[Top 15] Dead by Daylight Best Survivors (And Why They're Great)

Best Dead by Daylight Survivors
Dead by Daylight survivors, all pictured before they're covered in blood.

Dead by Daylight may be the only game that lets you watch Michael Myers stab Leon S. Kennedy to death while Nicolas Cage nods vigorously. A team of four Survivors do their best to sneak around and repair generators without getting sacrificed by a Killer, but when you’re inevitably spotted, the survivor you play as and the perks you brought can make all the difference.

You might argue that, since their gameplay is very similar, there’s no point in getting attached to one survivor in particular. I disagree – your choice of survivor says a lot about you, and they all have little nuances that make choosing one an important decision.

In this list, I’ll pick the top 15 survivors out of the game’s current roster of 38. Their perks, cosmetics, and backstory will all come into consideration – if your favourites don’t appear, it’ll probably be because they’ve let me die one too many times. Damn you, That One Steve Harrington in 2019!


15. Jane Romero

The TV hostess with the most-est, Jane Romero’s got an interesting backstory. Where most survivors taken into the fog will probably be quickly forgotten, the implication that The Entity is taking public figures whose disappearance will spark all sorts of conspiracy gives her a great introduction.

This backstory as a well-known star also gives her a great selection of cosmetics on that theme – if you’re the type of survivor to enjoy a chase, the bright colours will definitely keep attention on you.

When it comes to perks, Jane has a solid selection. Solidarity helps cut down on healing time by returning health to you as you heal others, Poised makes for some slick getaways by hiding scratch marks after fixing a generator, and Head On is one of the most fun perks in the game when it works. Who doesn’t love the idea of hiding in a locker and then jumping out to scare and stun the killer?

What Makes Jane Romero Great?

  • Her unique perk Head On gives the potential for crazy saves and getaways.
  • A surname that’s likely a nod to the late, great horror icon George Romero.
  • Solidarity, another one of her perks, makes healing more efficient - you’ll have more time to repair generators.

You can learn more about Jane on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


14. Élodie Rakoto

Élodie has one of my favourite backstories in the game – she’s investigated the occult and gone toe-to-toe with actual cults, having her parents be kidnapped by The Entity before she eventually made it to our favourite horrifying realm herself.

Her cosmetics could explore this ‘occult investigator’ theme better, but she’s got some cute outfits; still, I do wish she had some darker clothes to help blend in with the game’s maps a little more.

On the perk side of things, she has some niche but effective perks that can help with a variety of playstyles. Appraisal allows you to search through already opened chests, providing your fellow survivors with a wide array of toolboxes, med kits, and flashlights. Deception can, of course, help you deceive the killer (and pairs well with a teammate who has Head On!), and Power Struggle is very situational. From personal experience, though, I’ve always felt like a Dead By Daylight GOD when I use Power Struggle to slap a pallet down on a killer while I’m being carried off. 

 What Makes Élodie Rakoto Great?

  • Her unique perk, Appraisal, makes chest-rummaging more viable and can make sure you’re always well-stocked during a match
  • The Deception perk that can waste killer’s time tremendously by making them check empty lockers
  • A great hairstyle that makes nodding furiously an even greater time

You can learn more about Élodie on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


13.  David King

David King is a name that commands respect, and the man himself makes sure you won’t forget it. When I play as David King, I almost expect a punch mechanic to make use of his muscles – alas, we’re not playing Friday the 13th: The Game. It’s a shame that the bigger survivors are at a disadvantage in Dead by Daylight; perhaps one day, there’ll be some changes to help the big guys be just as viable as the smaller ladies.

His backstory as a brawler definitely comes across in his outfits, and as one of the game’s first survivors, David players have many options ranging from shirtless and bloody to suited and booted. 

He’s unfortunately quite underwhelming when it comes to perks – We’re Gonna Live Forever is great for blood point earning potential, but effectively outclassed by Boon: Circle of Healing. Dead Hard is  tweaked by developers too frequently to say anything concrete about, but is an effective perk for getting out of trouble. No Mither feels like a meme perk, permanently making sure you’re downed in one hit, but being able to recover from the dying state on your own may, sometimes, be worth it.

What Makes David King Great?

  • His perk Dead Hard is a great way to dodge away from damage - when it works.
  • A big physique makes you feel like a guy to mess with (before you’re killed)
  • Another perk, We’re Gonna Live Forever, provides a nice blood point bonus for being a good teammate

You can learn more about David on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


12. Ace Visconti

Underwhelming perks, overwhelming style. When I first started playing Dead by Daylight in 2018, Ace was one of the survivors I was just drawn to thanks to his wry smile and sheer energy. Now that the game has more outfits on offer than a survivor’s default, it’s clear to see that Ace Visconti is the king of style.

A backstory as a gambler and con artist makes him an effective Saul Goodman parallel, and it’s worth noting that he’s actually one of the quietest survivors when injured – if you’re looking for a survivor that can stay quiet and not cough their lungs out (looking at you, BILL), Ace is the man for the job.

As far as perks go, they’re a little underwhelming, but work well with his character. Open Handed is useful, expanding you and your team’s aura reading by several metres – this means you can see important objects and sometimes even the killer through walls. Up The Ante is perhaps the weakest of his three, only improving your chances of unhooking yourself, but that can still be clutch. Ace in the Hole is a personal favourite, guaranteeing an add-on to whatever you pull out of a chest – a must-have in any build centred around chests.

What Makes Ace Visconti Great?

  • The fanciest cosmetics in the game – dress to impress!
  • A unique perk, Up The Ante, can greatly boost a squad with aura-reading perks
  • Every new survivor seems to get one of these, so it’s definitely becoming meta!
  • Another unique perk, Ace in the Hole, makes chest-rummaging on a new character very rewarding as the add-ons will quickly fill out your inventory.
  • He’s got the quietest groans of any survivor when injured

You can learn more about Ace on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


11. Yun-Jin Lee

Yun-Jin Lee is ice cold. If her backstory didn’t make it clear, her perks do – if you’re in a life-or-death scenario that hinges on Yun-Jin’s help, start saying your prayers. To me, this makes her one of the more unique survivors; as a producer in the music industry, the flashy outfits make sense, but there’s a lot of darkness beneath the surface that make her an interesting character.

Another point for originality comes from how close she is to her chapter’s killer, The Trickster. They were one of the first Survivor-Killer pairings that actually knew each other, and it’s a treat reading both backstories and seeing their perspectives on different events. This is a trick that the developers used multiple times in subsequent chapters, but this original take is one of my favourites.

Yun-Jin’s perks characterise her well, and are best suited to solo players. Fast Track almost rewards you for letting fellow survivors get hooked, as it boosts your generator repairing progress when survivors get hooked. Smash Hit is a must-have for pallet stun experts, as the speed boost is perfect for a quick getaway, and Self Preservation is niche but great if you’re always getting caught when teammates are being chased.

What Makes Yun-Jin Great?

  • A backstory that matches her perks and cosmetics perfectly
  • Her smash hit perk makes for a quick getaway, greatly rewarding perfect pallet stuns
  • Similarly, the Self Preservation perk stops you from grunting, breathing, and bleeding if a survivor is attacked nearby. It may be selfish, but you can stay hidden and keep working on a generator scott-free.
  • Her background as a music producer - in KPOP no less - isn’t often explored in horror

You can learn more about Yun-Jin on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


10. Leon S. Kennedy

Straight out of the Resident Evil series, Leon S. Kennedy made his way into the fog with Jill Valentine and The Nemesis in one of the biggest crossovers in Dead by Daylight’s history. I’m sure you knew all that, but what you might not know is that Resident Evil Village made its own homage to Dead by Daylight with a scream in Castle Dimitrescu using one of Meg’s scream sound effects. How cool is that?

All that to say, when Dead by Daylight and Resident Evil cross over, you’re in for a treat – playing as Leon is no exception. You should know his backstory already – rookie cop’s first day is the zombie apocalypse, and he quickly becomes a hardened badass just in time to rescue the president’s daughter. His cosmetics let you play as Chris Redfield and Carlos Oliveira, or don some of Leon’s iconic looks including the Resident Evil 4 jacket.

Perks-wise, he’s got a solid selection. Bite the Bullet can help you heal without being heard, making for some stealthy moments. Rookie Spirit helps new players keep track of generator locations, and Flashbang is one of the more devastating tools a survivor can use to blind a killer.

What Makes Leon S. Kennedy Great?

  • His perks are great at helping ease new players into the game
    • Bite the Bullet and Rookie Spirit specifically help with some of the trickier aspects of learning the game - keeping quiet, and keeping track of generators.
  • The flashbang perk gives an extra incentive to repair generators, and can lead to clutch saves
  • He’s a video game icon, and Resident Evil-loving killers may let you go if you play as him! 
  • The S in ‘Leon S. Kennedy’ must stand for Surviving, because he’s pretty damn good at it.

You can learn more about Leon on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


9. Dwight Fairfield

The game’s original leading man, Dwight is a regular guy in a bad situation. His perks make him an ideal team player, and while there’s definitely a stereotype that new players flock to Dwight (and then spend half the game hiding in a locker), a good Dwight player is always a treat to see.

Cosmetic-wise, it’s no surprise that the big nerd has a big list of cosmetics that see him becoming a student, beachgoer, handyman, tourist, and more. You’ll have plenty of options as a Dwight main.

As mentioned before, if you’re a team player, you’ll find a lot of value with Dwight’s perks. Bond allows you to see other survivors through walls when they get close, helping keep the team together. Prove Thyself makes generator repairing faster, which is a big treat for impatient players. Leader is a flat speed boost for too many actions to list – all in all, three great perks for a team close together.

What Makes Dwight Fairfield Great?

  • Easy-to-understand perks, helping new players get to grips with the game
    • Leader and Prove Thyself also prove useful in high-tier games, so a Dwight is for life, not just for the learning process.
  • Killers often underestimate Dwight – you can make it their downfall!
  • His perks are great at keeping survivors together, and rewarding them for doing so.

You can learn more about Dwight on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


8. Detective Tapp

You don’t need to do much investigating to understand Detective Tapp – fresh out of the Saw franchise, he’s used to deadly games, and this is just one more. Unlike other licensed survivors (Looking at you, Yoichi) Tapp’s default clothes are dark enough to help you stay undetected.

From a story perspective, he’s an interesting case; if it weren’t for The Entity’s meddling, Tapp would be dead, straight up. By being dragged into this nightmarish world, he’s given a new lease – and chance – at life, and it’s almost heartwarming to think that his story has a grim but uplifting ending.

Staying undetected is a must with perks like Tapp’s. If you’re often left on the ground by killers, Tenacity is a great perk for getting away quickly and recovering at the same time. Detective’s Hunch is a very effective perk for newcomers looking to learn totem spawn points, and Stake Out is a great reward for survivors who like to stay hidden – it turns good skill checks into great skill checks just for staying near a killer that hasn’t noticed you.

What Makes Detective Tapp Great?

  • Perks like Stake Out that are useful against ‘mobility’ killers with a large terror radius, which the developers have favoured lately.
  • Other perks like Detective’s Hunch rewarding progress by showing you where to go next
  • Dark clothes that help you blend in on most maps
  • You get to play as one of the most headstrong detectives in the SAW series

You can learn more about Detective Tapp on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


7. Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine joins Leon as one of the game’s four Resident Evil survivors, and she has one of my favourite perks in the game – Blast Mine. Stick it on a generator, watch a Killer kick it, and they’ll be temporarily blinded with one of the most satisfying sound effects in the game playing to cement your victory.

As the co-star of Resident Evil 1 and main star of Resident Evil 3, Jill’s a straight-up badass and she knows it. While only her original incarnation can claim to have beaten The Nemesis while wearing a skirt, Jill rocks some iconic looks like the STARS uniform – and her other cosmetics let you play as Claire Redfield or Sheva Alomar, both great Resident Evil ladies in their own right

Jill’s other perks include Counterforce to turn you into a totem-destroying whirlwind, and Resurgence which helps you get healthy sooner after being unhooked. Blast mine has my love despite its recent nerf, however, as it’s a perfect bonus for repairing generators.

What Makes Jill Valentine Great?

  • The Blast Mine perk is a trap that killers never see coming, and reveals a generator to your team
  • Playing against a Nemesis can lead to a very funny 1v1 game
  • Her Counterforce perk helps speed a game up and deal with obnoxious hex totems.

You can learn more about Jill on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


6. Meg Thomas

One of Dead by Daylight’s first survivors, Meg Thomas is a runner at peak physical condition and that’s made clear with her great perks. As a Meg main, your teammates and the killer  will assume that you have no plans to touch a generator in this game, so you’d best know how to keep the killer busy.

Like Dwight, Meg’s been around for so long that her cosmetics have gotten crazy – you can dress up as a scuba diver, fortune teller, Oktoberfest celebrator and more. Most of these are brightly coloured, so if you’re looking for attention, Meg may be for you.

Meg’s perk selection  is varied, but strong. Adrenaline has ruined many killers’ days with its ability to heal you when the final exit gate is powered. Sprint Burst is easily wasted, but can be used to get a large head start on any killer, and Quick & Quiet helps with stealth as you can jump into a locker or through a window without alerting the Killer.

What Makes Meg Thomas Great?

  • A backstory that supports her perks and (most of) her cosmetics
  • Perks that support stealthy, in-your-face, AND strategic gameplay
    • The sprint burst perk supports quick, chase-centred gameplay
    • The Quick & Quiet perk favours stealth and getting away from the killer quietly
    • Finally, Adrenaline supports strategic gameplay and is best in a team, as the final generator can get you back on your feet, ready to run again.
  • Killers that know the Meg stereotypes may not even want to chase you to begin with!

You can learn more about Meg on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


5. Claudette Morel

At a respectable number 5, Claudette is basically the perfect survivor for new players. She was the first character I got to prestige 3, and her perks reward a team player. As one of the smaller survivors, she also benefits from being harder to see than most – with some of the darker cosmetics in the game, you can become what the community calls a ‘Blendette’ and become a master of stealth.

Her backstory shows us a softer character, whose awkward nature sees her preferring plants to human company. I can’t say I blame her – I’ve never been attacked by a tree, but nobody knows what the future of Dead by Daylight holds.

Claudette’s perks are mostly healing-focused; Empathy helps you keep track of injured survivors, and can also be used to get an idea of where the killer is. Botany Knowledge is a straight upgrade to healing speeds, especially useful if you always forget to bring a med kit. Self-Care is a controversial perk, but for solo players, being able to heal yourself when your teammates disappear is a god-send.

What Makes Claudette Morel Great?

  • Perks that can support a team’s healing and positioning
    • Empathy shows an injured teammate’s location, and can help show if they’re being chased or not
    • Botany Knowledge helps you become a field medic, the one a team will always come to for healing
  • Self-care is more selfish, but useful for healing yourself without needing a teammate
  • She has a smaller stature that makes it easy to hide and go unnoticed

You can learn more about Claudette on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


4. Vittorio Toscano

Vittorio’s backstory is one of my favourites. Fresh out of the middle ages, he’s spent a very long time in the fog, and has the strange glowing tattoos on his skin to prove it. Like Yun-Jin, he’s spent some time with his chapter’s killer, The Knight – and has the scars to prove that, too.

It’s a shame his cosmetics haven’t leaned into his medieval backstory, but as one of the newer survivors in the game, I can’t wait to learn more about Vittorio and suspect he may even play a role in the Dead by Daylight movie that was announced earlier this year.

Vittorio’s perks suffer slightly from being some of the later ones added to the game; it’s clear that the developers are beginning to run out of ideas. Quick Gambit speeds up generator repairs for any survivors you’re near when being chased. Fogwise helps skilled players by showing the killer’s location through walls when you hit a Great skill check. Finally, Potential Energy allows you to save up generator repair progress before unleashing it all at once at a crucial moment.

What Makes Vittorio Toscano Great?

  • He’s got one of the most interesting original backstories in the game
  • Potential Energy is a high-risk, high-reward perk that can help keep the game fresh if you’re getting bored of it by adding some real stakes to your chases.
  • Skilled players using the Fogwise perk will always know where the killer is
    • This can be combined with Stake Out even if you aren’t super skilled.
  • The Quick Gambit perk can help a coordinated team do generators extremely quickly

You can learn more about Vittorio on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


3. Mikaela Reid

Mikaela is a witchy lady, and her perks broke the game on release.

Mikaela Reid is one of the most unique survivors added to Dead by Daylight – she got a chapter all to herself with Hour of the Witch and introduced a brand new mechanic to the game with her Boon perks. Bonus points for being ginger, too – I have a duty to shout-out my red-headed siblings!

The developers leaned hard into her faux-witchy backstory, with a wide variety of alternative clothing and fancy hats. Thankfully, she isn’t actually real, so she can’t ask us what our Zodiac signs are.

As mentioned previously, Mikaela introduced Boon totems to the game with her perks. Circle of Healing was so powerful that it broke the game balance for a few months, allowing survivors to heal each other with extreme speed so long as they’re in its very large radius. Shadow Step, her other boon, simply hides scratch marks – but this can be very useful in avoiding killers that rely on them. Finally, the Clairvoyance perk is a little less useful but provides an extra bonus when booning totems by letting you see noteworthy objects in a wide radius.

What Makes Mikaela Reid Great?

  • Circle of Healing is one of the strongest perks in the game
  • Clairvoyance is one of the more effective aura-reading perks
  • Shadow Step is very effective against newer killers that haven’t learned to track blood and sound more than scratch marks
  • She gives totems more functionality, keeping the game fresh
  • She’s a ginger witch, which is a top 5 aesthetic in a game with so much murder

You can learn more about Mikaela on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


2. Kate Denson

Kate Denson has some of the game's best perks.

It’s very rare for a Dead by Daylight survivor to have not one, not two, but three good perks, and Kate Denson has it all. Her backstory makes it clear that you’ll basically be playing as Taylor Swift, and it’s no surprise that she’s got a large collection of cosmetics for you to customise her look however you see fit – from country girl to mountain climber.

Her backstory is a standard affair, but marked a turning point in Dead by Daylight storytelling; the entity isn’t just kidnapping people who go for walks in the woods, it’s getting bolder - and more importantly, tougher to stop. Makes you shudder!

As you play through the game’s many ‘rifts’ – they’re just battle passes, the developers aren’t fooling anybody – you’ll also notice that Kate is one of the survivors that gets the most attention in their cosmetic offerings. If you want to be spoiled for choice, now and always, Kate is the survivor for you.

Onto perks – as a Killer main, I could ramble forever about how annoying Boil Over is, but the summary is that killers have a harder time carrying you, giving you precious extra seconds to struggle out of their grasp. Windows of Opportunity helps you prepare your strategy when in a chase, especially useful for new players learning a map for the first time. Finally, Dance With Me provides opportunities for stealth after a rushed action by hiding your scratch marks for a few seconds.

 What Makes Kate Denson Great?

  • Great perks for every situation
    • NOTE - Windows of Opportunity does not counter killers like The Doctor and The Nightmare who try to trick you with fake pallets – an aura still shows.
    • Boil Over punishes killers from carrying you off a ledge – great on some maps.
    • Dance with Me pairs well with Quick & Quiet to make you a master of escaping chases
  • She’s always getting new cosmetics with many different themes

You can learn more about Kate on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


1. Nicolas Cage

Is it too early to crown Nicolas Cage as the game’s best survivor? He’s only just released at the time of writing, but I feel like something that was missing from the game has finally been restored. The man’s got voice lines for being chased by Michael Myers where he makes fun of his music, and a plethora of voice lines for being stabbed, hooked, and everything else. It really makes you feel like you’re Nicolas Cage, and that’s a madness that makes me more excited to play as him than anyone else.

His backstory is what you might expect – a movie set quickly becomes the actual haunting forests of Dead by Daylight – but there’s some subtle lore hints that the director is working with an Entity-worshipping cult. Throw in some ties to The Dredge and The Blight, and you’re making me very excited for the very real possibility that Nicolas Cage will be in the actual Dead by Daylight movie.

We’ll have to see what kind of outfits he ends up with, but there’s no shortage of movies to draw inspiration from. Who knows – we may even see John Travolta join the fog as an homage to Face/Off.

Cage’s perks may seem complicated, but they’re a lot of fun. Dramaturgy gives you a speed boost with a totally random side-effect – you could be downed in one hit, get a random item, continue running faster, or just scream. Scene Partner makes you scream when looking at the killer, but also lets you see them through walls for several seconds. Finally, Plot Twist is a ridiculous perk that lets you put yourself in the dying state and pick yourself back up for a full heal. I suppose it could also help you be stealthy, but it’s incredibly stupid, and I love it. 

What Makes Nicolas Cage Great?

  • Perks that are fun above all else
    • The Plot Twist perk looks silly, but has some real potential for stealth and pairs well with perks that speed up recovery from the dying state like Tenacity.
    • Scene Partner helps you keep track of the killer, and if you’re good at chases, will keep their attention on you very effectively
    • Dramaturgy adds some much-needed unpredictability to the game, on top of a very handy speed boost
  • Voice lines that will have you giggling even as you’re being murdered horribly
  • A backstory that ties things together in very interesting ways
  • His inclusion brings Dead by Daylight into the mainstream in a whole new way
  • You’re playing as Nic Cage!

You can learn more about Nicolas on the Dead by Daylight wiki here.


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A gamer with more platinum trophies than brain cells, Kieron is determined to 100% every game he plays - and die many, many times trying.
Gamer Since: 2006
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, The Evil Within, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

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