Ranking Classes for Horde and Escape

I’ve gotten into a few debates on here about the best and worst classes for standard horde and escape. I’m ultimately noticing that I believe we all have different criteria on how we judge a classes value. I even personally judge classes interchangeable based on solo runs or team runs. What is your personal criteria on how you judge classes in both modes? I personally would like to know everyone’s top 5 for both modes. If you have the patience, I’d like to see you rank all 19 classes for horde and all 18 classes for escape but you don’t need to that.

My personal criteria is closer to ranking them in a team setting. I overall rank each class in my mind in a decathon-style type of contest per se since you wouldn’t rank each class the same regardless of escape hive or horde map. Context is everything.

Anyways, what are your thoughts?


I tend toward self-sufficiency/Power savings myself. I hate the feeling of playing a glass cannon, although I’ve been known to play Jack on more than one occasion.
Brawler (Ranged)
Combat Medic (Team Repair)
Robotics Expert (Precision Repair)

Brawler (Melee)


This one is obvious. Solo [Escape] runs are done in a totally different context. You have just one set of class skills, whereas if you’re with a 3-man team you have up to 3 different sets of skills which optimise multiple weapons, play-styles and strengths. Plus different hives have different weapons and set enemies (within limited RNG parameters) at different stages. Plus with venom/time a factor, you’re essentially one player doing the work of three people because the hive and the number of enemies don’t change.

The Malfunction for example, is a very straightforward hive if played with a 3-man team. However solo-ing it, it can become a ballache. Alot of it comes from having to juggle multiple roles, like sniping and then having to stop to kick a Tracker away or deal with a Grenadier. Plus you can only carry 2 main weapons; whereas a 3-man team can carry up to 6 main weapons collectively (plus a pistol and set of grenades each).

For me it comes down to how the class helps the team. Most of it is fairly loose - essentially, can the class kill enemies and stay alive? Engineers are the exception to the rule, although they are capable of damage too.

As above, Escape has more fixed narrow paramters in terms of enemy RNG so the range of enemies you face are typically more limited compared to the course of a whole Frenzy or 1-50 Horde game where you come across a wider range of enemies overall. In Escape there is an aspect of the RNG which is reasonably predictable. I think most hives only feature 2 potential RNG sets. At a push 3, but broadly speaking it wouldn’t necessarily change your approach too radically. Supply room weapons and ammo boxes are the same regardless. Plus the enemy tuning is different in terms of health etc. The flip-side is that Escape has much more limited resources in terms of weapons and time is often not a luxury due to the venom. Horde waves can take as long as they take (hypothetically).

In terms of answering your question, the way the classes are balanced nowadays mean that pretty much any combination of classes can be used and even engineers are not needed. No single class is needed, although some will be more desirable than others.

I think for Horde my picks would be (and this is based on balancing several team factors like damage output, ability to fight bosses and having an engineer to provide a base, weapon lockers for ammo, and maintaining it):

(1) Robotics Expert (precision repairs saves time and money)
(2) Demolitions (I find it boring, but I appreciate the sheer boss melting power)
(3) Blademaster (super-high damage potential when played well)
(4) Pilot (good stun support from Hammer, and Silverback provides excellent firepower)
(5) Infiltrator (similar to the BM, can work outside of the base and is tanky with stim)

A quick note as well, that I really wanted to include the Marksman to my Horde top 5 cos X-Ray can clear maps quickly and before enemies, especially high risk ones, get anywhere near your base. But I decided on the Pilot and Infiltrator because the Pilot’s SB is one of those “break glass” emergency tools; while the Infiltrator is tanky and their cloak can also be used in those “oh ■■■■!” moments to revive team mates, collect COG tags etc if things go wrong. A Marksman doesn’t have the same damage resistance to fulfil that.

And for Escape, if I were to take into consideration all hives in a broad sense:

(1) Tactician (most hives have explosives, plus ammo drops are useful)
(2) Blademaster (needs no ammo, excellent melee abilities if riding the venom)
(3) Marksman (alot of hives have Longshots, and can clear rooms from long range including Scions and other heavies)
(4) Nomad - execution build (excellent crowd control abilities)
(5) Infiltrator (only 2 hives do not contain any shotguns at all. Tanky, high-damage output and can cloak. When solo-ing hives myself I found that I completed more with Infiltrator than any other class)

Note that mine are not in any particular order. It’s just a general top 5.


For Escape my top 5 is

  1. Nomad or BM (If I had to pick 1, I am picking Nomad but it’s so close for me)
  2. Brawler
  3. Anchor
  4. Infiltrator
  5. Marksman

For Horde it is much harder to judge since there are so many combinations to win. Also, this isn’t necessarily the 5-class composition I would use to win games.

  1. BM
  2. Infiltrator
  3. Marksman
  4. Pilot
  5. Veteran
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Just want to get in before a certain someone shows up lol.



Well I do find BM the best class overall considering all modes. I basically have it #1 in both regular horde and my escape list as well.

I do love the class personally. I love classes that don’t need anything in Horde or Escape.

To answer the original post for real I rank a class on the way I like to play the game.

  1. Blademaster. Love getting into enemies faces and also being sly and waiting for an enemy to come to me if I feel I am going to be downed if I take them head on.
  2. Brawler. Same as Blademaster, but sometimes play the ranged build in Horde and always the CQC build in Escape.
  3. Combat Medic. Just love this class. I just find it so satisfying using intervention or my ULT to save an entire team.
  4. Gunner. Hitting my ULT and standing out in the open and watching enemies health melt still has yet to get old. Extremely useful class in both Horde and Escape.

My list is always changing, so next time around I may have a different list of class altogether, but they are the ones I am havng fun with and really suit my type of play.


You and I have talked about this a few times but i still wanna discuss. For Horde I rate classes based on what they bring to the team, utility, and damage resistances/health gates/invincibility.

Escape : Tie between Nomad and Blademaster. They dominate every single hive. Most of them without even needing anything but melee, a few maps weapons make it easier like The Line. Both classes have very good survivability while also having very good crowd control.

Horde : Pilot, easily. Infinite range stuns on any enemy in the game + massive damage from the dropshot. Amazing survivability with Healing Explosives and Aggressive Armor combo. Cold Finish for killing bosses a bit quicker and stopping the Wakaatu. Bleeding Mulcher melts. SB is free invincibility for its duration and is also great cover, which is how I personally use the SB : if I need a panic button I use the SB for invincibility and I also use the SB that acts like a piece of cover and a decoy at the same time.

Also, I do appreciate the BM love in this post already. But I place BM at Number 3 in Horde.


Who would you place after those two in escape to round off your top 5?

Also, what are you running for your card stack in horde if you are also running aggressive armor for Pilot?

It depends on what you value. Ultimately, almost all classes are fantastic but some excel at survivability, damage, support in their own ways.

For example, If I were to do a 2-man Frenzy, I would say Anchor should always be on the team. In that context, I would say Anchor is the best class in the game.

But if you’re talking about in a five-player-setting in a 1-50, survivability is ultimately less important because one person going DBNO doesn’t turn into a huge risk of failure. In that context, outputting as much damage as possible to kill all the biggest threats ASAP becomes more sought after.

In a 5-player game, you’ll likely have barriers protecting your lower-health classes. Even though classes like Marksman or Demo have low natural bulk and survivability, barriers and other fortifications artificially inflate their survivability. Therefore, in a 5-man team setting in a standard 1-50, a class’s natural survivability becomes less relevant over time - especially if you have support classes on the team. It’s especially true for Marksman who can nuke the entire map in very short order, all while in 100% safety from death.

Another thing to value is cost-effectiveness. If you wanted to play the cheapest, most effective classes, you’d value classes like Infiltrator or Jack who really don’t need anything other than what they spawn with. If you say Blademaster is #1, Why should I pick Blademaster in Escape from Kadar when Striker has less cost investment, will always have stim to save me from the Pipe Locust, kills Matriarchs much easier and can be versatile as a Sniper to kill the Cryo locusts? In a 1-50 scenario however, money is in over-abundance and isn’t an issue. However, in a 1-50 if you value a high-damage, low-demanding class and a faster base setup, Infiltrator should top your list. Jack and Anchor can also unconditionally deposit early, not requiring a locker from the engineer.


If someone said Anchor was the best I wouldn’t disagree, the ammo requirements on some maps is part of my reason why I don’t think he’s the best.


  1. Nomad/Blademaster
  2. Anchor
  3. Brawler
  4. Infiltrator
  5. Tactician


  1. Pilot
  2. Anchor
  3. Blademaster
  4. Marksman
  5. I have a tough time with the 5th spot. Its either Gunner or Infiltrator

For Frenzy and 50 on Pilot I use
Aggressive Armor
Healing Explosives
The Hammer
Cold Finish
Bleeding Mulcher

I know on Boss Rush, Salvo and Mulcher SB is the play though. I take off Aggressive Armor on Boss Rush and put on Silverback Salvo. I dont usually play explosive classes in Boss Rush though, just BM, Infiltrator or Striker.

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I could be wrong on this but you aren’t going to have an easier time on EFK as 5 strikers versus 5 Blademasters. I could be wrong on that but I doubt it.

5 strikers you can probably just sit back and snipe the whole game and one shot every enemy the whole time besides the Matriarch.

Not what happened in my 5 striker game on Harbor. A big fat L on wave 10 is what happened.

In theory that should work but it will get to a point where there is just too many sires, retro lancers and not enough energy/protection.

Even as BM, I almost never get my perks that high. I usually have to settle for level 8 bleed. Maybe other people have better examples than I.

5 Striker on EFK sounds brutal. It was difficult as 5 BMs. It was back before I knew active embar made the drones drop the cryo cannon though.

I still haven’t done it but I haven’t tried in awhile. The embar trick is useful. Ross showed me it months ago. I don’t utilize it enough. It could be a game changer for that harbor challenge I want. Hard to say.

Maybe. The hardest thing about 5 strikers is that every Striker needs the ammo boxes - and ammo boxes are in limited supply.

With 5 Blademasters, you don’t need to have 5 Maces. And some can sit back with Brutal Claw, which is a card that’ll also boost your bleed so that you save a bit of money on the bleed perk if you wish. They don’t need ammo boxes for the Claw and no Mace.

Although I will concede and say that Blademasters ult gives such a boost to survivability and can get you out of situations where 5 Strikers would have wiped compared to 5 BM.

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Boss Rush actually would be a better comparison if you wanted to compare the two classes. I think a valid argument can be made in either direction. I don’t think it’s close at all in EFK but I don’t play that mode nearly enough to be 100% sure.

What’s your ranking(s) based on your values?

Are you wanting me to like post like my Tier List of my current feeling of how classes rank in a five-man 1-50? There are certainly serious arguments to made. All of the top classes are so good in 1-50 that I can’t really argue with somebody if there were to say like Gunner or Anchor was the best class.

I figured you would have 5 classes that instantly came to mind if asked the question in the original post. The goal for me Is to see everyone’s rankings based on their own values.