Last Updated on Samuel Franklinby
Nuclear Throne Mutation Tier List – Best Mutations Guide
In this Nuclear Throne mutation tier list you’ll find guidance on the best mutations to pick on each level up based on your choice of character in order to survive and hopefully reach the end of this roguelike adventure. With much of your strength coming from mutations in Nuclear Throne this is an important decision that players will need to make each time you progress through a randomised level and collect enough Rads currency. While some of your mutation decision will be based on your intended playstyle and choice of character there are some strong options in the mutation system that serve as powerful generalist perk choices to provide a reliable increase to your success chance. Mutation selection alone won’t help you go from zero to hero but are an important contributor to your overall power level and alongside the experience you gain with each attempt will ensure your eventual victory.
At each of these mutation choice points players are presented with 4 random mutations from the available pool which requires players to adjust their strategy to what they are given. Players do have a maximum number of mutations they can claim though with a cap of 9 mutations on your character although there are some limited Nuclear Throne mechanics (such as Crowns) to gain extra mutations. This tier list guide is focused on the mutations acquired on level up and does not include the character specific mutations that you can select from when you reach the maximum allowed level.
The Best Nuclear Throne Mutations – Tier List Factors
Mutations offer players a diverse range of options to improve their damage output, survivability, economy (ammo/health/Rads) or other utility and play a pivotal role in your ultimate success or failure. While the best Nuclear Throne mutations in this tier list provide some guiding principles to improve your chances of a successful run players should still consider their character, crown, preferred playstyle and current run when choosing mutations. While it is rare that you’ll want to pass on a top tier mutation sometimes you’ll need to take a mutation to counter an issue in the current run that might have left you low on health, ammo or weapons. Players also need to consider any synergies of their characters or between mutations that may increase the value of a particular mutation to you.
Based on factors such as overall power and the usefulness of a mutation this tier list uses the following rating system:
- S Tier: The best mutations available in Nuclear Throne that are effective in the vast majority of situations and as a result should rarely (if ever) be missed if they are available given they are often pivotal to a successful game attempt.
- A Tier: Strong mutation perks that should not be taken over S tier when they are available but are still important to most characters and playstyles to help secure a victory.
- B Tier: Decent perks for the right character or weapon type that makes these perks good filler options although you should only pick these if they will benefit your playstyle for that run and generally you will only want one or two from this tier in total.
- C Tier: Perks that are lacking in overall power or have highly niche playstyle considerations and should generally be avoided because of this as there are simply better options for your limited mutation numbers.
Nuclear Throne Mutation Tier List Table
Mutations are listed in alphabetical order below. Each mutation includes the in game name, icon and description alongside a detailed description and any applicable notes for players to be aware of when determining the tier rating for that specific mutation.
|Mutation||Mutation Description||Notes||Tier Rating|
|Back Muscle||Higher ammo max – Increases bullet (255 to 555) and other ammo capacity (55 to 99)||Generally you’ll find that you have enough ammunition to get the job done with careful usage of your chosen weapon although some characters in Nuclear Throne may chew through it faster by design. If you want a bit of extra safety as you progress or prefer to spam weapons this perk is an option.||B|
|Bloodlust||Some kills regenerate HP – Chance (7.69%) of regenerating 1 HP when you kill an enemy||While a small chance and amount of healing at first glance there are actually a large number of enemies on each Nuclear Throne level that ensure this is reasonably effective and helps you maintain a decent HP pool as a result.||S|
|Boiling Veins||No damage from explosions and fire when under 4 HP – Characters will take no damage from these sources when HP is at 4 or less and can only reduce your HP to 4 when taking this damage type||For an explosive heavy run where you find and plan to utilise these area of effect weapons this can be a decent perk to prevent accidents although you’ll have to run at a lower health pool.||B|
|Bolt Marrow||Homing bolts – Certain weapons seek enemies (bolts, splinters, seekers and discs)||Focused on the bolt weapon type this gives you some reasonable effective homing that allows you to hit essentially all of your shots with these weapons. Like the other weapon specific perks if these are going to be part of a run it is worth picking up.||B|
|Eagle Eyes||Better accuracy – Increases accuracy by reducing shot spread||Bullets have some variability to their path which adds another layer of randomness to your Nuclear Throne adventure. On most guns this is not significantly noticeable although some characters may want this to offset their starting weakness.||C|
|Euphoria||Slower enemy bullets – Enemy projectiles are slower in speed by 20%||Reducing some of the requirement to have high reaction times this is an all around effective choice that will save you health in the long run as you have extra time to plan a route through the hail of enemy bullets.||A|
|Extra Feet||More speed walk normal on all terrain – Character movement speed increased and players no longer suffer effects from slowing floor tiles||Like Euphoria above this is a useful method to get out of the way of enemies and generally makes for a faster playthrough. The ability to ignore floor tiles like spiderwebs and ice is also particularly valuable in those locations although not required.||B|
|Gamma Guts||Enemies touching you take damage – Touching enemies with your character deals damage, players can still take touch damage depending on the enemy and if they are moving or standing still||Providing some protection from the faster enemy types that charge players given these are generally low health and will die when impacting with the player. The main issue with this perk is players will need to learn which enemy types are safe and which ignore this effect due to their high health values (more than 12 HP).||C|
|Hammerhead||Push through a limited number of walls – Players can break through fire traps and up to 20 walls per level||Adding an additional tactic to utilise with this players can carve out a safe space or dodge enemy attacks in ways that usually wouldn’t be possible which can occasionally save you some damage.||C|
|Heavy Heart||More weapon drops – Weapon drop rate from enemies is increased by 210%||Heavy Heart is unique compared to other mutations in that it will only appear after you have taken three weapon specific mutations that buff a particular weapon archetype and it only appears once in your entire playthrough.
For diverse weapon builds this is a great addition as you’ll be able to find all the weapons your heart desires although generally you’ll see more success with a narrower pool of weapon choices that makes this unlikely to even appear in the first place.
|Impact Wrists||Corpses fly and hit harder – Corpses fly further on screen and deal increased damage on impact (increase from 1 to 2 damage)||Adds a surprisingly amount of area of effect damage when enemies are close together which can quickly add up to an effect damage boost.||B|
|Laser Brain||Energy weapons deal more damage – Energy weapons are modified to have increased size or duration of effects to boost damage output||This modification depends on the energy weapon at hand that all boost damage output in some form. As a result for the energy weapon specialist this is a must have.||B|
|Last Wish||Get full HP and some ammo – Fully heal your character and gain ammo (200 bullets and 20 other ammo)||Can potentially save a run if you find yourself low on health as you progress into the next level stage. Note that this mutation does not provide a continuous benefit like most other mutations so should only be taken as a last resort to save a run. Be aware your maximum potential will be lower in that run though.||C|
|Long Arms||More melee range – Increases character melee range||For players that want to use melee weapons as part of their character playthrough this is an absolute must have. Note that this is also a significant buff to your ability to block bullets when using a melee focused playstyle.||B|
|Lucky Shot||Some kills regenerate ammo – Killing an enemy gives players an ammo pickup of a random ammo type (11.57% chance)||Providing a decent chance to regenerate ammunition with each kill this allows players to feel comfortable with ammo economy although hardly required.||B|
|Open Mind||Extra chest spawn – Extra ammo chest, weapon chest or radiation canister on each level (random)||Provides players the option to get some additional resources with each level so this should be taken early to receive the full benefit. The randomisation may not always give you what you are after though so keep that in mind.||C|
|Patience||Mutate later – Reroll the current set of mutations in the next portal||When you don’t want to take any of the mutations presented players will be able to make mutation selects on the next portal instead with a rerolled set of options.||N/A|
|Plutonium Hunger||Attracts drops and Rads from further – Increases pickup range of the player||A solid increase to the range at which players can gather Rads, ammo and HP drops that can be a good convenience choice as it removes the need for players to dive head first into enemies to acquire drops that you can’t wait for.||A|
|Rabbit Paw||More HP and ammo drops – Mini ammo chests and mini medkits drop more often from enemies (40% more)||While there are some mutations to buff your ability to acquire health and ammo Rabbit Paw allows players to get both in a single perk that ensures you’re never short on either resource provided you can kill enemies.||S|
|Recycle Gland||Most hit bullets become ammo – Each bullet that hits an enemy has a chance (60%) to refund ammo||Another ammo economy focused mutation to keep your weapon types topped up with ammo. This is an effective option although players should generally only need one ammo focused mutation.||C|
|Rhino Skin||+4 Max HP – Adds 4HP to your maximum health and heals you 4HP||A safety mutation perk that gives you more chance to survive the onslaught of enemies. This is hardly ever a poor choice given most characters will want to maximise their health pools.||S|
|Scarier Face||Less enemy HP – Enemies spawn with 20% less health (including bosses)||Saving you ammunition as you’ll be able to kill all enemies faster this is also an effective mutation for clearing enemies quickly and reducing their window of attack. With the mutation also impacting bosses it’s a great way to reduce the difficulty of those fights as well.||S|
|Second Stomach||More HP from medkits – Doubles health from health pickups||Another health focused mutation that allows players to stay topped up on HP as they advance and improve your ability to recover health throughout your adventure.||B|
|Sharp Teeth||Damage taken is dealt to all enemies on screen – When you take damage deal damage to all enemies in vision (2.5x multiplier)||For certain characters this is quite a strong mutation option as it ties in nicely to your intended playstyle. It’s significantly weaker outside of these though as your goal should generally to be avoid getting hit and even with the multiplier you’ll need several HP mutations to counteract the damage taken.||C|
|Shotgun Shoulders||Shells bounce further – Projectiles from shell weapons bounce and travel further||Fantastic for some of the tighter level generations that you’ll find in many Nuclear Throne levels this is intended for players who prefer to utilise the shell based weapons for damage (primarily shotguns).||B|
|Stress||Higher rate of fire as HP gets low – Increases your rate of fire based on your missing HP||As players get low in health you’ll benefit from a faster rate of fire. This is generally not going to be worth the trade off as successful runs will generally come from staying adequately stocked up on health.||C|
|Strong Spirit||Prevents death once, recharges at full HP in the next area – Players will revive with 1 HP upon death and can be recharged once per level by reaching max health (displayed by a halo above your character)||With the ability to recharge this effect provided you survive, make it to a different level and recover your HP this is a must have mutation. Combined with one of the good healing mutations you’ll have no problem recharging this which potentially means multiple saves during run to significantly extend your lifespan.||S|
|Throne Butt||Upgrades your character’s special ability (different for each character)||Highly dependent on your character given this has a different impact for each based on their special ability. For most characters though this is not a key requirement on your path to victory.
Characters that benefit the most from this mutation include Plant, Crystal, Melting, Steroids and Rebel.
|Trigger Fingers||Kills lower your reload time – Each enemy killed reduces reload time for your equipped weapons (40%)||For builds that utilise powerful weapons with long reloads this is a must have to ensure they can fire often enough to get the job done against large waves of incoming enemies as you’ll be less likely to be stuck against a wall reloading with this mutation.||A|