confusing, dizzying, and downright difficult to parse for some players old and new alike. Whether you’re shooting for new achievements or exploring the world on a new character, here are three distinct item synergies I think you’ll enjoy, that are available to and viable for every character.

This is the first article I’ve written about Risk of Rain 2, and I look forward to producing more. Do you have a favorite Risk of Rain 2 build or item set? Email me and see if it ends up in a future article!

The Orbital Cannon

It’s hard to argue that calling down space-lasers isn’t fun. Line up a target, press a button, and watch the target get vaporized. The Royal Capacitor equipment item, unlocked after beating a stage with at least two Shrines of the Mountain active, has an extremely short cooldown and can be used frequently to deal damage and stun large groups of foes. What if—and hear me out—you wanted more lasers than the Capacitor could call down on its own? Keep reading!

Lunar items are, by design, double-edged swords. Each provides a powerful effect, but the power always comes at a price. In the case of the Gesture of the Drowned, obtained by chasing 20 hermit crab enemies off of cliffs, it massively cuts down the recharge time on your equipment item, but said equipment will now automatically trigger at the first opportunity, meaning you have little control over how it’s used.

As the stage number climbs, and more and more enemies start to spawn, eventually it doesn’t matter that you’re targeting one particular enemy over another, particularly with area-of-effect weapons like the Capacitor. Stack a few Fuel Cells to get extra uses of your equipment—with additional cooldown reduction—and all of a sudden you’re a laser-slinging orbital wizard that does unceasing damage to enemies no matter how far away they are, just by looking at them.

If you want to get really silly with this combination try finding a Soulbound Catalyst for an even more crazy rate of fire.

A Patch of Roses

An often-overlooked item in Risk of Rain 2 is the lowly Razorwire. Any time you take damage it fires out retaliatory blades, with extra item stacks increasing the range as well as number of targets struck. As taking damage is often seen as the antithesis of staying alive, many people justifiably rank this item far below its more survivability-encouraging kin.

That stacking bonus however, means it doesn’t take many copies of Razorwire to greatly expand the targets who get struck whenever you take even a single damage. With five of them your retaliations are hitting up to 15 enemies in a 75m radius. Though the damage may not be major, the sheer range available makes this a solid investment.

Another overlooked aspect of this highly valuable item is that each time it strikes an enemy, it triggers on-hit effects. A few copies of Leeching Seed, which heals you every time you hit an enemy, and all of a sudden you’re healing hundreds back every time you take even a single point of damage. If you’ve been working on a crit build with Lens-Maker’s Glasses and Harvester’s Scythes, you’re pulling in even more healing.

All damaging effects trigger this explosion of carnage, whether caused by an enemy, an item such as the Helfire Tincture, the hostile atmosphere in the Void Fields, or even the survivor itself. While available and effective for any hero, this build absolutely shines for Rex, many of whose abilities actively cause health loss. Being able to shoot out thorns, functionally across the map, with a single press of a button is an amazing feeling, and one that can reap powerful rewards with the right on-hit effects.

Seeing Blue

Another Lunar item-based build, this combination seeks to offset the harsh penalties associated with the Spinel Tonic. A very risk/reward item, its use increases damage, attack speed, armour, maximum health, health regeneration, and movement speed. Of course there’s always a downside with Lunar items, and in this Tonic’s case it’s that there’s a 20% chance that, when the potion wears off, all of these stats will be reduced by 5%.

Back in my college days someone once espoused the sage wisdom that “if you never stop drinking, you never get a hangover.” The validity—and obvious health concerns—of his statement notwithstanding, the logic does at least hold up in Risk of Rain 2: if the Tonic never wears off, your character will never suffer withdrawls.

With at least three Fuel Cells and a Gesture of the Drowned, the cooldown for the Tonic exactly matches its duration, meaning you will permanently be under its very beneficial effects. While it does sacrifice your Equipment slot, most would argue it’s a pretty small price to pay for the outstanding boost to damage and suitability. And hey, your vision will be tinted blue for the duration of your run if you want to see the game in a whole new way.

And there we have it—three exciting item synergies that can help make your Risk of Rain 2 runs a touch more survivable! I’ve put in roughly 100 hours into the game at this article’s publishing, and hope to create a lot more content about it, particularly as the game goes from early access to full 1.0 release in August. Thanks for checking out this quick guide!