Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Nuclear Throne Best Crown – Guide & Tier List
In our Nuclear Throne best crown guide we explore each of the available crowns in the game, the impact they have on gameplay and most importantly the situations when each will be a strong choice for your adventure. This secret game mechanic gives advanced players an opportunity to alter their game experience and with the right selection improve your chances of continuing your adventure further than ever before. Given players are only able to equip one crown at a time your choice holds even more importance than your other Nuclear Throne game choices that you make with each character level up or character selection itself.
In this guide we detail the basics of the crown system in Nuclear Throne along with recommendations of pre-loop and post-loop crown options based on your character or playstyle preferences. Given crowns are intended to be a secret game mechanic there are spoilers ahead for core game mechanics that you may want to wait to discover yourself before reading on.
Nuclear Throne Crown Mechanic Overview
Crowns in Nuclear Throne are secret modifiers that can dramatically impact your game experience far beyond what the best Nuclear Throne mutations do and stay with players for that run while also having a visual impact on your character. Crowns can only be accessed through the Crown Vault which players can explore through the special prop spawn during your adventure known as the Proto Statue. Visually these statues are presented as a diamond shaped structure and require players to deal damage to them before in order to charge them.
These will initially only spawn from Scrapyard 3-2 onwards with a spawn that repeats every other game area within the second stage as a result the spawn cycle is Scrapyard 3-2, Frozen City 5-2 for a first playthrough. After players loop spawns for Desert 1-2 and Palace 7-2 are added. In order to activate the Proto Statue players will are required to deal damage to the structure at which point it will start to collect Rads from enemies around the immediate area to reach full charge before opening up a green portal to the Crown Vault.
The first time players visit the Crown Vault you’ll find the single Crown Pedestal where you can select a crown before leaving back to your Nuclear Throne run (players can also choose not to take a crown if they wish). During subsequent visits to the Crown Vault players will encounter Crown Guardians who are moderately difficult foes along with a Proto Chest (if entering with a crown) which allows for item transfers between game runs. Leaving a Crown Vault also increases the game difficulty resulting in improved weapon spawn chance and a greater number of enemies. Players are capped at a total of 3 Crown Vault visits per game run and accordingly the Proto Statues will cease to spawn after this point.
Players can only wear one crown at a time, they do not stack by selecting the same crown more than once and are split into two distinct crown pools which includes 6 pre-loop and 6 post-loop options for players to choose from. When you do have a crown equipped players can expect to spawn cursed weapon chests 14% of the time and have encounters with the I.D.P.D on exiting the crown vault or on 1-1 if a crown is equipped. Players can in time start with a crown if they sit on The Throne or loop the game with a crown equipped which makes it available to start with for that character only.
Nuclear Throne Best Crown Summary
The crowns below are listed in alphabetical order split between pre-loop and post-loop crown options. As with other decisions in Nuclear Throne the choice of crown is highly dependent on character, playstyle preferences and also if you are starting with the crown or picking it up during a run. As such the below is intended to serve as general guide to the best crown in Nuclear Throne and I suggest that dedicated players should experiment with each of them as intended by the developer given they are there to primarily spice up gameplay in unique ways.
Each crown is rated on a simple scale of S > A > B below based on the how much the crown helps you extend your playthrough length although even the low rated crowns can be fun and worth trying at least.
|Crown||Crown Description||Notes||Overall Rating|
|Crown of Curses (pre-loop)||A lot more cursed chests – Increases the chances that weapon chests will spawn as cursed chests (66% chance instead of 14%)||Cursed chests can be useful for their ability to give you weapons above your current difficulty progress although players cannot unequip cursed weapons until cleansed generally. Thankfully though you can swap them for another cursed weapon (provided you don’t have zero ammo for the equipped weapon) so this makes it easy to cycle through cursed weapons and effectively use weapons you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.||A|
|Crown of Destiny (pre-loop)||Free mutation, narrow future – Players can gain one random mutation instantly and mutation choices are now limited to one option (including ultra mutations)||Forcing you to tempt fate this crown does allow you to acquire an additional mutation overall but will significantly impact on your choices. For Horror this is not as bad given you’ll still have 2 choices but you’ll need a lot of luck for the additional mutation to outweigh the loss of mutation choices with each level up.
That being said from a gameplay perspective this is a great challenging crown that forces players to adjust to what mutations they are given.
|Crown of Guns (pre-loop)||No ammo drops, more weapon drops – Removes ammo drops from enemies but adds 8% weapon drop chance to every enemy||Another unique crown that offers an interesting trade off given ammo can be gained in other ways through mutations and the fact that dropped weapons do give you some ammunition for that specific weapon type.
Provided you build appropriately to remove the negative factor from this crown this is one that you may not even notice while having the benefit of near endless weapon choices.
|Crown of Haste (pre-loop)||Pickups fade fast, are worth more – Significantly increases the fade time of pickups (three times as fast) although gives you extra ammo and health from pickups.||Depending on your character, playstyle and weapon choice you’ll likely find that pickups are already timing out if you aren’t paying close attention. With this crown you’ll literally need to be on top of any pickups as they appear which will often cost you more in health and ammo in an attempt to collect pickups than the bonus is providing.||B|
|Crown of Life (pre-loop)||No HP drops, big HP chests more common – Removes HP pickup drops but does improve your chances of spawning health chests||With some options to acquire health through mutations it is not too difficult to do without the HP drops when this crown is activated although the buff to big HP chests is simply not worth the loss of HP pickups.||B|
|Crown of Risk (pre-loop)||More drops when at full HP, less drops when not – Enemies have +50% drop rate when your character has full health and -50% when not at full health||An interesting crown that turns your Nuclear Throne games into a feast or famine situation. if you’re already confident in your abilities and build your mutations appropriately staying at maximum health is definitely a possibility and will allow you to always have the pickups you want. However, if players do fall below maximum health for an extended period of time your run can quickly spiral out of control as you can’t acquire pickups you need to continue on.||B|
|Crown of Blood (post-loop)||More enemies, fewer Rads – Greatly increases number of enemies but enemies drop 1 Rad less||With a significant boost to enemies at the cost of 1 Rad drop per enemy players will find that they come out ahead in the scheme of things although you are increasing difficulty somewhat. By being ahead on Rad income overall you’ll level quicker and reach your peak potential sooner.
The increase in difficulty is not much as you might expect as enemies do have to group together quite tightly when using this crown so it is not significantly more effort to dispatch them (particularly with area of effect focused builds).
|Crown of Death (post-loop)||Bigger explosions, -1 max HP – Removes 1 HP from your character health pool maximum and adds enhanced explosions (spawned and mini grenades)||For only a single health point lost from your maximum health players gain a reasonable benefit to explosions. Note that unless you’re using some of the explosive weapons that fire mini grenades the number of times this activates is not as useful as it might seem but the negative cost is fairly low compared to other crowns.||A|
|Crown of Hatred (post-loop)||Take damage and gain Rads when opening chests – Opening chests gives 16 Rads and deals one damage||1 damage is most instances is not going to make or break a run for an experienced player especially once you have the necessary tools to recover health with ease. This makes the Crown of Hatred essentially a boost to your Rad income to gain experience faster and reach your full character potential sooner.||S|
|Crown of Love (post-loop)||Ammo chests only – Replaces weapon chests and radiation canisters with ammo chests||Ammo economy is generally not a major issue in Nuclear Throne as you’ll earn enough from your mutation setup in most cases and you’re losing important resources in Rads and weapon variety to do so.||B|
|Crown of Luck (post-loop)||Start areas at 1 HP, chance enemies have 1 HP – Enemies (not bosses) have a 10% chance to spawn with 1 health and players start each zone at 1 HP||Starting at 1 HP is a risky proposition in Nuclear Throne and while it is nice to be able to kill a small portion of enemies without much effort you are simply accepting too much risk for this to be an effective crown choice.||B|
|Crown of Protection (post-loop)||Weapons contain HP instead of ammo – Walking over weapons gives 1HP instead of ammunition (excluding melee weapons)||Providing players an additional source of health regeneration is nice although you are sacrificing a decent source of ammunition to do so. This is most effective when used in conjunction with your mutations to ensure you have a balance of both health and ammo regeneration.||A|