[Top 10] RDO Best Builds for PvP

Red Dead Online best PvP Builds

The world of Red Dead Online can be an unforgiving place. As you explore and compete in Rockstar’s beautifully created version of the Wild West you’re going to need more than just grit and determination to survive. The right ability card loadout can be the difference between seeing your player on the winner’s podium or forgotten to the history books. Below are our top ten Red Dead Online ability card builds for PvP.

10. The "Marksman"

I seeeeeeee youuuuuu

Whether you’re providing overwatch for your posse or playing lone-wolf, a sniper can drastically change the landscape of a battle. Here are the cards we recommend if you want to show how far the long arm of the law, or those who break it, can reach.  

  • Dead Eye: Slippery Bastard – This card prevents enemies from being able to lock on to you, giving you more time to line up the perfect shot.  
  • 1st Passive: Sharpshooter – Ideal for long range, while using a scope you deal more and receive less damage. 
  • 2nd Passive: Landon’s Patience – Waiting between shots increases your damage. Patience is a virtue, and in this case, a killer. 
  • 3rd Passive: Peak Condition – Sprinting uses less stamina, and you deal more damage depending on your current stamina level. If you’re staying behind cover each shot will be more deadly, and less stamina drain will help you get out of Dodge if you’re discovered. 
  • Weapon of choice: Carcano Rifle – The fast firing rate and six round capacity gives this rifle an edge over the Rolling Block Rifle and should give you an edge over anyone who ends up in your sights.

9. The "Skirmisher"

Up close and personal.

The fast-paced action of RDO gives the player plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal. Whether you’re protecting a wagon or robbing one, here’s some ability cards you’ll want whenever you’re riding shotgun. 

  • Dead Eye: Slippery Bastard – This card works well for a short range build too, preventing the enemy you’re charging from getting a quick lock on you. Your reticle won’t snap on to them either, but that’s the beauty of a shotgun; with buckshot you don’t need a bullseye. 
  • 1st Passive: The Short Game – An easy choice for shotgun wielders, this ability increases your damage to closer targets while decreasing damage to distant ones. 
  • 2nd Passive: Come Back Stronger – Shortens cooldown before your damage autoheals. 
  • 3rd Passive: Iron Lung – Your stamina regenerates faster and you take less damage depending on your stamina level. 
  • Weapon of choice: Semi-auto Shotgun – Power and speed are combined with this fast shooting room clearer. This is a great choice for crowd-control and short range combat against multiple targets.

8. The "Gunslinger"

Pew pew.

Pistols and revolvers are about as iconic as the Wild West gets, and RDO gives you plenty of options to dual-wield your way to victory. With a good ability card loadout and the right weapons you can become a mobile powerhouse.

  • Dead Eye: Paint It Black – While Dead Eye is active you can paint targets onto enemies. Fire your weapon to shoot all marked targets. This card is fantastic for quick shootouts and the “run and gun” playstyle. 
  • 1st Passive: Gunslinger’s Choice – As the name implies this card is an essential part of this build, increasing damage done and accuracy while dual-wielding.
  • 2nd Passive: Winning Streak – Coupled with Paint It Black this ability turns you into a formidable leadslinger, increasing damage with each consecutive shot.
  • 3rd Passive: The Unblinking Eye – Dead Eye and Eagle Eye gauge drains slower. The strengths of this build lie in being able to get shots downrange quickly using your Dead Eye ability, so the more time you have to paint targets the better. 
  • Weapons of choice: Schofield Revolvers – With these ability cards you have some flexibility in firearm selection. Want a Volcanic pistol in one hand and a Mauser in the other to combine speed and firepower? Go for it. I personally go with double Schofields. The high accuracy and damage output with the extra perks applied by these ability cards will make you forget you have rifles and repeaters altogether.

7. The "Middle Man"

Not to be confused with that "Malcom" kid.

This is probably the most versatile build yet. Centered around using a repeater, it’s great for mid-range firefights, popping off shots from behind cover or even the classic “run and gun” technique. 

  • Dead Eye: Paint It Black – This card is fantastic with repeaters, as it can help you make up for having less power than a bolt-action or sniper rifle by putting multiple shots on a target quickly. 
  • 1st Passive: - Winning Streak – Another great card to pair with Paint It Black to maximize the damage of every shot. 
  • 2nd Passive: Eye For An Eye – Each headshot restores some of your Dead Eye gauge. It’s tough to get accurate shots on the run sometimes. Paint It Black helps significantly, and painting an enemy’s head reaps even more rewards now than just increasing your kill count. 
  • 3rd Passive: Fool Me Once – This is helpful for staying alive while on the move, as every consecutive time you are shot you take less damage. This effect ends if you are not shot for 10 seconds, which in most RDO PvP games, is an eternity. 
  • Weapon of choice: Litchfield Repeater – Powerful and with a high rate of fire, this is arguably the best repeater you can get in RDO, especially when coupled with special ammo types.

6. The "Horseman"

First name: Bojack

Your trusty steed is more than just a way to get around in RDO. Your horse is a valuable companion and having the right loadout for horse combat can keep you from being left in the dust. 

  • Dead Eye: Paint It Black – This card is featured often for good reason. Time is of the essence when racing through PvP courses and being able to get multiple shots off without aiming for an extended period of time is essential. 
  • 1st Passive: Horseman – Increases damage dealt to enemies while riding your horse. 
  • 2nd Passive: Ride Like The Wind – Whenever you take or deal damage while mounted a portion of it is added to your horse’s health and stamina. 
  • 3rd Passive: Friends For Life – While mounted, you and your horse take less damage. 
  • Weapon of choice: This loadout doesn’t particularly favor any specific weapon. I prefer the Litchfield Repeater or dual-wielding Schofield Revolvers. Experiment with what fits your playstyle.

5. The "Team Player"

Color coordination is optional.

Many of the PvP game modes in Red Dead Online feature teams competing to achieve objectives, or just be the last team standing. This loadout will help your posse bring home the gold. 

  • Dead Eye: Quite An Inspiration – While Dead Eye is active you and your allies regenerate health. This effect doesn’t stack with other posse members who have it active at the same time.
  • 1st Passive: Take The Pain Away – Reviving a player gives them and you a defense boost for eight seconds. 
  • 2nd Passive: Strength In Numbers – You take less damage for every nearby ally, up to a maximum of three allies. 
  • 3rd Passive: Live For The Fight – You regenerate Dead Eye slowly over time. I like to use this to help keep my Dead Eye meter full to maximize the healing benefits of Quite An Inspiration. 
  • Weapon of choice: Whatever fits your play style! Being mobile and choosing mid to close range weapons is beneficial since you’ll be wanting to revive your teammates whenever possible to get the defense boost with Take The Pain Away.

4. The "Berserker"

I don't think that's ketchup.

There are two types of players in RDO; those who have been tackled by an enemy and killed with a melee weapon and those who will be killed that way soon. While this technique isn’t exactly the best for most game types, it can be useful when playing objective games where you have to run in the open or through a chaotic battlefield. 

  • Dead Eye: Slippery Bastard – You’ll rely on closing the distance between you and an enemy quickly, and if they can’t get an easy lock on you that’ll make your life, and their death, that much easier. Plus if you’re tackling your opponent this helps keep you safe from other players while you’re scrapping with your subdued foe. 
  • 1st Passive: Of Single Purpose – Take less damage while using melee weapons or while unarmed. 
  • 2nd Passive: Fight Another Day – Since you need to be sprinting and charging your enemies this card is very handy, as it reduces the damage you take while sprinting. 
  • 3rd Passive: Iron Lung or Cold Blooded – Iron Lung regenerates your stamina faster and reduces damage taken depending on how full your stamina is, or alternatively you could use Cold Blooded, which heals you for five seconds after a kill. Unless you get the drop on the bad guy you’re charging, you’ll likely need the heals after closing in for the kill. 
  • Weapon of choice: When it comes to melee weapons I find it easier to perform tackle kills with a knife than a hatchet or tomahawk, as many of these scuffles result in both players getting back up and the knife can quickly dispatch them faster than a hatchet.

3. The "Tank"

Probably one of Tony Stark's ancestors.

RDO matches can have dozens of bullets whizzing through the air at any given time. Eventually you’re bound to catch one. Use this build to avoid becoming Swiss cheese. 

  • Dead Eye: Slow And Steady – While Dead Eye is active you take less damage and headshots won’t kill you outright. It comes at the cost of not being able to run or sprint while it’s active, so tread carefully. 
  • 1st Passive: Iron Lung – Tanks focus more on firepower than speed, and having that extra stamina available gives you a boost to damage defense with this ability card. 
  • 2nd Passive: Never Without One – Hats will block a single headshot, but if you lose your hat you’ll take extra damage. 
  • 3rd Passive: Fool Me Once – You’re going to take some hits, this card makes each consecutive shot hurt a bit less. 
  • Weapon of choice: I like dual-wielding with this build, either double Schofield Revolvers or one Schofield and a Volcanic Pistol to pack a little extra punch. As with any build, tonics play a big role in keeping you alive, and being stocked before going into battle with this loadout especially is key.

2. The "Bowmaster"

My favorite stringed instrument.

The only weapon as iconic as the revolver in the Wild West was the bow. This is the build for anyone who wants to use this ancient weapon to make their enemies ancient history. 

  • Dead Eye: Slippery Bastard – Once again the best card to make yourself much harder to hit. 
  • 1st Passive: Landon’s Patience – The bow has a slower rate of fire than most weapons, so use that time in between shots to gain a bigger damage bonus. 
  • 2nd Passive: Fool Me Once – You’re tougher to hit because of Slippery Bastard, but if you do get shot, this’ll make each bullet do less damage. 
  • 3rd Passive: The Unblinking Eye – Dead Eye draining slower means less enemies are able to easily hit you while you take aim. 
  • Weapon of choice: The bow is only half of your weapon, selecting the right special arrows for the situation is key. Whether you’re using improved arrows, poison arrows or even blasting through the competition with dynamite arrows, this ability card loadout will be sure to help you make a statement.

1. The "Solo Artist"

You don't take her out, she takes you out.

Oftentimes in the harsh world of RDO you can only count on yourself. This is a good general purpose loadout for when it’s every man or woman for themselves. 

  • Dead Eye: Paint It Black – Regardless of the weapon you’re using this makes it easy to get shots on your target. 
  • 1st Passive: Fool Me Once – Having no team can leave you exposed to gunfire from every angle. Having subsequent hits deal less damage to you may be the difference between being king of the hill or being buried under it. 
  • 2nd Passive: Kick In The Butt – Whenever you inevitably receive damage, a portion of it is returned to your Dead Eye meter. 
  • 3rd Passive: Come Back Stronger – Every player for themselves games are hectic, rarely leaving you time to consume tonics before getting flanked by an enemy. Having a shorter cooldown before you start automatically healing may be the advantage you need to survive. 
  • Weapon of choice: Any! Red Dead Online offers a plethora of weapons, abilities and tools that the player is free to mix and match to find the perfect combo for their playstyle. Take some of the loadouts we provided here and tweak them to find that perfect fit for you!

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This Florida man keeps out of local news and likes third person views. Justin is as comfortable navigating swamps as he is exploring the open world of Tamriel.
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: RPG
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