Limited Use SkillsEdit

The following skills are generally avoided in skill builds. Their benefit is often questionable; the skills are either too situational or too costly to justify their use. This list should not be seen as a list of skills that should never be used. Instead, it merely denotes that these skills should be considered carefully before being purchased.


  • Stockholm Syndrome: Having an extensive set of requirements (getting downed in a location near untied hostages, while usually you keep them out of the firing range) makes triggering of this costly skill a rare occurrence. The benefits of the ace version are considered even worse, giving less than a full magazine of ammunition for 8 points in previously mentioned rare occurrences.
  • Pistol Messiah: Allows the user to instantly get back up from bleedout if a kill from a pistol is scored. While the pros stand out from the other skill perks, the cons may outweigh the benefits. Not only the user is restricted in using a weapon with a lower rate of fire, but the skill is rendered useless upon being fully incapacitated by a Cloaker or from a Taser. On harder difficulties, swarms of enemies can easily overwhelm a player before they can even use their pistol. Another awkward situation is being incapacitated with no enemies present or there is no more ammo for the skill to be used.


  • Tough Guy: Reduces your camera shake by 50%, and the aced version increases your little bleedout health by 25%. The chance of this additional health keeping you active for much longer is questionable, and the camera shaking less when shot at is virtually useless unless you're sniping in open areas close the main battlefield, and even then it still has little worth.
  • Transporter (Aced): Allows the user to throw bags 50% further. This skill is very limited to throwing bags at loot vehicles to decrease the time needed to transport the bags, or throwing one (mission critical valuables especially) while incapacitated to allow a teammate to carry it. On occasion however, it may help in stealth heists in discarding body bags to avoid detection from security guards (and civilians).
  • Hard Boiled: An upper tier skill that actively makes shotguns worse, reducing the possibility of hitting multiple targets, while not increasing accuracy.
  • Overkill Aced: Allows for a 5 second damage to non-shotgun/saw provided you make a kill with aforementioned. Considering at least one of your weapons is a saw/shotgun already, this makes it of use to the remaining weapon. However, it takes time switching weapons, especially now that fast weapon switching changed from a Ghost Tier bonus to one single perkdeck only, lowering effectiveness more, and making the effective use less than if you kept continuing the saw/shotgun on the basic bonus. Very cumbersome-to-use bonus for 8 skill points.


  • Silent Drilling Aced: The basic version of this skill already reduces the noise radius to the point where guards almost have to be able to see the drill. It is thus usually considered enough with the ace upgrade being a costly (8) upgrade without any significant advantages to it. Note also that noisy drilling has specific tactical benefits, notably on Diamond Store. An "unsilenced" drill can be used to lure security guards to a location where heisters can silently dispatch/dominate them without alerting civilians/other guards. Another fact to consider is if all civilians and guards have been taken care of in stealth or the heist has gone loud, this skill is rendered useless.
  • Hardware Expert (aced): While deploying the Sentry Gun at a 50% increased rate is beneficial, the chance for drills and saws to auto-restart is questionable at best. It only has a 30% chance, making it unreliable, and Drill Sawgeant reduces the drilling/sawing time, including the times needed to restart the devices. The auto-restart benefit is only good if heisters are too occupied or far away from a jammed drill/saw. Unless there are too many enemies, it is always better to manually restart the drill/saw if Nerves of Steel has been obtained. Finally, a fully upgraded Technician build can use Shaped Charge to quickly breach certain doors/safes at a much faster rate if available, eliminating the usage of drills.
  • Mag Plus: Having a larger clip without additional ammo isn't a huge boon, and generally frowned upon (see also OVE9000 upgrade before it got bonus ammo), made worse by requiring a massive 4/12 point investment for a non-bonus.


  • Dead Presidents:  Allows the player to receive a 10% to 30% bonus on loose items. Four Stores is the only heist in which the skill perk can contribute to the goal in obtaining $15,000. Elsewhere, players that just became infamous (or are newcomers) may "purchase" Dead Presidents to receive more money. However, some heists do not feature loose items of value at any point and typically, the completion of a heist alone will reward more money.
  • Shinobi Aced/Hidden Blade Aced: These two skills have the same Aced effect, therefore picking one eliminates the need for the other. Hidden Blade is easier accessible and a common way to achieve tier 2 of Fugitive (with the other tier 1 skills being less useful), however Shinobi is similarly the best skill of its tier in the Ghost tree so where to put the points becomes build-dependent.
  • Lockpicking Expert: An expensive skill to acquire due to the investment in the Ghost tree, Lockpicking Expert is of dubious value. On higher difficulties, safes will too often be Titan safes (which cannot be picked) and whenever there is a significant amount of lockpicking to do a saw is often a better option. Potentially of value when running solo stealth or using a dodge build on certain heists (for example, Hoxton Breakout Day 1).
  • ECM Overdrive Aced: Allows opening certain security doors. In many cases these doors can be opened with keycards, so it may be more efficient to simply get one of those and in many other cases ECM Overdrive cannot be used (for example, the cages in Election Day Day 2). Very valuable for certain stealth heists however, many good stealth builds will include this skill (if only for lack of alternatives for stealth).
  • ECM Specialist Aced: Delays pagers from going off. Given that the pagers of all guards killed during the ECM will sound simultaneously, the value of this skill is variable. In short, it is only useful when the number of guards is equal to or less than the number of players present. Very useful on heists such as Bank Heist or Diamond Store with a full crew. Entirely useless solo.
  • ECM Feedback: Creates feedback loop that can incapacitate enemies. This skill is always counterproductive in stealth heists as affected security guards and civilians (that are not dominated or tied down) will be alerted and call the authorities. Furthermore, the feedback will not stop their pagers nor cell phones. As such, it has no use in said heists. Its primary strength is in pro jobs should the heist go loud and reaching the escape point is too hard to reach due to numerous enemies. However, Cloakers and Captain Winters are immune to the feedback loop, (further) reducing the effectiveness of this skill.
  • Camera Loop: Allows unsuspicious temporary deactivation of cameras without using an ECM. Has some use when transporting heavy loot in front of cameras in which they cannot be destroyed and/or the operator cannot be targeted. Largely useless unless playing Death Wish difficulty and even then more of a novelty, very few heists encourage moving high detection risk team-mates past security cameras. Acing the skill is questionable, as players will have to wait LONGER for the loop duration to expire and target another camera. Noteworthy, once after the security guard monitoring the cameras is either killed or dominated, the skill becomes useless. Can be of specific use when attempting to stealth heists such as Bank Heist and Nightclub, or when a (titan) camera spawns right outside the security room that needs to be lockpicked.
  • Moving Target: By the community considered the most useless skill in Payday 2, sprinting while moving sideways or backwards is of limited effectiveness because the AI is less hindered by this than a human opponent would be. Skilled circle-strafers may find that they benefit from the potential to use the dodge chance from Sprinter (25%) - however this is not much more than simply crouching with Duck and Cover aced (15%), an option which requires fewer skill points and is very accessible.


  • Shinobi Aced/Hidden Blade Aced: These two skills have the same Aced effect, therefore picking one eliminates the need for the other. Hidden Blade is easier accessible and a common way to achieve tier 2 of Fugitive (with the other tier 1 skills being less useful), however Shinobi is similarly the best skill of its tier in the Ghost tree so where to put the points becomes build-dependent.
  • Daredevil: Improvements to ladder climbing and ziplining are of very limited benefits, especially the latter. Its uses are situational at best, and bonuses very minor. Arguably only of real benefit on Big Bank or White Xmas and perhaps Shadow Raid (for the ladder climb speed).
  • Sixth Sense Aced: Allows you to pick up keycards during casing, which is only really of use in Big Bank or Bank Heist and then only in specific spawn-situations. However the value of the skill for Bank Heists, especially for the level it can be obtained (as low as 9) is fantastic as it will make it much easier for players to complete the heist solo and in stealth on difficulties up to and including Overkill. Has been further nerfed in usefulness when Bank Heists got pre-planning, allowing a fixed keycard to appear easily accessible to the player.
  • Brother's Keeper: Decreases damage from thugs (who generally do more damage than cops). However, its use is limited to a very few heists which spawn thugs and in all those instances only the initial spawns, being quickly replaced by law enforcer opponents.
  • Undertaker: Unlocks a deployable which serves only to save Pre-planning favours, completely useless in Loud heists. Of some value on Shadow Raid and GO Bank.
Gameplay • Heists • Skills • Weapons & Equipment • DLC

Access Skills UseEdit

(See below commentaries for why this section exists) For discussion purposes, a quick write-up of the value of various "access skills", high level skills used (usually in conjunction with equipment) to open doors, safes or lockboxes. This to see if high-tier Ghost skills being listed as 'limited use' is just a feeling, or supportable with facts.

Entries in the table are fairly subjective and based upon the following four categories :

  • Useless - skill/tool is of no use on the associated heist (Useless* has been applied to loud options on Shadow Raid for what I hope are obvious reasons)
  • Poor - skill/tool is of use but provides minimal benefit
  • Okay - skill/tool provides some benefit
  • Good - skill/tool provides significant benefits but is not related to heist objectives and/or replaceable by other means
  • Excellent - skill/tool is very useful for completing the objectives of the heist

N.B. For simplicity this table doesn't (yet?) include specific dissection of the pros/cons of each option for stealth or loud runs and doesn't discuss specific pros/cons with regard to Deathwish difficulty. Instead the table is meant to include a certain amount of weighting to incorporate these aspects, notably the ability to maintain stealth (For jemjar). Discuss it in the comments section.

Hassat / Jemjar
Heist ECM Overdrive Lockpicking Expert Shaped Charges Circular Saws
Bank Heist G / G P / O P / O E / G
Big Oil G / E P / P G / O G / G
Diamond Store U / U U / P U / P U / P
Election Day U / P U / P U / P P / O
Firestarter G / G P / O G / G G / G
Four Stores U / U G / P G / O P / O
Framing Frame G / G U / P P / P G / G
GO Bank U / U P / G U / U E / E
Jewelry Store U / U P / P P / U U / U
Mallcrasher U / U P / P P / P G / G
Nightclub G / E P / G G / G P / O
Rats U / U P / O P / O U / U
Shadow Raid U / U U / P U / U* U / U*
Ukrainian Job U / U O / G E / G U / U
Watchdogs U / U U / P U / O P / P
Big Bank G / G P / O P / O G / G
Hotline Miami U / U U / P P / O P / O
Transport U / U P / G E / G E / E
Hoxton Breakout O / O P / P G / G P / O
White Xmas U / U U / U O / P U / U
Train U / G? U / U U / U U / U
The Diamond U / U? P / P? P / O? P / P?
The Bomb: Dockyard  ? / U?  ? / P?  ? / P?  ? / P?
The Bomb: Forest  ? / ?  ? / ?  ? / ?  ? / ?

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