In Vampire Survivors, the Castlevania-inspired indie hit by developer poncle, you face an endless tide of enemies, collecting valuable items, experience and—most importantly—weapons as you try to stay alive just a little longer. Roguelikes and roguelites do enjoy piling on the challenge.
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Not all weapons are created equal, though, and while none of them are useless, there are definite standouts in your arsenal that you should favor for maximum damage. Keep in mind that if you have the right item(s) for the corresponding weapon, you can Evolve these weapons into more powerful forms by getting them to max level, having the right item and opening a chest dropped by a boss after the 10-minute mark.Some evolutions also require the catalyst item(s) to be maxed out. You should always have a few evolved weapons in your build, so here are some of the very strongest to pick (along with the required item to Evolve them) in this fun and engaging roguelike.
Updated July 8, 2022 by Christopher Padilla: It's been a few months since Vampire Survivors first released and since then, it has received a bevy of new updates to keep the game fresh. Among the many updates, which include new achievements, new mechanics, new weapons, and new characters, are new evolutions for weapons that previously did not have them and as a result, new item pairings to bring them about. Most notably, we also have the first instance of a weapon that evolves twice—once as normal and then again as a part of another weapon's evolution. In the future, we may have multiple weapons that can do this, since the game is still not at a 1.0 release state.
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15 Laurel (Crimson Shroud)
Evolved By: Metaglio Left + Metaglio Right
Even before getting an evolution, the Laurel was a useful bit of kit, giving players a bit of protection by making them briefly invincible on hit, with upgrades adding extra shields or extra duration on the invincibility.
The Crimson Shroud adds a bit of offensive utility in the form of retaliatory explosions as well as another defensive buff that caps the damage you take at 10, making you even harder to kill. To get the Crimson Shroud, you need to fully upgrade the Metaglio Left and the Metaglio Right, both of which have 9 levels. Is it worth it? Probably not, since if you’re already in the position to last long enough to get the Crimson Shroud, you probably don’t even need it anymore.
14 Clock Lancet (Infinite Corridor)
Evolved by: Silver Ring + Gold Ring
The Clock Lancet was an underwhelming weapon when Vampire Survivors first came out, since all it did was freeze enemies in a line, which was decent for crowd control, but there’s a bevy of better weapons to equip than this purely defensive tool.
Its evolution, the Infinite Corridor, is far more powerful, since it fires far more often and in a predictable pattern– firing at 12, one, two, three, etc. positions of a clock. When you get back to 12, you fill the screen with rainbow light, halving the HP of all enemies on screen. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same problem as the Laurel, where evolving it might be more trouble than it's likely worth.
13 Pentagram (Gorgeous Moon)
Evolved by: Crown
In theory, the Pentagram can be used to make the game easier by wiping out all enemies on screen when it activates, but in reality, it’s a crutch that can just as easily cripple you, since when it wipes out the screen, it also destroys any gems and other items– including those that would have been dropped by the slain enemies. This can leave you starved for experience and underpowered in the late game, something that leveling the Pentagram only mitigates a little bit, up to 65 percent of a chance not to erase items.
The Pentagram’s evolution, Gorgeous Moon, might just make the hardship worth it, since in addition to its erasure effect, it generates more gems and no longer erases existing gems before vacuuming all the items on the level up. This evolution makes it a decent endgame win condition and is particularly useful in stage five, where it can erase a difficult-to-hit and potentially run-ending enemy.
12 Runtracer (NO FUTURE)
Evolved by: Armor
Even without an evolution, the Runetracer is a strong offensive pick, since it fires a decent amount of projectiles that do good damage and also bounce around the map. With its evolution, NO FUTURE, there’s even less reason not to pick this weapon.
This evolution is one of the less drastic ones in Vampire Survivors, basically just adding explosions to the ricochets or when you’re hit, but it was already pretty good to begin with. This weapon also incentivizes you to pick up Armor, which is also a good item in its own right.
11 Whip (Bloody Tear)
Evolved by: Hollow Heart
Probably the first weapon you’ll use in Vampire Survivors, the Whip can seem underwhelming with its slow attack time, short range and limited area of effect (especially when compared to flashier options early on).
Stick with it, though, and you’ll find that the Whip can be a reliable workhorse with a little investment.
It deals the most damage per hit of all the weapons available early on, and while the area it hits isn’t huge, it’s still enough to take out a few enemies per swipe (knocking away anything that isn’t killed outright). In the late game, the whip’s ability to knock back enemies is invaluable. Its evolved form, Bloody Tear, is one of the few ways to heal in the game, pairing nicely with the bonus max HP of Hollow Heart.
10 Vento Sacro (Fuwalafuwaloo)
Evolved by: Bloody Tear
The Vento Sacro is a Whip-like weapon, opting to attack the way you’re facing at rapid speed while you’re on the move as opposed to hitting in two directions. Its knockback isn’t as good as the Whip, but you have far better control about where the damage is going and if you keep on the move, you deal more damage.
This weapon is unique in the game since it is part of what is essentially a second evolution, since it uses the already-evolved Bloody Tear as a catalyst to evolve into the Fuwalafuwaloo. This oddly-named weapon combines the best traits of its components, the lifesteal and the knockback and adds explosions on critical hits. It has an unusual firing pattern, firing like a far-reaching version of the Vento Sacro, but also surrounding you in close-range.
9 Garlic (Soul Eater)
Evolved by: Pummarola
Garlic is among the most powerful weapons you can get in the first three minutes of the game, mowing down enemies with ease and essentially trivializing them early on. However, this weapon can end up as a crutch, holding you back if you rely on it too much.
While Garlic allows you to walk into enemies and disintegrate them early on, it becomes less useful later, even if you pump points into it. Garlic is best used to farm experience gems early, without threat of reprisal, before you use the experience to power up other weapons. Other than a few levels early on, Garlic should be leveled later, after you have an evolved weapon or two under your belt. The Soul Eater, while unremarkable on its own, makes a fantastic support weapon. It can increase knock back and freeze effects and leech enemies' health.
8 Axe (Death Spiral)
Evolved by: Candelabrador
The Axe is unwieldy, firing upwards and away in an arc. Once you have a handle on how it works, though, it does a decent amount of damage. It penetrates through enemies and scales especially well with area of effect bonuses, putting it hand-in-hand with the Candelabrador, which buffs the area of effect for most attacks.
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However, the Axe truly shines when evolved into the Death Spiral, which changes the behavior of the weapon entirely. Instead of its usual pattern, it launches scythes away from you in a circular pattern, knocking away enemies and dealing plenty of damage along the way.
7 Lightning Ring (Thunder Loop)
Evolved by: Duplicator
The Lightning Ring deals a lot of damage in a small area, often killing a few monsters per strike. The caveat is that, as with its real-world counterpart, it’s hard to predict when lightning will strike.
However, a little unpredictability is worth the damage this weapon can do, especially since the Duplicator multiplies how many bolts are sent out. It scales with area of effect as well, meaning strikes will hit more enemies. The Thunder Loop makes lightning strike twice, doubling the devastation wrought on your enemies in this great fantasy roguelike.
6 Fire Wand (Hellfire)
Evolved by: Spinach
The Fire Wand launches a tight cone of fireballs that expand away from each other as they get further from the origin point, dealing a hefty amount of damage to anything in their path. Like a blast from one of gaming's mighty shotguns, the most damage is dealt close to the initial firing, since enemies can end up taking multiple fireballs at once. The slow firing rate is worth it since it deals tremendous damage, often killing nearby enemies outright and saving you some hit points.
Its evolved form, Hellfire, is monstrous. It launches huge, slow-moving fireballs in quick succession, cutting legions of enemies down. It also uses Spinach to evolve, which is a good item to get anyway since it beefs up your damage output.
5 Peachone/Ebony Wings (Vandalier)
Evolved by: Ebony Wings/Peachone
These two birds are virtually identical and, unfortunately, rather lackluster initially. Their attacks, while having a high rate of fire, have a long cooldown between volleys. The damage is so-so, but trying to target enemies is too difficult to make these weapons even middling in quality.
However, having both birds will allow you to evolve them into the mighty single bird Vandalier, which fires a nearly endless barrage, almost capable of emptying the screen of monsters on their own. On top of that, evolving them frees up a weapon slot for you to use, and they can be leveled up for even more power.
4 King Bible (Unholy Vespers)
Evolved by: Spellbinder
The King Bible periodically summons books around you that deal decent damage and knock enemies back, with a relatively long cooldown between summoning. It takes a good amount of levels for the King Bible to hit its stride, but when it does, you can hold down the midgame rather easily with it.
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The Unholy Vespers make it so that the books become a permanent fixture. The effectiveness of the weapon is dependent on how many points you put into the Projectile stat, as this determines the number of books you have orbiting you. The overall effect ranges from being a decent source of damage to a nonstop buzzsaw barrier.
3 Knife (Thousand Edge)
Evolved by: Bracer
Simple yet elegant in its design, the Knife is unique in that it’s the only weapon that allows you to aim its projectiles (they launch in the direction you're facing). They do good damage, and even without a Duplicator, leveling the Knife will allow for plenty of projectiles.
Being able to control where the knives go also means that you can easily look for a weak point in the wall of enemies and cut your way to safety. The Thousand Edge is more of a good thing, removing the cooldown between volleys so that you’re constantly throwing knives.
2 Santa Water (La Borra)
Evolved by: Attractorb
The Santa Water can seem underwhelming at first, lobbing a few projectiles randomly and putting down a small damaging area for a few seconds before fading away. Putting points in it is similarly disappointing, especially since the Lightning Ring seems to do everything it does, but better.
However, when it becomes La Borra, it goes from middling to a game-changer, especially if you put points into damage and area of effect bonuses. It lays down large, long-lasting pools of pain that create a wide circle around you, weakening enemies as they close in and often killing them outright.
1 Wand (Holy Wand)
Evolved by: Empty Tome
A rapid rate of fire and long range make the Wand an ideal starter weapon, especially if you’re new to the game. It allows you to focus more on positioning and not getting damaged as it plinks away at the nearest enemies.
While it can fall off if you don’t maintain it, the Wand is a stable and reliable choice. By the endgame, you’ll have better options, but the Wand is still worth upgrading into the Holy Wand, which makes it fire constantly instead of in quick volleys.
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