Vampire Survivors is a rising star among roguelite fans. This minimalistic game takes the well-known roguelite formula and distills it down to its most essential components: randomized upgrades during a run, useful upgrades outside of a run, and fighting through enough enemies to keep you entertained. From there, Vampire Survivors builds on those components with its 8-bit charm and unique ‘reverse-bullet hell take on the genre.
On the topic of runs, completing them won’t be easy unless you understand how to evolve your items and build around these evolutions. Here’s a handy guide to help you see which items can evolve and how.
How Do You Evolve Items?
In order to evolve items, you’ll need two parts – the weapon you want to evolve at max level and a specific secondary item that pairs with that weapon. Having both of these items in your inventory will unlock the evolved version of that weapon through treasure chests. Be aware, most maps will not let you evolve your weapons until after the 10-minute mark.
Feel free to consult this chart to see the item pairs and what they evolve into.
Once you get the evolution from the treasure chest, the original weapon will be replaced with its evolved form. The secondary item will still be there so you will still benefit from its effects.
Now that we know how to evolve weapons, let’s take a look at the best evolutions and combos to support them.
Required items: Lightning Ring and Duplicator
The Thunderloop is an amazing item because of how flexible it is to build and how much damage it can deal.
To build it, you just have to pair the Lightning Ring with a Duplicator – two items that work well with any build. The duplicator adds an additional projectile to all of your weapons, creating a sizable spike in your damage for an extremely modest investment. Lightning Ring is mediocre by itself, but with a few key support items like Candelbrador and the Empty Tome, it can zap through entire levels.
As a weapon, the Thunderloop makes all of your lightning bolts strike twice, strike more often, and chain out to other enemies. This outputs a massive amount of damage, clearing large groups of enemies with ease and scaling extremely well into the endgame. If you get the Candelabrador and Empty Tome then the Thunderloop will start dealing an insane amount of damage.
2. Death Spiral
Required items: Axe and Candelabrador
Death Spiral makes your survivor throw a ring of scythes around themselves that will pierce through enemies, knock them back slightly, and deal heavy damage to anything it passes through.
Much like Thunderloop, Death Spiral is a great weapon because it builds with independently powerful items and deals huge chunks of damage. Many of the items in Vampire Survivors benefit greatly from Candelabrador’s increase in attack size – Garlic, Lighting Ring, and Axe to name the biggest winners. Death Spiral’s only downside is that the Axe doesn’t start out as a great weapon. It needs at least four levels to start shining and even then, it doesn’t carve through hordes very well until it evolves.
Death Spiral alone causes plenty of damage but it will reach another level of lethality when combined with Empty Tome and Duplicator.
Required Items: Peachone and Ebony Wings
The Vandalier is a bullet hose – spraying energy bullets in two different directions from your survivor with a fire rate fast enough to delete most enemy waves. Its raw firepower makes it a useful tool to surviving the toughest waves at the end of your run.
The Vandalier is a powerful weapon because, beyond damage, it only takes up one weapon slot, freeing you to take an extra weapon. However, this extremely powerful upside comes with a few caveats.
First, both Peachone and Ebony Wings must be level 8. This will take some time to build up, so make sure you have a weapon that can do plenty of DPS while you level both of these birds. Next, once you get the Vandalier, it’ll start at level one, meaning you’ll have to level it back up to eight to get its crazy firepower online. Despite all of this, the final product is well worth the investment.
4. Unholy Vespers
Required Items: King Bible and Spellbinder
The Unholy Vespers are amazing when you want to turn yourself into a buzz saw. These rotating books fly around you fast enough to blend up enemies that get too close. At the endgame, their damage output is high enough to help you survive through the toughest waves the game throws at you.
It’s made from the King Bible and Spellbinder, which makes it naturally work well with any weapon that wants to be on the field longer like Santa Water, Peachone, Ebony Wings, and Song of Mana.
Santa Water is especially great with the Vespers since tanky enemies can sometimes break through your circle. Both Santa Water and its evolution, La Borra, help cover that blind spot with their massive burning effects. Using a Bracer with this weapon will also increase how fast the books rotate around you, making them both safer to use and more damaging against larger enemies.
Required Items: Fire Wand and Spinach
Yet another fantastic weapon that’s made up of two amazing component pieces – fire wand and spinach – while also doing an incredible amount of damage. The only downside to this weapon is how it will randomly select targets. However, when you’re surrounded by monsters during your run, a randomized target no longer matters when all you need is a single hole to flee through, and Hellfire is exceptionally good at burning through monsters.
Even without evolving it, Hellfire’s component items are amazing. Fire Wand is similar to the Axe in that it doesn’t start out great, but its high damage can save a run.
You’ll usually want to pair a more predictable weapon with it for some consistency. Spinach on the other hand can practically make builds work even without its evolution; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a build that doesn’t benefit from an additional 50% more damage.
Dying for more roguelite goodies? Take a look at the Best Roguelites RANKED and the Best Deckbuilding Games like Slay the Spire.