There are enough skills in Payday 2 that you can craft almost any build you want. This is awesome for seasoned players, but new players can be a bit overwhelmed by all the choices available, especially when you’ve only unlocked a few skill points. While there aren’t really any ‘mandatory’ skills since the big rework in 2016, there are still several choices that are almost always worth their points and you won’t be sad you specced into them. Today, we’re covering The 5 Best Skills in Payday 2. (Note that we’re talking loud, there are enough skill points to just buy everything for stealth.)

Starting with #1: Transporter basic will only cost two points and one prerequisite point to unlock, and it lets you throw bags twice as far. Considering how many heists in this game require running huge trains of bags to the escape van, Transporter basic will shave entire minutes off of the most dangerous part of the heist. If you run a high armor build, you should probably grab Transporter Aced as well, which reduces your armor speed penalty while carrying a bag. But if you run a low-armor build, instead take a look at

#2: Second Wind basic is the opening skill in the ‘Silent Killer’ Ghost tree, meaning you only need a single point to unlock it. It grants a 50% speed boost when your armor breaks, which is exactly the sort of moment you could really use a speedboost to find cover before you die. Speed is really important in Payday, since it lessens the time you spend in the enemy line of fire and helps you finish the heist as quickly as possible before the cops wear your team down. And just to drive home how important speed is:

#3 is Duck and Cover basic and Parkour basic. Together they’ll cost only 3 points to unlock but they’ll give you a 10% faster movement speed, 25% faster sprint speed and 25% faster stamina recovery. The fact that the speed boosts are indiscriminate of armor, health amount, or carried loot is what makes these two skills so valuable. Along with Transporter basic, these three skills are the holy trinity of Payday, and are always worth speccing no matter what build you’re creating.

But don’t run with a knife!

#4 is Inspire aced. This skill’s a little different from the others on the list. It’s the cornerstone of the Medic tree and therefore really expensive to unlock, and yet I’m including it because it gives you more raw value than any other skill available. The basic part lets you grant teammates speedboosts by shouting at them, which is nice, but the Aced version lets you revive any downed teammate from afar by shouting at them and it lets you do this once every 20 seconds. This is a ground breaking ability; normally reviving teammates leaves you very vulnerable, not to mention you first need to reach them and face whatever downed them in the first place. Not with Inspire, which lets you pop them back on their feet even through walls and floors.

And finally, #5 is Underdog basic. Underdog costs only a single point in the Shotgunner tree, but its a very overlooked skill, it grants you a 15% damage boost whenever at least three enemies within an 18-foot radius are targeting you. That may make it sound situational, but honestly, in loud heists you’ll find it triggered almost all the time thanks to Payday being a horde shooter. There are loads of weapons that can reach the next breakpoint simply by speccing into this skill, and in any case, free damage for all your weapons is always a welcome buff.

Bonus number 6, Hardware Expert is a one-point skill at the very beginning of the Technician’s Breacher tree. It lets you repair drills 25% faster, causes your drills to finish 25% faster, and makes your drills silent so civilians and guards need to physically see the drill to become suspicious. All three parts are useful, though its really the silent drills that you’ll notice the most. But 1 point is a cheap deal in exchange for three different abilities that help you speed through one of the most boring parts of any heist.

Honorable mention goes to Bloodthirst basic, which costs only three points in the Fugitive’s Brawler tree, and is worth looking at because it turns your emergency melee into something that can actually pack a punch. It stores bonus melee damage for every ranged kill you get, capping out at 17x more bonus damage that only resets once you melee kill something. If you’re the sort of player who only melees because you were caught off-guard reloading or holding the wrong weapon, Bloodthirst will give you the burst damage you need to eliminate the threat and then go back to fighting exclusively with ranged weapons.

Thanks for listening, this is aabicus with the SPUF of Legend, keep those helmets flying!