Risk of Rain 2 recently released the Artifact system, a way for players to modify their runs in unique ways. Forcing enemies to drop items, spawning double the number of enemies, or making every enemy an elite are examples of what is possible.
Players can unlock these artifacts by entering hidden codes scattered throughout the game in the Sky Meadow area. Most come with some kind of compromise that prevents them from making the game objectively easier, but that’s not always the case. Some artifacts thrive on making the game more engaging, while others make it much easier to achieve high-end games. Here are all the Risk of Rain 2 artifacts, ranked by their impact on difficulty. Artifacts that are more useful to the player are listed higher on the list.
Updated May 24, 2023 by Amanda Hurych: Risk of Rain 2 is still as fun as ever, and using artifacts while running is twice as much fun. Not only can artifacts make some runs a breeze, combining them can make for one hell of a challenge if you’re in the mood for it. We have refined this article to further highlight artifact descriptions at this scale.
16 Artifact of fragility
Artifact of fragility
Fall damage is doubled and lethal.
Artifact of Frailty is a lot scarier than it sounds. If you accidentally jump off the map, you will be practically out of health. Taking any damage before falling off the map will kill you and end your run. Unless you’re playing a Loader, this Artifact changes the game and forces you to stay grounded. This is not for the faint of heart.
15 Artifact of Death
Artifact of Death
When one player dies, everyone dies.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. Artifact of Death does nothing if you’re playing solo. If someone dies but has Dio’s best friend, the run will continue and sacrifice the item.
14 Artifact of dissonance
Artifact of dissonance
Monsters can appear outside of their normal environment.
There are many different enemies in Risk of Rain 2however, many players agree that the first loop of running is quite boring due to the lack of items and variety of enemies.
Artifact of Dissonance fixes the latter and allows any type of enemy to spawn in any biome. You can now fight Imps in the first area, Hermit Crabs in the second, or Brass Contraptions at the start. In general, the game is much more difficult with this activity, but Risk of Rain 2 masters who can make the most of their character’s abilities will find this artifact a breath of fresh air.
13 An artifact of evolution
An artifact of evolution
Monsters gain items between levels.
Is the game still too easy for you? Consider activating Artifact of Evolution for a truly crazy ride. This artifact gives monsters items after each level.
Like your character, monsters can gain buffs from items that make their attacks much more deadly. They can get almost every item in the game, and the power of their gear is three to four times stronger than yours. This results in chaotic runs where Wisps can spawn Sticky Bombs or bosses can fire AtG missiles. They don’t drop their items on death with this activity, so only use this if you want some truly chaotic runs.
Monsters gain items in each stage, repeatedly following this order until the run ends:
Normal -> Normal -> Occasional -> Occasional -> Legendary -> Repeat
Artifact of Metamorphosis
Players always spawn as random survivors.
Metamorphosis will spawn you as a random survivor in each stage. You can start a level as a commando, on the second level you become a loader, on the third level you become a hunter, etc. Fortunately, you keep all your items when switching characters. The skills available to you are related to the survivor you are playing as at the time.
The mastery required to successfully operate with Metamorphosis is quite high. Certain strategies like loading Bustling Fungus on Engineer won’t work here. It definitely makes the game harder, but it offers a lot of variety and forces you to master each survivor’s skill set.
11 Artifact of Defiance
Artifact of Defiance
Enemies drop multiple explosive bombs to kill.
Taking out a huge group of enemies now involves the risk of death. Each enemy that dies will drop at least one bomb that will explode after bouncing three times. Some enemies can drop multiple bombs, causing a cluster of explosions if you kill a giant horde of enemies. This makes the game objectively harder on its own, forcing you to switch positions frequently. However, combining this with Artifact of Chaos can make for a ridiculous run.
10 The Enigma Artifact
The Enigma Artifact
Spawn with random equipment that changes each time it is activated.
You can get any gear from Artifact of Enigma except Milky Chrysalis, The Crowdfunder, or Effigy of Grief. Lunar items such as Spinal Tonic can be obtained with this artifact. It’s a pretty fun way to mix up the game, although the inconsistency of this artifact makes the game a bit harder than normal.
9 Artifact of Chaos
Artifact of Chaos
Friendly fire is enabled for both survivors and monsters.
If you’re playing Risk of Rain 2 alone, using Artifact of Chaos isn’t a bad idea. This artifact allows friendly fire for both you and your enemies.
This means multiplayer matches will test everyone’s patience and become almost unplayable in the later stages, but it’s a fantastic selection for solo players. You can invite enemies to shoot at each other and use them as virtual cover, changing the way you move through engagements. Elite enemies that ignite nearby targets or create an AoE freeze will also affect enemies, making the early game much more interesting. Just watch out for your items and allies, they can easily kill you if you’re not careful. Engineer turrets and friendly AI won’t hit you on purpose, but you’ll take damage if you’re in their line of fire.
8 Kindred Artifact
Artifact of Kin
There will only be one type of monster per level.
Only one type of monster will spawn per zone with this modifier active. For example, if the game selects normal Wisps, only normal Wisps will appear in the rest of the area.
Enemy variants are ignored with this mod, so don’t expect Greater Wisps to appear if Lesser Wisps are selected. Still, this can lead to interesting runs where players fight exclusively with Bettle Guards or Brass Contraptions. This makes the runs much harder on average, but it also makes them much more attractive.
7 Artifact of Vengeance
Artifact of Vengeance
Your relentless counterpart will attack every 10 minutes.
Another mod that complicates the game, Artifact of Vengeance, spawns a duplicate every ten minutes to attack you mercilessly.
This duplicate uses your skills, equipment, and items. If you activate your equipment every half second with the drowning gesture, your counterpart will do the same. This creates a high-intensity duel against yourself that makes all the other areas much more interesting. If you think Monsoon is too easy, use this artifact to change it. Destroying your own duplicate will give you a random item it had. It’s also worth noting that your double counts as a boss, so Armor-Piercing Rounds and similar items work against him.
6 Soul Artifact
Strands are formed from defeated monsters.
Whenever an enemy dies, they will use an ethereal Wisp instead. It has the same health and behavior as the Lesser Wisp, although it does not drop gold or XP when killed. It also does not drop any items while Artifact of Sacrifice is active.
5 An artifact of honor
An artifact of honor
Enemies can only spawn as Elites.
While Artifact of Honor is active, enemies will only spawn as Elites. Elite enemies have special modifiers that make them much stronger than normal monsters. Although they are harder to kill, elite enemies do not lose increased gold or XP as normal.
This makes the game drastically more difficult to start with, as most elite enemies have more than twice the health of regular mobs. The upside is that many items like Wake of Vultures or Old Guillotine all give huge buffs against elite enemies. When you get great items, this modifier ends up being a net benefit to your run. In the early stages, however, this artifact makes the game significantly more difficult.
4 Artifact of Sacrifice
Artifact of Sacrifice
Monsters drop items upon death, but chests no longer spawn.
This is where the Artifacts shine the most. Artifact of Sacrifice completely changes the way you play. While active, enemies have a chance to drop items upon death. In return, chests do not appear.
Starting a run will generate a few items, but this quickly increases as the difficulty increases and the number of enemies increases. Elite enemies also have a much higher chance of dropping items, which means this artifact pairs nicely with the Honor artifact. With items dropping from enemies instead of chests, you can spend your money on shrines or drones much more than before.
Artifact of Swarms halves the drop chance from Artifact of Sacrifice.
3 Artifact made of glass
Artifact made of glass
Allies take 500% damage but have 10% health.
Shaped Glass is one of Risk of Rain 2’s most powerful items, halving your health in exchange for double damage. If you hate buying this item every time you run, consider running Artifact of Glass instead.
While active, you deal 500% more damage but have 10% of your total health. This artifact also disables one-shot protection, meaning that a single hit that repairs your total health pool will instantly kill you instead of dropping you to 1 HP. This makes the game much harder in the early game, but the huge damage jump makes it much faster than the trade-off. Slow startups are less of a problem when this artifact is active.
2 Swarm Artifact
The number of monsters is doubled, but the monster’s maximum health is halved.
Arguably the most fun mod in Risk of Rain 2, Artifact of Swarms doubles the number of enemies that spawn and halves the health pool of every monster, including bosses.
This mod makes spell based items much more powerful as there are more enemies in each area. Unfortunately, Artifact of Sacrifice halves the drop chance this artifact provides. Despite this negative, Artifact of Swarms makes the chain effects much stronger and the early stages much more interesting.
1 Command artifact
Choose your items.
Almost every artifact in Risk of Rain 2 complicates the game in some form. The only downside to Artifact of Command is deciding what you want to use.
Items you interact with will provide a prompt asking what you want instead of granting a random drop. This means you can pick any normal rarity item when a normal item drops, rare when a rare item drops, etc. Experimenting with builds has never been easier, allowing less skilled or newer players to reach higher than normal waves as reliance on RNG is virtually removed.
Next: Risk of Rain 2: Tips for playing Commando