The Best Abilities In Halls of Torment

Halls of Torment is, at its core, a game about finding the most efficient means possible of dispatching endless hordes of pixelated monsters. Every decision you make, from choosing your character at the start of each run, to picking which Traits to augment them with as you level up, is made toward this sombre end.

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Perhaps most important of all these decisions is which Abilities you’ll choose to supplement your core attacks. While you can have up to six at once, you’re better off focussing deeply on two or three, meaning you’ll need to be highly selective if you want the best results. The next time you chance upon a Tome of Mastery down in the Halls, consider picking one of these A-tier Abilities.

10 Meteor Strike

Information on the Meteor Strike Ability from Halls of Torment

While a bit unreliable at first due to its slow attack speed and random targeting, Meteor Strike can quickly become a powerhouse when upgraded, particularly in a fire-based build. Each time this Ability strikes it spits out three molten rocks in random directions, which then explode upon impact and deal area damage to anything unfortunate enough to be in the splash zone.

It’s not great at focussing down enemies, which is what you’ll want to be doing for the most part, but it provides a nice bit of general coverage that can complement a second, more linear ability perfectly. It also benefits from Traits like Fire Affinity and the Exterminator’s class-specific Traits, making it much more powerful in builds that utilise those.

9 Radiant Aura

Information on the Radiant Aura Ability from Halls of Torment

One of the more unique Abilities in the game, Radiant Aura deals huge damage in a circle around you, but divided equally among all the enemies who are hit by it. This means that it can focus down big targets or sweep away lots of smaller ones, depending on the situation.

Radiant Aura also benefits from two excellent upgrades, which let it inflict Fragile, Affliction, and Burn to all enemies caught within its righteous radius. The fact that this Ability deals damage in your character’s immediate vicinity makes it great for ‘no movement’ runs too, especially when paired with the Astronomer’s Orbs and Hunter’s Garb.

8 Dragon’s Breath

Information on the Dragon's Breath Ability from Halls of Torment

A name like Dragon’s Breath sets expectations high right out of the gate, and thankfully the Ability itself doesn’t disappoint. With Dragon’s Breath in tow you’ll release waves of fire periodically, burning, and later repelling, all enemies in your path. It’s one of the best ways of inflicting the burn status on foes, which is essential for builds running the Ruby Circlet and Sparking Tips.

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Later on, you’ll be able to completely transform Dragon’s Breath with the Stream of Fire upgrade, switching it from a periodic blast to a continuous stream, ideal for mowing down monsters in combination with the Exterminator’s Flame Caster or any other quick-hitting weapon. If you want your enemies to feel the burn, you really can’t do better than this one.

7 Lightning Strike

Information on the Lightning Strike Ability from Halls of Torment

While Lightning Strike may be off-putting to some, due to its unique Trait progression that demands you sacrifice one aspect of the Ability each time you improve one of the others, if you can get over that instinctive revulsion you’ll find an incredibly strong Ability here. It deals big damage in a big area, and can also stun and electrify enemies, helping to buy you precious time during a full-screen swarm.

Thanks to the Trait progression mentioned above, Lightning Strike gets bigger per-level boosts than most Abilities in exchange for its losses in other areas. This allows you to hyper-specialise into damage, attack speed, or electrify chance, and come out with an extremely effective Ability in the end if you commit to one path.

6 Astronomer’s Orbs

Information on the Astronomer's Orbs Ability from Halls of Torment

This is Halls of Torment’s version of Vampire Survivors’ King Bible, and it’s just as good here as that weapon was there. The Orbs constantly orbit around your character, dealing with enemies that get too close with a combination of physical and electrical damage.

A key aspect of the Orbs that’s easy to overlook is the fact that they count as a Summon, for Traits and Items that care about such things. That makes them one of the best choices for a dedicated Summon build, be it Warlock or Beast Huntress, far exceeding the potential of the Summon Golem or Spirit Warrior alternatives. Even discounting this aspect, though, the Astronomer’s Orbs are just generically good in any run.

5 Kugelblitz

Information on the Kugelblitz Ability from Halls of Torment

Don’t be fooled by Kugelblitz’s slow movement speed: it’s actually one of the most efficient means of clearing out large crowds of enemies that Halls of Torment has to offer. It takes the form of a ball of lightning, slowly moving towards enemies at random while releasing shockwaves at regular intervals. Once upgraded, however, it can change direction to hit nearby enemies, and release chain lightning as well.

This all comes together to create a constant source of damage where the slow movement speed actually becomes an asset, as it allows Kugelblitz to damage the same enemies repeatedly as it glides ponderously by. Back it up with the ample lightning damage support the game offers, and you have a truly excellent Ability here.

4 Arcane Rift

Information on the Arcane Rift Ability from Halls of Torment

Arriving alongside the Frozen Depths stage, Arcane Rift has shot straight to the top of many players’ favourite Abilities lists, and with good reason. It’s a unique Ability in that you actually need to move to the spots it creates to trigger its damaging AOE effects, creating a kind of positioning mini-game. Early on, at least.

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Once upgraded, the need to move manually to each trigger point is removed, as the points start to move towards you automatically, and start triggering off of contact with enemies too. This turns it from a powerful-yet-unreliable AOE damage source into a moving mass of landmines, constantly dealing huge damage to enemies all around you. One of the best Abilities for crowd control, and one of the most fun Abilities to use as well.

3 Phantom Needles

Information on the Phantom Needles Ability from Halls of Torment

Some Abilities excel due to complex interactions and unique mechanics, and some excel due to pure, simple efficiency. Phantom Needles falls firmly into the latter category: it’s a very fast attack that deals physical damage to nearby foes, and that’s it. You can ramp up the speed, damage, and critical hit chance via Traits, resulting in an Ability that feels like a second core attack for the likes of the Archer.

The physical attack aspect of Phantom Needles shouldn’t be overlooked, since it allows for some powerful synergy with the Traits of the Norseman and a potent combo with the Sparking Tips Item, but even without these nice edges it’s still just an extremely good Ability in every gameplay scenario.

2 Ring Blades

Information on the Ring Blades Ability from Halls of Torment

An Ability beloved by Gold farmers and regular players alike, Ring Blades covers a huge range, does great damage, and inflicts slow and fragile in the process. It also comes with the ever-useful physical damage type, bringing along all the lovely incidental synergies that it enables.

The Blades fly across the full length of the screen and beyond, and can be increased in size via Traits, leading to situations where most of your enemies will die before they even come into your field of view. If Halls of Torment has too much of that pesky ‘interactive gameplay’ for you, this is the ideal Ability to try out.

1 Transfixion

Information on the Transfixion Ability from Halls of Torment

The undisputed king of the Abilities in Halls of Torment, Transfixion is the perfect storm of speed, coverage, and status infliction. By default, it hits out in a standard cone in front of you, but each upgrade adds an additional cone behind you as well, providing all-round coverage similar to the Radiant Aura.

The biggest draw of Transfixion is its ability to inflict both fragile and affliction, however. These status effects amplify all your sources of damage, including Transfixion itself, and are the key to bringing down the bulky bosses and enemies you’ll encounter late in Agony Mode runs. There’s no character who can’t make great use of Transfixion, and no run that can’t be salvaged by its status-spreading shots.

NEXT: Halls Of Torment: How To Beat Haunted Caverns

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