While it has the zombie-slaying bones of Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood’s defining factor is its card system. The mechanic lets players use cards to alter their characters with nerfs or buffs that range from simple to game-changing.
Not every card is made equal though. There are some cards that players should have in every deck, regardless of their build. For anyone just getting into the game, we also have some essential starting tips for Back 4 Blood.
Back 4 Blood is currently available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox Game Pass.
Bashing is an integral part of survival in Back 4 Blood. The quick punch keeps the Ridden off of players while they reload, and it doesn’t even interrupt or slow down reloading. But bashing could be improved. What if, instead of a simple punch to keep enemies away, it was a proper melee attack with kill potential?
Combat Knife does just that, replacing players’ usual punch with a quick stab every time they bash. The attack deals enough damage to kill regular enemies in one poke, giving players yet another tool to clear out zombies. Paired with other cards that boost melee damage and regenerate health on melee kills, Combat Knife can even be a central part of a build.
Some of Back 4 Blood’s special infected will grapple players, either stopping their movement altogether or dragging them away from other players. These enemies are especially dangerous, as they deal constant damage to the grabbed player, much like Left 4 Dead’s Charger or Hunter.
Breakout essentially nullifies the threat from these enemies. By holding a button (the E key for keyboard users), players can shove the undead off and get free from a grab. The only downside to this ability is that players will have to wait a full minute to use the ability again, leaving them vulnerable to being grappled during that window.
Some cards in Back 4 Blood are situational, granting players bonuses depending on what weapon they’re using or how they’re moving. Others just grant flat-out buffs to characters, and while they’re usually insignificant, Hellfire is anything but.
The Hellfire card grants players an extra 45% move speed while firing and a small 5% boost to movement speed while they’re not. While the latter will hardly be noticed, it’s a nice bit of gravy to have. The real star of the show here is the extra speed players get while they’re shooting, which should make backpedaling or running and gunning a sinch.
Avenge The Fallen
When situations in Back 4 Blood get dire, it can be hard to recover. The game’s base difficulty presents a decent challenge for players, while higher difficulties turn up the heat with even more infected. If a player goes down during that action, picking them back up is essential, especially during the game’s later levels.
That’s precisely why Avenge The Fallen is such a good card for at least one player to have each game. When a player is incapacitated, the card activates, giving all teammates a 30% boost to damage, 20% boost to reload speed, and infinite ammo for 10 seconds. With those buffs, clearing out a surrounding horde and reviving a teammate is a breeze.
Marked For Death
Unlike Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood’s special infected don’t wait for triggers to appear. They can spawn any time, anywhere, and they’re always a threat. Players can ping these special enemies to point them out to teammates, but it’s hard to keep track of one ping in a horde of zombies.
Marked For Death fixes that problem by highlighting any special infected that players ping. As an added bonus, highlighted enemies also take 10% more damage. Altogether, the card makes taking out some of Back 4 Blood’s biggest threats as easy as downing any regular enemy.
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