[Top 10] The Last of Us 2 Best Skills From Early To Late Game

The Last of Us 2 Best Skills
You're saying I'm not skilled enough?!

The Last of Us 2 is exhausting. I’m not saying it’s not a quality product – it most certainly is – but its realistic depiction of violence, prevalent in every single encounter and especially during some infamous cinematic scenes; may prove quite taxing for the player.

Though there is no real way for us to “shield” from viewing the game’s R-rated sections, there is more than one way to find comfort at least in the combat. Aside from being often unsettling, the confrontations against those semi-sentient infected (or against the trained soldiers), preserve their visual appeal all throughout.

But more importantly, they also provide an opportunity for the player to employ strategy. They are not exactly “RPG” in nature, but the list of unlockable upgrades does consist of some game-changing selections. So, it’s important to focus on the right ones first, given how limited resources are in this game.

Here are our top 10 picks for what to spend supplements on, with regards to when they become available during the course of the game.


10. Increased Health - Upgrade for Ellie

Even those who’ve beaten The Last of Us, won’t feel quite at home with the sequels’ combat. It is faster, more immediate, and more frenetic in many aspects. Careful, stealthy play is basically required from the start, all the more so on higher difficulties.

However, enemies will no doubt manage to surprise and overwhelm the player. And although is relatively easy to break free and create space, finding resources to craft health kits and actually heal – isn’t.

That’s why the option to increase Ellie’s maximum number of hit points is more than helpful. She can’t wear armor, but this upgrade will allow some leeway in terms of combat mistakes. 

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Available right from the start (unsurprising, because it’s basically mandatory)
  • Provides a dependable safety-net
  • Finding supplements to unlock it is not so difficult early on

Details about this upgrade:

  • Third upgrade in the basic “survival” skill tree
  • Increases Ellie’s health by 25%
  • Costs 60 supplements to unlock


9. Craft Melee Upgrades - a skill for Ellie

Melee weapons are godly in this game but come with a great caveat – extremely limited durability. They all have better range and damage than Ellie’s un-upgradable switchblade, but will also break rather too quickly (after 3-5 swings).

Given how useful they are, it is important to find a way to preserve them for longer, notably the ones we are more comfortable with. They will be hands-down our best choice when facing one enemy at a time, or when a runner decides to rush at us. Whatever the case, it’s the only way to efficiently kill enemies while preserving bullets.

Just be careful: do not deplete the last point of the durability of a melee weapon – upgrade it before it breaks.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Not only does it repair an almost broken weapon, but also makes it hit harder
  • Carrying an upgraded, mean-looking bladed weapon feels empowering and affects how confidently we play
  • The upgraded forms of two-handed melee weapons possess “one-strike-one-kill” capabilities

Details about this upgrade:

  • First available option in the “crafting” skill tree
  • Costs 20 supplements to unlock, and each time we upgrade a melee weapon, one “binding” resource and one “blade” resource will be spent


8. Craft Silencers - Upgrade for Ellie

Not being discovered by the enemy is as important in The Last of Us 2 as is in all stealth-focused video games. But silent weapons are not common at all: they are completely absent for a good chunk of the story.

Luckily, there’s the option to craft and attach silencers to the starting automatic pistol. It’s a skill learned only by uncovering a hidden manual, but with an obvious effectiveness. With it, headshots will down an enemy without alarming its comrades.

Not to mention how crucial being silent is amidst enemies who rely solely on hearing.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Broadens our strategic options in all the right ways
  • Increases the usage of an arguably weak weapon

Details about this upgrade:

  • Available as soon as we unlock the “stealth” skill tree
  • Costs 20 supplements to unlock, and each time we construct a silencer, one “rag” resource and one “canister” resource will be spent


7. Endure - Upgrade for Ellie

Even though she is physically the more fragile of the two playable characters, the game put Ellie in tougher scenarios overall. During such encounters, we’ll end up surrounded by many capable enemies, some of which can surprise and even kill her in one shot (or bite).

Therefore, it’s not at all shameful to equip ourselves with a “Plan B” option. This upgrade allows Ellie to sprint away after being lethally damaged (but not two times in a row), and re-think her life choices from a new perspective.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • “Second-wind” is preferable to reloading a saved game
  • Gives us free hands to experiment more

 Details about this upgrade:

  • Final upgrade of the “survival” skill tree
  • The official description reads: “Otherwise lethal damage will instead leave you at low health, giving you an opportunity to escape”
  • Costs 60 supplements to unlock


6. Improved Molotov - Upgrade for Ellie

What beats a second-life ability? Why, an ability that prevents losing your life in the first place, of course!

The Molotov is no laughing matter in its starting form, but upgrading it elevates it to something that even the priest from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” would consider equipping, any day of the week. It improves all aspects of an already powerful throwing weapon: more damage, bugger radius, and the fire it leaves on the ground also last longer.

One of the most powerful combos in the game (just as it was in the original title) is to throw a breakable bottle in the middle of the room, and as enemies cluster around it – BBQ time. Foes who are late to the party will usually walk straight through scorched earth, with dire consequences to their health.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Better justifies the game’s philosophy that first aid kits and Molotov are made from exactly the same materials
  • Missed throws will still cause a lot of trouble even for sane enemies, creating a sort of a “firewall of righteousness” they can’t pass

Details about this upgrade:

  • Third upgrade of the “explosives” skill tree
  • Increases flame radius by 50%
  • Costs only 40 supplements to unlock


5. Craft Shivs - Upgrade for Abby

Veterans from the first game will surely remember the “shiv”, a sharp mini-knife that Joel used for both offensive and defensive purposes, as well as for unlocking doors. Though Ellie was smart enough to equip an unbreakable switchblade in The Last of Us 2, the same can’t be said of Abby. She really seemed to have enjoyed playing the original.

So, when Abby is grabbed by a clicker (usually a death sentence), she can break free if she carries a shiv on her person. She can’t craft it while being grabbed though, so keep that in mind.

Shivs are also useful when she sneaks up on someone, as they can be buried deep in the soft tissue of the target, without breaking stealth. Good things all around!

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Shivs complement Abby’s playstyle well: unlike Ellie, she is more suited for close-quarters combat
  • A real lifesaver in the game’s more advanced stages

 Details about this upgrade:

  • The first upgrade of the “covert ops” skill tree
  • Two shivs are crafted at once
  • Costs only 20 supplements to unlock, but each shiv requires one “blade” and one “binding” resource


4. Listen Mode Movement Speed – Upgrade for Abby

Abby’s part of the game is a bit shorter than Ellie’s but is filled to the brim with tough encounters:Infected, Scars, two nightmarish bosses, even her own WLF comrades – the list of Abby’s adversaries grows with every step she takes.

To make things worse, these fights usually occur in multi-leveled buildings, where enemies can get the drop on you. Their patrol patterns are designed to do just that, more often than not.

Therefore, training Abby to move faster while eavesdropping is crucial, as she can more easily position herself while remaining unseen. This also opens more strategic options, just by being able to calmly observe whether you’ve lured that enemy away as intended.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • It feels like a natural character growth given the steady rise in difficulty at that point in the game
  • Makes outwitting those nasty Scars seem like less of a chore

Details about this upgrade:

  • Second upgrade of the “covert ops” skill tree
  • Increases movement speed while the listening mode is active by 50%
  • Costs 40 supplements to unlock


3. Craft Incendiary Shells – Upgrade for Abby

The devs secured that the two playable characters don’t feel like alternative skins of each other by secretly specializing them for different playstyles.  To put it bluntly, Ellie is the better tactician, while Abby is more of an “in your face” kind of girl.

So, while controlling Abby players may miss setting traps for the enemies or obscuring their vision with gas mines, they will surely find a lot of fun with her kit as well. Abby gets to the point – that’s her motto.

And what better way to express your disdain towards the enemies, but by shooting them not only with a shotgun – but with one that uses fire-spreading shells! Just wait for them to confidently cross the point of no return, and feed them a hellish soup of pellets.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Hands-down the best type of ammo in the game: every shot is almost effective as throwing a Molotov
  • Two shells are crafted each time, and they spread nicely over a wide area

Details about this upgrade:

  • The first upgrade of the “firearms” skill tree
  • Costs only 20 supplements to unlock, but each crafted bullet requires one “alcohol” and one “explosive” resource


2. Improved Pipe Bombs - Upgrade for Abby 

Staying through to her character, Abby’s own throwable concoction is a blast. While Ellie’s Molotov relies on inflicting a damage-over-time effect on foes, Abby’s pipe bombs end it all in one sentence. However, given the quantity and mobility enemies possess, the Molotov comes up on top with its innate tendency to spread all around.

So, the radius of the explosion is the issue with the pipe bombs, not their damage capability.  That’s why this upgrade is one of the best late-game choices: it strengthens an unremarkable part of her arsenal, just in time when it’s needed the most.

After this skill is unlocked, cornering enemies to their doom becomes way easier to pull off.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Pipe bombs seem relatively ineffective without it since they don’t leave a trail of fire like Molotov
  • The increased AoE will catch even enemies behind cover off-guard

Details about this upgrade:

  • Third upgrade of the “firearms” skill tree
  • Costs only 30 supplements to unlock
  • Increases the blast radius of pipe-bombs by 50%


1. Aim Stability Increase – Upgrade for Abby

After all, The Last of Us 2 is an action game that rewards good marksmanship. The fact that ammo is universally scarce throughout the whole game, is enough proof for that statement.

Silent weapons demand precise aiming even more because headshots are the only way to keep a dependable supply of arrows and bolts. The same can be said for the silencer as well: what’s the point of shooting an enemy silently in the leg, leaving it capable of alarming everyone in the vicinity?

Of course, the game will try its best to impede your efforts to chain headshots by giving enemies intersecting patrol routes, and even full body armor. Such annoyances demand that you change your approach in the final parts of the game – instead of sitting in a corner and preparing a shot, you’ll have to stealthily follow an enemy, and score a headshot while you’re both in motion.

This upgrade helps with a Rambo-like (or John Wick-like) playstyle as well, as long as you keep up efficiently hammering that trigger.

What’s great about this upgrade:

  • Affects the activity you perform almost 100% of the time: aiming and shooting with a weapon
  • Abby can install a scope on three of her weapons, and this upgrade works well in conjunction with them
  • With the Crossbow and this skill unlocked, it is theoretically possible to kill dozens of enemies with a single bolt – just procure it from your defeated foes

Details about this upgrade:

  • Third upgrade of the “close quarters” skill tree
  • Costs only 20 supplements to unlock
  • Improves both aim stability and accuracy while moving by 100%


Do you agree with our list? What upgrade path did you choose in your playthrough? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Being born and raised in the Balkans, Konstantin has always felt comfortable doing activities like frenzying around Tristram, meleeing on Pandora, or virtuously slaying Silver Knights in Lordran.
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Ghost of Tsushima, Minute of Islands, Diablo 3: RoS
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Borderlands 2, Fallout: New Vegas

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