Killing Floor 2 Survivalist Guide – Best Build, Perks & Weapons Loadout

Last Updated on July 21, 2023 by Samuel Franklin

Killing Floor 2 Survivalist Guide – Best Build, Perks & Weapons Loadout

This guide to playing the Killing Floor 2 Survivalist provides the necessary foundation to create your own KF2 best survivalist loadout that maximises this flexible character perk which can be customised to your preferred layout and goals. Designed for players who can’t quite decide on their choice of class from the specialised Killing Floor 2 options the Survivalist is your jack of all trades class that players can customise as they see fit for both solo and Killing Floor 2 co-op play. This allows the Survivalist to either fill an empty slot in the team composition or for an advanced player to mix and match in order to create a deadly character.

This is achieved by having perk bonuses for all weapon damage and a selection of perk skills that mimic the other class designs although your weapon damage is notably lower than the other specialist classes. Alongside your flexible weapons this class also has broad damage resistance, armour and weapon switch speed that provide a base level of durability and utility. With the ability to equip so many potential weapons in Killing Floor 2 with decent effectiveness you can fight small, medium and large ZEDs depending on your choices and players can constantly switch between these focuses as necessary.

Our guide to playing as the unique Survivalist class is designed to provide an overview of the class and some initial considerations when creating a loadout. Given this class is the most flexible in Killing Floor 2 players will need to regularly consider their current party needs though and adjust their loadout accordingly based on the tips on this on page. This is particularly important once you add further variables like difficulty, party size, party members and map into the equation that can require players to do a complete 180 degree flip in their Survivalist build. If you’re still trying to decide on the best Killing Floor 2 perk class for you refer to our perk guide overview and tier list.

Table of Contents:
Survivalist Strategy and Tips
Survivalist Perks Build
Survivalist Weapons Loadout

Killing Floor 2 Survivalist Strategy and Tips

To utilise the Survivalist at maximum effectiveness players will want to consider these strategy tips based on the situation.

  • While the Survivalist is the most flexible class within Killing Floor 2 you will never be able to reach the heights of the specialist classes in their particular niche. Accordingly you’ll want to fill gaps in your team and ensure you leverage the flexibility to be an asset to the team rather than just a weaker variant of another class perk.
  • A notable weakness of this flexibility that should be avoided at all costs when playing the Survivalist though is the Firebug weapons given these rely heavily on the Firebug class perks to be effective and are seriously lacking in damage and utility without access to these.
  • While the Survivalist can be a tempting do it all character for beginners it is best used by players when they reach an advanced level of game mechanic understanding in order to appropriately leverage the flexibility that this class perk offers. With a strong understanding of enemy types (and breakpoints for ZED kills with particular weapons), map layouts and party needs the flexibility will be a benefit rather than a curse.
  • It can be tempting to splurge when playing as the Survivalist to create a deadly build of the most expensive weapons in each class perk although this extensive Dosh spending is more likely to hold back your team than assist them. When playing as the Survivalist it’s best to pick the high cost efficiency options across classes that are often core to the class builds but won’t make you broke.
  • Pairing weapons from the Commando, Gunslinger and SWAT weapons or Demolitionist, Sharpshooter and Support classes can be a little stronger rather than crossing between these groups given the benefits of your tier 1 perk on reload speed that requires you to select from these two groups.


Killing Floor 2 Survivalist Perks Build

The Commando has the following perk bonuses at maximum level:

  • 15% weapon damage (0.6% per level)
  • 25% global damage resistance (1% per level)
  • 25% heavy body armour (1% per level)
  • 75% ZED time reload (3% per level)
  • Faster weapon switch

The Survivalist has the following active perk skills to select from:

Perk Category Left (L) Option Right (R) Option
Weapon Handling Tactical Reload: Increase reload speed with Commando, Gunslinger and SWAT weapons. Heavy Weapons Training: Increase reload speed with Demolitionist, Sharpshooter and Support weapons.
Survival Techniques Medic Training: Increase the potency of all your healing 30% and decrease the cooldown of your syringe and healing darts 50%. Melee Expert: Increase melee attack speed 20%, inflict 75% more damage, and move 25% faster when using any melee weapon.
Equipment Ammo Vest: Carry up to 15% more ammo for all weapons and you can select a healing grenade. Weapon Harness: Increase carrying capacity by 5 and you can select a Molotov cocktail.
Destruction Spontaneous ZED-plosion: Zeds you kill have a 30% chance to explode, damaging and stunning nearby Zeds. Make Things Go Boom: Increase explosive resistance and area of effect of all explosives by 50%.
Specialist Training ZED TIME – Madman: During Zed time, all your weapons shoot 3x faster. ZED Time – Lockdown: During Zed time, all your weapons can stun any Zed.

Notable active perk skills when playing as the Survivalist are:

  • Weapon Handling: The first tier of perks for the Survivalist are focused on buffing your potential to reload weapons to a similar speed to the specialist perks given many of them can boost their reload speed through passive perk levels or active perks. Your choice at this tier should of course be based on the weapon that you use as the foundation of your Survivalist loadout.
  • Survival Techniques: This tier of perks allows the Survivalist to push themselves towards a healing support character with the left hand side which also serves as a great generalist option in most of your Survivalist loadouts for the added potency to our own and team healing. The right hand side is reserved solely for when we opt to wield a melee weapon which allows us to turn our Survivalist into something similar to the Berserker.
  • Equipment: Both of these perks impact on your carry potential when playing as the Survivalist while also adding special grenades of other class perks into our loadout. The left hand side boosts ammo capacity for weapons which can be useful in loadouts where you want extra ammunition for your trash ZED killer or a few extra hard hitting shots for the deadlier weapons that Killing Floor 2 has to offer. The healing grenade also provides fantastic utility for the team and one of the best grenades that Killing Floor 2 has to offer in general. On the right hand side the additional 5 carry capacity does open up some unique loadouts not available to other classes although will be expensive on Dosh to obtain as the Survivalist. This side also provides a Molotov Cocktail which also a decently strong grenade although without the Firebug perks is not as strong as you might expect.
  • Destruction: Providing the Survivalist two methods of acquiring additional destruction you’ll find a great default in the left hand side that turns all of your ZED kills in to potential mini explosions that provide both damage for trash ZEDs and stunning utility against larger ZEDs. For when players opt to purchase explosive weapons the right hand side allows you to damage yourself less when using this at close range and hit more ZEDs in the process through added area of effect.
  • Specialist Training: The pinnacle perk tier for the Survivalist that allows you to choose from raw damage on the left hand side and further utility on the right hand side. Like the tiers before it the left hand side is a great default choice as more damage never hurts in Killing Floor 2 as it means faster takedowns on ZEDs and less opportunity to take damage in return. That isn’t to the say the right hand side doesn’t have some potential given it provides an abundance of utility but is best only paired with hard hitting headshot focused classes that need the extra assistance to land their vital headshots.

For most Survivalist builds your starting point should be LLLLL as your default option. From this base players can then swap the individual perk tiers to the right hand side when appropriate to do so for your particular situation. For example using Heavy Weapons Training when using this weapon type, Melee Expert for melee weapon builds, Weapon Harness for specific loadouts that need additional weight and Make Things Go Boom when using explosive weapons.


Killing Floor 2 Survivalist Weapons Loadout Guide

With the Survivalist only having a small pool of unique weapons many of your loadouts will borrow from other perk weapon choices and provides you with a level of flexibility that the other classes in Killing Floor 2 do not have. That being said your best loadouts will have a clear goal in mind that is informed by your party needs rather than just picking the best Survivalist weapons or your favourite weapons that might not actually work together in practice. Also note that there are many viable Survivalist loadouts that go well beyond those detailed below so players should not be shy at experimenting to find their favourite mix of weapons.

  • Hemoclobber and Rail Gun: A staple build of the Survivalist that leans into your flexibility to create a useful utility class for the rest of your team or similarly a capable solo character. Your primary weapon is the Hemoclobber that provides a melee weapon for clearing trash ZEDs and is also a cost effective option given it does not rely on ammunition (although ammo can be used for a large heal explosion). When this weapon is paired with Melee Expert and Spontaneous ZED-plosion perks this is an effective foundation to contribute to the team with damage and some healing. This is then paired with the Rail Gun which gives you a hard hitting weapon for the medium and large ZED variants that you’ll encounter in a Killing Floor 2 map. If you already have adequate large ZED killers in your team then swapping the Rail Gun for something less hard hitting or with additional utility is also a viable option.
  • Freezethrower, Rail Gun and HMTech-201: An alternative utility build for the Survivalist this focuses on the Freezethrower weapon which allows you to fire a beam of ice at ZEDs for the best crowd control on offer in Killing Floor 2 which will setup kills on larger ZEDs for your allies or for the Survivalist themselves. Utilising your remaining weight to obtain the reliable medic SMG (HMTech-201) gives us a source of team healing and a viable method to dispatch the lower tier ZEDs.
  • M4 Combat Shotgun and M16 M203 Assault Rifle: A deadly pairing of weapons that gives the Survivalist a well rounded arsenal to deal with many ZEDs given the hard hitting shotgun (fantastic for Scrake and Quarter Pound), reliable assault rifle and alternative grenade firing mode. Given these weapons are Demolitionist and Support perk weapons you’ll want to utilise Heavy Weapons Training since they both benefit from the reload speed. If you want to lean further into explosive power swapping out the M16 for the reliable RPG provides an explosive variant of this Survivalist loadout.
  • Crossbow and HMTech-501: If you find your team lacking range the Crossbow provides a viable option to tackle ZEDs at range given it is an all around effective option with high penetration and damage with the bonus of having bolts that you can pick up to remove any potential ammo issues. The Crossbow also remains viable against boss waves which can be a weakness of some other Survivalist loadouts and a pivotal point of any Killing Floor 2 match. While the options for weapons to pair with the Crossbow are diverse a HMTech-501 is one of many great weapon options for its healing potency and consistent damage.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam’s played Killing Floor with his friends since the original game in the franchise was released and enjoys the simple core gameplay loop that offers endless challenging variety. He prefers to play traditional firearm or supporting classes to help his team successfully navigate the various waves of ZEDs.

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