GuideDead by Daylight

The best Survivors to level first in Dead by Daylight

With so many Survivors to choose from in Dead by Daylight, it can be difficult to decide on one to level first, and especially if you are not sure what all their perks do.

The reason it is important to choose a Survivor to level is because of their teachable perks. Each Survivor gets a teachable version of their unique perks at levels 30, 35, and 40. So you do not want to accidentally level up each Survivor a little bit, as this would be a waste of Bloodpoints. Instead, you want to level each Survivor to 40 first to get their unique perks unlocked for your other Survivors.

Here are the  best Survivors to level first in Dead by Daylight to get the strongest perks you can.

1. Claudette Morel

Without a doubt you must level Claudette Morel first for her perks Botany Knowledge and Self-Care. Self-Care is unlocked when you get Claudette to level 40, and is the more important perk.

Self-Care unlocks the ability to heal yourself without a healing item at 50 % the normal healing speed. Increases the efficiency of healing item self-heal by 10/15/20%.

best survivors to level first in dead by daylight self care

This is incredibly strong, because it means you do not have to rely on other Survivors, or med-kits, to heal you. I know it does not sound strong at first, since it is not hard to find other Survivors. However, I have had so many Survivors refusing to heal me, even if I am chasing their backs. When you play solo Survivor you just never know what kind of teammates you will get.

Another time that Self-Care is important, is if you are the last Survivor left. Getting that one extra health state back can buy you enough time to safely get out through the hatch or exit gate. Healing yourself also allows you to be stealthy, as you will make no noise and leave no trails of blood, making it much harder for the Killer to find you.

Botany Knowledge is unlocked when you get Claudette to level 35. This perk can be equipped with nearly any build, and makes a great combo with Self-Care. Here’s what it does:

Healing speed and healing item efficiency is increased by 11/22/33%.

Botany Knowledge is amazing in healing builds. This healing speed bonus can be the difference between life and death, allowing you to get clutch heals off right as the Killer comes. Another bonus, is that it helps negate Killer effects that reduce healing speed, such as Mangled and Coulrophobia.

best survivors to level first in dead by daylight botany knowledge

2. Meg Thomas

After getting Self-Care, you need something to help you in chases. This makes Meg Thomas the next priority Survivor to level. Her unique perk, Sprint Burst is unlocked at level 35.

When starting to run, break into a sprint at 150% of your normal running speed for a maximum of 3 seconds. Causes the Exhausted status effect for 60/50/40 seconds. Sprint Burst cannot be used while Exhausted, and you do not recover from the Exhausted status effect while running.

Sprint Burst allows you to get to a safe area no matter where you are, meaning you can go for more risky generators or saves on Survivors.

Just make sure to use your Sprint Burst wisely to get to a pallet loop, jungle gym, window loop, or building. These areas will allow you to buy time for your team. Just make sure you don’t use it to run into a dead end, which would be a complete waste.

Sprint Burst has only one downside – you have to walk in order to preserve your Sprint Burst.

sprint burst

Another useful perk Meg has is Adrenaline, which is unlocked at level 40. Adrenaline can be a life saver, but is also situational. Adrenaline will heal you by one health state, give you a speed boost, and inflicts the Exhausted status effect for 60/50/40 seconds once the Exit Gates have been powered.

One of the most amazing parts about Adrenaline is that if you are on the hook, or on the Killer’s shoulder, when the Exit Gates are powered you will be healed to full when saved. Not only that, but you will get the speed boost as well, allowing you to make an epic escape.

You can see how Adrenaline can be such a powerful perk, especially if you are a solo Survivor. It is great for new Survivor players still learning the game, but eventually needs to be switched out for other perks. This is because Adrenaline is only useful when the Exit Gates are powered, which does not happen every game. It is much better to have perks that are useful for the entire game, not just one part.


3. Feng Min

If you do not like Sprint Burst or just want something different, then Feng Min is who you need next. Her unique perk, Lithe, is unlocked at level 35, and it gives you a speed boost too. Unlike Sprint Burst, you can choose when to activate it. This is because Lithe only gives you the speed boost when you perform a fast vault, and then puts the Exhausted status effect on you for 60/50/40 seconds.

The only downsides to Lithe is that you need access to a window or pallet to activate it. So if you get caught in a dead zone, then the Killer gets a free hit.

When using Lithe, do your best to stay away from dead zones, and stick to areas with windows and pallets. The distance you can get with Lithe can catch a lot of Killers off guard, and makes it harder for Killers to catch up to you.

Her other unique perk, Alert, can also be helpful. It is unlocked at level 40.

When the Killer performs a  break action, they are revealed to you for 3/4/5 seconds.


Knowing the Killer’s location is powerful information, as it makes avoiding them easier. If you are in a chase, it can also allow you to play mind games with the Killer.

4. Laurie Strode

Laurie Strode’s unique perk, Decisive Strike, is one of the best perks Dead by Daylight has  for solo Survivors, and is the main reason I list her among the Survivors you should level first. Decisive Strike is unlocked at level 40.

After being unhooked or unhooking yourself, Decisive Strike will become active and useable for 40/50/60 seconds. While Decisive Strike is active, when grabbed by the killer, succeed a skill-check to automatically escape the killer’s grasp and stun the killer for 5 seconds. Succeeding or failing the Decisive Strike skill-check will disable the perk. Successfully stunning the killer will result in you becoming the Obsession.

Increases your chances of being the Obsession.

Decisive Strike is commonly called the anti-tunnel perk, because it discourages killers from tunneling Survivors who have recently been unhooked, which is normally something most Killers will do because a lot of Survivors do not perform safe unhooks. Decisive Strike will give you a second chance to get away from the Killer, as long as you do not miss that skill check.

Something else to keep in mind, is that you may not want to use Decisive Strike right away. Often it is smarter to wait until you are dead hook to use Decisive Strike, because it can buy you enough time to get out the exit gate, or into the hatch.

decisive strike skill check

The only downside to Decisive Strike, is that Killers can counter it by waiting out the timer. This is the gamble everyone takes when they decide to run this perk. Most low rank Killers will never wait out the timer on Decisive Strike, but many high rank Killers will, so keep this in mind.

This is not Laurie’s only useful perk, though. Object of Obsession is another strong perk of hers that is unlocked at level 35.

If you are looking in the Killer’s direction, your link will reveal your auras to each other. This effect applies only if you are outside the Killer’s terror radius. As the Killer’s Obsession, this effect applies to a maximum range of 56/64/72 meters. Otherwise it applies to a maximum range of 44/56/64 meters.

Increases your chances of being the killer’s Obsession.

Object of Obsession allows you to know where the Killer is all the time. It puts a target on your back and can make you the Killer’s focus at times, but the benefit it provides is worth the risk.

Just make sure you are good at chases if you run this perk, because the Killer will be able to see your aura as well. However, since Killers have a first person camera, they only see you if they are facing you. So if you time your camera position right, you will know the Killer’s location without them knowing where you are.

This perk is even stronger when playing Survive with friends.


There are a few perks that can be combined with Object of Obsession to help you more. Distortion, one of Jeff’s unique perks, prevents the Killer from seeing your aura for a few seconds. Distortion will automatically trigger whenever your aura would be revealed to the Killer. This effect can only trigger three times though, so make sure to use it sparingly.

Another perk that pairs great with Object of Obsession is Laurie’s final perk, Sole Survivor. The catch is that everyone else must be dead to have your aura protected by Sole Survivor. You are depending on your team to die to get any use of Sole Survivor, which is why I do not suggest running this perk most of the time. However, if you often find yourself as the last Survivor standing,  or if you are in low ranks, then feel free to give it a try!

5. William “Bill” Overbeck

After getting perks that help you survive, it is now time to get perks to help others and score a nice amount of Bloodpoints for being altruistic. Bill has one of the best altruistic perks, Borrowed Time, which is unlocked at level 35.

After unhooking a Survivor within the Killer’s Terror Radius, they gain the Endurance status effect for 15 seconds. Any damage taken that would put the unhooked survivor into the dying state will instead apply the Deep Wound status effect. The Survivor has 10/15/20 seconds to Mend themselves. If the unhooked Survivor takes ANY damage while affected by Deep Wound, or if the Deep Wound timer ends, the unhooked Survivor is immediately put into the dying state.

Borrowed Time allows you to make any hook save a safe one, buying time for the Survivor that was saved from the hook to escape.

borrowed time example

There are many times in a game where it is nearly impossible to get a safe hook rescue without Borrowed Time. Usually this happens once the gates have been powered, as Killers have no reason to leave the hook when the gates are open. With Borrowed Time, you can secure your Benevolence emblem and the safety of your team.

Bill’s other unique perk, Unbreakable, is also valuable. It is unlocked at level 40.

Grants the ability to fully recover from the dying state once per trial. Increases the Dying State recovery speed by 25/30/35%.

The reason Unbreakable is a strong perk, is because being left in the dying state is quite common in Dead by Daylight. Having Unbreakable can allow your team to recover from a situation that would be a loss if no one had the perk.

That being said, you will sometimes face Killers who never leave Survivors in the dying state. So while Unbreakable is powerful, you are not guaranteed to get a chance to use it in every game.

6. David King

My final recommendation is David King, for his unique perk We’re Gonna Live Forever, which is unlocked at level 30.

When healing another Survivor in the dying state, your healing speed is increased by 100%. Gain a token for any of the following actions: Perform a Safe Hook Rescue, Take a hit to protect a Survivor, Rescue a Survivor by stunning the Killer with a Pallet, Rescue a Survivor by blinding the Killer with a Flashlight. Gain a 25% stackable bonus to all Bloodpoint gains, up to a maximum of 50/75/100%.


The main reason I recommend this perk is for the bonus Bloodpoints. We’re Gonna Live Forever makes the Bloodpoint grind more bearable, as you can earn a guaranteed 20-30k+ Bloodpoints every game. This can be raised even more by offerings such as Party Streamers, or by in-game events, to increase your Bloodpoints to 130k. We’re Gonna Live Forever also rewards you for altruistic plays, so you can practice being a good teammate.

Bloodpoints are not the only thing great about this perk. We’re Gonna Live Forever also increases your healing speed on Survivors in the dying state. So if you are in a situation where your team is being slugged, this will help you get them up faster.

Parting advice

I strongly recommend you level these six Survivors first – with their perks, you will be able to master the basics of Dead by Daylight. If you are wondering which Survivors to go for after these ones, well that is up to you. There are tons of other useful perks out there, and unique builds you can do with them.

I suggest reading the character information pages in-game to learn what each Survivor has to offer. If you want to see what each Survivor’s unique perks do in game, then check out my playlist below.

Survivor Spotlight: Dwight Fairfield | Dead by Daylight

In the videos above I show you every single unique perk currently in the game, and explain what they do.

And if you want to know who the strongest Killers in Dead by Daylight  are, I got you covered.

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Victoria Crego

Hello, I've been playing Dead by Daylight since July 2016 near when it was released. I've seen, and have been through, the changes made to it throughout the years and have done my best to help other players get introduced to the game. I created a YouTube channel to explain the complicated mechanics in Dead by Daylight, and now I am here as well to continue sharing my information with players like you! Here is my channel for a wealth of information about Dead by Daylight
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