The best Characters in Halls of Torment

Who’s the belle of the ball down in the Halls?
The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Featured Image

Halls of Torment, in its current Early Access state, has seven characters for you to choose from. Seven stalwart survivors who can hold back the tides of darkness, provided you guide them well, of course. Each has something unique to offer, including a signature base weapon and specialized traits, but not all of them are equally viable. We’ve tested each character extensively, across all three stages, to determine which is the best choice if you’re looking for an easy path through the game. These are the best characters in Halls of Torment, ranked according to their power level and our preference.

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All Halls of Torment characters, ranked

#7 – Warlock

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Warlock

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Someone had to come in last place, and on our list it’s the Warlock. His summon-based play style is an interesting case, since it can eventually gain a lot of synergistic traits and items that propel it to a fairly powerful position, but in the time it takes to gather them all you could’ve made a lot more progress with a better base-level character.

His basic attack summons ghosts, which home in on enemies, and can stick around to hit multiple times if you jack up your Duration stat. As basic weapons go, it’s one of the weakest in the game. It gets better as you go, with the usual damage and attack speed-boosting traits, but it won’t be on par with other weapons until you start acquiring the traits that offer boosts to all of your summons.

These traits are the key to the Warlock playstyle, as they allow you to boost the power of not just your basic attack, but of the monsters summoned by your rings and abilities too. This includes the skeletons from the Necromancer’s Clutch ring, the imps from the Demonic Bond ring, and the golem from the Clay Golem ability. With all three in tow, you’ll have your own private army around you at all times, and you can boost it even further with the obscenely powerful Invocator’s Grasp gloves.

Even when fully kitted-out, a process which takes many unlocks and a lot of gold, the monsters you summon still suffer from being unfocused damage sources. In Halls of Torment, you typically want to focus your fire in a specific area or direction, in order to cut a path through the enemy hordes and avoid damage. Summons don’t let you do this, and as such are largely ineffective when compared to other options in the game.

#6 – Sorceress

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Sorceress

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The Sorceress, on paper, has a lot going for her. Her base critical damage rate is a staggering 200%, she gets bonuses to the ever-useful Parry and Swift Feet traits, and her base weapon uses lightning damage, which can be boosted in a variety of ways by blessings, gear, and traits. Unfortunately, her slow start and frailty make it unlikely that you’ll be able to keep her alive to reach her full potential.

With penalties to the Metabolism, Thick Hide, and Vitality traits, it’s hard to improve the Sorceress’ survivability, meaning you’ll need to rely on duck n’ dive tactics to get through the early game. This is made harder by her low initial attack speed, which stops her chain lightning from being the (literal) force of nature it can be until a good way into a run. And even once you reach that point, you’re never more than a few mistakes away from an early grave.

This is a major problem in stages two and three, where it’s hard to avoid taking a hit or two as you weave through the dense waves of enemies they feature, and it makes the Sorceress hard to recommend despite her theoretical high power ceiling. Combined with the fact that lightning damage takes a while to really get going, since you need to invest heavily in blessings and items in order to optimize it, and you have a character who feels anticlimactic as the last one you unlock in the game.

#5 – Cleric

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Cleric

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The Cleric is a real anomaly when it comes to the Halls of Torment characters. His base weapon is hugely powerful, but it can never deal a critical hit, and it divides its damage evenly among all the enemies it hits. It’s also incredibly slow, but hits twice in quick succession whenever it does, bringing a dynamic not seen elsewhere in the game into play.

This makes playing the Cleric a bit of a puzzle. Do you try and single out enemies to hit them for the maximum damage you can per hit? Or do you go after crowds, taking advantage of his base attack’s huge area and range to deal a bit of damage to all of them at once? It’s an interesting mini-game to play, but unfortunately that interest just doesn’t translate into a powerful character in Halls of Torment.

His low attack speed isn’t a problem early on, but later, when enemies are swarming in from all sides, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed, even with Abilities to back you up. Larger enemy groups also pose a problem for the Cleric, since they split up his damage into nigh-insignificant chunks, making it hard to path through crowds to safety. He does get a boost to the Metabolism trait, for speedy health regeneration, but it’s not enough to save him from a painful death in most runs, and a low spot on this list.

#4 – Swordsman

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Swordsman

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Landing squarely in the middle of the road is the first character you’ll play as in Halls of Torment, the Swordsman. As befits a starting character, he’s a solid all-rounder with some real potential once you build up your Blessings and Items, but he can’t quite reach the heights of some of the more specialized damage-dealers in the game.

His base attack, the Zweihander, hits in a cone shape, and deals damage to everything it touches. It deals solid damage too, especially once you stack up a few Strength traits. It’s great for dealing with crowds due to its large area, but performs less well against big single targets, like bosses and elites. Its initial range isn’t great, but the Swordsman’s natural tankiness, combined with bonuses to the Metabolism and Vitality stats, make getting in close and taking hits luxuries he can afford, unlike many of the frailer characters in the game.

It’s hard to find any real faults with the Swordsman: he can stay alive, he can deal damage, he can make great use of Items and Abilities, he’s just a great all-rounder. He’s more than capable of handling anything the game throws at him: just not quite as capable as the next three characters on our list.

#3 – Shieldmaiden

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Shieldmaiden

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The Shieldmaiden feels like a better Swordsman in nearly every way. She gets more health regeneration, more defense, a much higher critical hit damage bonus, and even a second weapon to boot. Granted her first weapon, the War Hammer, is one of the weakest base weapons in the game, but it’s backed up by her Shield Bash: a powerful move that scales off the Block stat, and pushes back enemies in a wide arc.

The Shield Bash can’t deal critical hits, which limits its damage potential, but the fact that it scales with Block gives you a reason to invest heavily into the stat, which in turn makes the Shieldmaiden incredibly difficult to take down. Her naturally high defense, and bonuses to Metabolism, Parry, and Thick Hide all push this even further, and with the right Items she can feel invincible even late into a run.

This sturdiness, combined with a critical damage bonus equal to that of the Sorceress, makes the Shieldmaiden adept at handling both large crowds and single foes. She plays particularly nicely with Abilities like Radiant Aura and Astronomer’s Orbs, to double down on the ‘untouchable’ playstyle, but honestly anything works well with a 200% critical damage bonus. She’s a character that’s hard to play badly, and harder not to have fun with.

#2 – Archer

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Archer

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Attack speed and critical hit chance are two of the most important stats in Halls of Torment, and the Archer excels at both. He hits hard and fast, with arrows that can pierce through whole crowds of enemies with ease, dealing one or two critical hits in the process. He also has high movement speed right out of the box, letting him dance around foes with ease and leave them looking like pincushions by the time he’s done.

He is undoubtedly quite frail, with low survivability stats at base and penalties to the Vitality, Parry, and Thick Hide traits, but his raw power balances out those shortcomings. With maximum investment into attack speed, damage, and critical hit rate, the Archer can deal more DPS than any other character in the game.

His power makes him a great choice in the early game, where you may be struggling to make much progress with the Swordsman, but he’s just as good late, when you’ve unlocked more specialized items, traits, and abilities that can really tap into his strengths. He’s a reliable damage dealer with a high skill ceiling, and that makes him one of the best options for new and experienced players alike.

#1 – Exterminator

The Best Characters In Halls Of Torment Exterminator

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The Exterminator floats in a similar boat to the Warlock and Sorceress, in that he requires the use of specific traits, abilities, and items to really make the most of him. Unlike those two, however, the Exterminator is just fine without that investment, and absolutely incredible with it. His attack speed is a staggering five times faster than that of the Swordsman, and while that number is balanced by lower damage and critical damage stats, it still allows for some obscene late-game builds with the right traits and blessings.

His base weapon, the Flame Caster, hits incredibly quickly and has a chance to apply burn, a status which deals additional damage over time. This is naturally great against bosses and elites, but it’s surprisingly effective against normal enemies too, raising the Exterminator’s base DPS higher than you’d think. This weapon can also benefit from the fire damage Blessing, the Fire Affinity trait, and a number of powerful items, including the Ruby Circlet and Firewalker Boots. In fact, those items form the basis of one of the best builds in the game, as far as we’re concerned.

Beyond being incredibly powerful, the Exterminator also just feels great to play. His constant attack rate means you’ll rarely miss an enemy, his affinity for fire means you can make use of the fun-but-situational Dragon’s Breath and Meteor Strike abilities, and he has solid survivability stats to boot, meaning your fiery rampage won’t be brought to an abrupt end most of the time. The Exterminator has lit a fire in our hearts, and if you give him a chance, he’ll do the same for you.

So there you have it: our definitive ranking of the best characters in Halls of Torment. While you can finish all three stages with the entire cast, you’ll have a much easier time if you take one of the higher-ranked characters along for the ride. As the game’s journey through Early Access continues, it will be interesting to see if balance changes shake this ranking up, or if new contenders step in to carve out their own place in the list.

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Nathan Ball
Nathan Ball is a freelance games writer with a deep love for the medium. Having studied Game Design at the University of Abertay, Dundee, he's always on the lookout for games that push the envelope and try out fresh and exciting design techniques. You can usually find him covering the latest indie gems, but he does dabble in the world of AAA from time to time as well. Nathan has written professionally for various outlets, including TheGamer and the Scottish Games Network. When not writing, he enjoys good books, good TV, and analysing both within an inch of their life.