Learning a new game from scratch takes time, especially if it is a complex one, such as Dead by Daylight. Both the Survivor and Killer role have different strategies and methods to win the game, but even small mistakes can snowball, resulting in a heavy defeat.
So, to make it easier for you to start playing DBD successfully, here are a few tips for playing Killer and Survivor. Please note, experience is still everything, so you will get better over time.
Tips for playing Survivor
Survivors start with an advantage over the Killer because there is no pressure, no one is injured, and all items are available. That said, even if the game starts well, the Killer has the chance to turn the game to his favor if the Survivors mess up.
#1 Prioritize repairing Generators
To escape the Trial area, all Survivors have to repair five out of seven Generators, which spawn on random locations across the map. Repairing a Gen takes 80 seconds by default but can be repaired faster if multiple Survivors work on him or use Repair-Toolboxes and specific Perks.
When the game starts, you should aim for the next closest Generator, if best, with another Survivor to speed up the process. Killers start with a disadvantage because all of the Survivor’s resources are ready, and there is no pressure on them. You should not waste this time by walking around or being AFK.
#2 Find Generators fast
Generators are spread out across the entire map, but sometimes, it isn’t easy to find them, especially in indoor maps with a short line of sight. To find Generators faster, look up and keep an eye out for tall polls with flickering lights. Those are unrepaired Generators. If the lights are on, the Gen is already completed.
In indoor maps or areas, you can find Generators by looking for blinking chandeliers or lights. If you find those, there should be a Generator nearby.
#3 Cleanse Totems if you find them
Totems are one of the few interactable objects for Survivors, which can be cleansed in 15 seconds. At the start of the game, five Totems spawn in random locations across the map, and if the Killer uses a Hex Perk, it will activate a Dull Totem and turn it into a Hex Totem.
If you find a Dull Totem while searching for a Generator and not being chased, cleanse it. Cleansing all five Dull Totem prevents No One Escapes Death, a Killer Hex Perk, from activating when all Generators are repaired.
If you find a lit Totem, you should cleanse it right away to deactivate the Killers Hex Perk.
#4 Don’t drop Pallets right away
Pallets are one of the few resources that can be used to escape from the Killer, so they should not be wasted at any cost. Survivors should rather run around the Pallet as often as possible and only use it when the Killer comes close.
Especially on safe loops and the Killer Shack, Survivors don’t need to drop the Pallet early because Killers can’t catch up quickly. However, there are also a few exceptions, such as The Nurse, Deathslinger, and Huntress, where Pallets don’t work or should be dropped early.
#5 Abuse tall grass and structures to hide
Finding stealthy Survivors as Killer is not easy, without playing the Doctor or running specific Perks such as Whispers. On many maps, Survivors can abuse tall grass to hide in, such as on the Dead Dawg Saloon, the Swamp, the Yamaoka Estate, or the Red Forest.
Walls, buildings, and large rocks are also great hiding spots when the Killer comes closer. Dark clothes in combination with tall grass sometimes make Survivor almost invisible and unnoticed by the Killer.
Note: When you prestige a character, you’ll receive a special piece of clothing covered with blood. If you wear the full prestige outfit, blending into bushes and dark corners becomes easier.
#6 Don’t unhook if the Killer is nearby
Throughout the game, the Killer will hook a Survivor, so the others have to come for rescue before he gets sacrificed to The Entity. However, because the unhooked player can be downed with one hit again, it is not a good idea to unhook when the Killer is too close.
However, if you run the Perk Borrowed Time, a Teachable from William “Bill” Overbeck, the Survivor can continue to run, even when he gets hit by the Killer.
Generally, you should wait to unhook until the Killer left the area or chases another Survivor. Note that you can unhook a player from all directions, unlike in an earlier version of DBD.
#7 Find the Hatch early
The Hatch, also referred to as Black Lock, is an alternative way to escape the Trail grounds. Both Survivors and the Killer can interact with the Hatch, but it only opens when the requirements are met, or Survivors use a Dull/Skeleton Key.
In the beginning, the Hatch spawns invisible on a random location on the map but appears closed when only two Generators remain to be repaired. During a chase, or when searching for the next Gen to repair, keep an eye open for the Hatch so you can escape if the Killer blocks the Exit Gates.
If one of your mates has a Dull or Skeleton Key, all four Survivors can escape through the Hatch. However, if the Killer finds an open Hatch, he can close it by interacting with it. Click here if you want to know where the Hatch spawns on each map.
#8 Learn to counter the Killer
Each of the 20+ Killers has a strength and weakness, which you can abuse to extend or break chases easier. For example, facing the Nurse, breaking the line of sight, and forcing her to predict your movement makes it much more difficult for her to land a hit.
That said, some Killers are harder to counter than others, but it is possible. Acting unpredictable and using mind games sometimes can be enough.
By the way, I wrote a dedicated article about how to counter each Killer in Dead by Daylight, which you should check out if you want to learn more about that.
Tips for playing Killer
Playing Killer is often considered easier compared to playing Survivor by many players within the community if both Killer and Survivors are inexperienced. However, playing Killer is not a guarantee for success because Survivor can easily escape him if they know what they’re doing.
Note: I also wrote a dedicated article for tips for Killers, which you may want to check out here.
#1 Don’t respect Pallets
Each map has Pallet spawn locations, but they are limited. Forcing the Survivor to use the Pallet enables you to get as many Pallets out of the game as fast as possible, so they can no longer be used for looping or mind games.
You also prevent any other Survivor from abusing a loop, making it easier to catch them. There are many areas on each Realm that literally become dead zones for Survivors if the Pallet is gone.
Perks such as Enduring, Spirit Fury, or Brutal Strenght are great choices if you want to reduce the Pallet Stun or break them faster. By the way, Enduring and Spirit Fury make a decent Perk combination.
#2 Avoid Survivors within powerful areas
Chasing and hooking Survivors is the primary goal of the Killer, but sometimes, you should Survivors within strong areas, as they can waste a lot of your time there.
Such areas are the Killer Shack near Jungle Gyms and walls. The Shack by its own is already a powerful area where Survivors that know how to run it can hold you there for minutes. And if there are Jungle Gyms or walls with windows nearby, rather search for another Survivor, which is easier to catch.
#3 Understand and learn the Killers Power
Unlike Survivors, which are basically different skins, each Killer has a unique Power and playstyle. There are a few types of Powers, mainly chase, stealth, or territorial orientated.
Before searching for a lobby, read the Power’s description (press F1 on PC for it to show up) to get a general understanding of how it works. In a trial, you can test it against real players, but don’t expect the best results straight away. As mentioned in the beginning, experience is everything!
By playing a Killer more often, you will get better at using his unique Power. Killers such as Ghost Face or Nurse are harder to master, as their Power requires more skill to use. For instance, as a Nurse, you need to be able to predict Survivors reliable.
#4 Look for Pools of Blood instead of Scratch Marks
Scratch Marks give away where a Survivor is running, but they are spread out and often lead to the Killer’s confusion. If you manage to injure a Survivor, he will leave Pools of Blood on the ground, which are easier to track than Scratch Marks.
If you don’t have a clear line of sight on your pray, track the Pools of Blood, especially if there are no Scratch Marks or they’re already fading. Injured Survivors will leave a Pool of Blood in front of Lockers after entering, so if you spot one of these in front of a Locker, there should be someone in it (but watch out for Head On!).
#5 Chase multiple Survivors
The simplest form of pressure in DBD is chasing a single Survivor; however, all the other players can still work on Generators without any fear of being tracked. When you find multiple Survivors working on a Gen, choose one to hunt until he is injured, but then aim straight for the next Survivor.
Most of the time, if you dedicate to one Survivor, all the others who are not being chased will straight go back to the Generator. However, if you go back and injure a second (maybe a third one too), you apply much more pressure onto them.
Injured Survivors tend to heal first before going back on a Generator; thus, they have to waste valuable time on healing, where they can’t make any progress on Generators.
Hunting multiple players works best with range type and fast Killers, such as the Huntress, Oni, Hillbilly, Nurse, or the Deathslinger.
#6 Make every Hook count
It is crucial that you find and down Survivors as quickly as possible before they can repair too many Generators. Tunneling and face camping should be avoided at any cost, but you should make any hook count.
If you hook every player, the others generally have enough time to complete Generators and come for rescue before the hooked person goes into the struggle stage. As Killer, you should ignore one to two Survivors and focus on the others.
Try to kill your primary targets as soon as possible, to apply as much pressure as possible. If the other Survivors give you free hits or you can down them, take it as it only helps with hook progression.