Dishonored 2 gives you something that other stealth action games like Deus Ex and Thief don’t: bona fide superpowers that can bend reality to your whim. Whether you choose to slink through Karnaca as Emily Kaldwin or Corvo Attano, you’ll have access to a unique subset of supernatural abilities that can totally shape what you’re capable of, and all the crafty ways you can dispose of, incapacitate, or bypass your enemies. But you don’t get access to all those powers right away, because you need to unlock them with Runes you find scattered throughout the environments. And because there are only so many Runes lying around (and not all of them are easy to find), you need to start planning early which powers you want in your repertoire. 

This guide is here to help you with that process. Having played as both Emily and Corvo, I’ve narrowed down which powers you’ll want to prioritize, and how they’ll enhance your preferred playstyle. Dishonored 2 is a game that bears replaying to see all the permutations of the ways your choices affect the world, so you’ll probably end up doing some power experimentation of your own. But for your first time through, these space-and-time-warping skills are practically essential.

General purpose powers

Emily and Corvo share the same set of Enhancements, passive boons that sound subtle but can totally inform your playstyle. I highly recommend:

Agility: Getting a higher vantage point is always advantageous, whether you plan on knocking out a room full of guards, or getting the throat-slicing jump on a high-priority target to kick off a murderous ruckus. With the increase jump height of Agility, you’ll find it much, much easier to traverse the very vertical level layouts, letting you vault up to rooftops that were once out of reach. Sure, you could use Blink/Far Reach to access most heights, but being able to sneakily hop up to a ledge – instead of clumsily missing it and falling into a surprised NPC – smooths out your exploration and your preparedness all in one. The extra oomph of a double jump also makes it much easier to land on your targets with pinpoint precision for a quick kill/knockout.

Bonecharm Crafting: This is the ultimate in delayed gratification. Skilling up Bonecraft Charming is an excellent way to further tune your playstyle, and Trait Synergy turns the incremental buffs of Bonecharms into significant advantages once you start stacking your favorite effects. And though it’s very costly to access, acquiring Craft Runes is your best chance at expanding your suite of powers beyond the normal limits, as you’ll be able to convert your Bonecharms into Runes that open up even more powers. Skilling up Trait Synergy also removes the need to unlock additional Bonecharm slots until later, as you can effectively jam two Bonecharms into one to save on space. You might feel a little less powerful early on, but Bonecharm Crafting is a long-term investment that’s essential for mastering more powers and upgrades later on.

Shadow Kill: If you’ve no qualms with snuffing out your enemies, but still want to err on the side of stealth, Shadow Kill will save you a lot of time and level-wide alerts. Corpses will turn to ash once you’ve slain an unaware target, so you don’t have to lug their body to a hiding spot lest passersby see the remains of your murderous work. This can still be useful on a Low Chaos run: killing a handful of guards along the way doesn’t immediately send Karnaca into turmoil, even if it does weigh somewhat on your conscience. Be aware that the two upgrades to this Power – which turn all kills into ash, or turn bodies into bloodfly swarms – aren’t very conducive to stealth, so sneaky assassins should be fine with just the base power.

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