This article is about the list of skills in general. For hints on using skills and example builds, see Builds.
Skills in PAYDAY 2 are divided among four skill trees: Mastermind, Enforcer, Technician, and Ghost. For each class, there are six tiers: Tier 1 is unlocked by spending 1 skill point on its parent class, Tier 2 is unlocked by spending 5, Tier 3 by spending 10, Tier 4 by spending 20, Tier 5 by spending 30, and Tier 6 by spending 40. 1 skill point is given each time the player gains a Reputation level, plus an additional 2 points at every level divisible by 10 (meaning that instead of just 1 skill point, 3 skill points will be granted at levels 10, 20, 30, 40 etc). Thus, once the player reaches the maximum Reputation level of 100, the player will have a total of 120 skill points.
Because the total skill points needed to unlock Basic and Ace for every skill in a tree totals 145 points, it is impossible to Ace every skill in even a single tree (and furthermore, there are four separate trees in total). Because of this, it is advisable to only spend points on specific skills you truly need and want, and to spread skill points over multiple trees if necessary. In fact, each skill tree has highly desirable utility skills in Tier 1 that only require a handful of skill points to obtain, thus it is expedient to obtain many of these low Tier entry-level skills. Planning your build can be done with either skills calculator or skills, perks, and weapon calculator.
For each tier, there are three skills. Each skill, after the Basic is obtained, can be Aced for further benefit. Skills in tiers 1 to 3 cost one skill point to unlock Basic and three skill points to Ace, whereas skills in tiers 4 to 6 cost four skill points to unlock Basic and eight skill points to Ace.
Party bonuses do not stack with the identical bonus coming from other players in the party that have the identical skill (thus it is somewhat sub-optimal for multiple players to get the same party-benefit skills, if you always play with the same team of players).
All other bonuses stack, unless stated otherwise, including bonuses from Basic and Aced versions of the skill.
As of the CrimeFest Update 39, the skill tier bonuses have been removed from the game, being replaced by the Perk Decks system which works in a similar way, but limits the player's access to beneficial bonuses as to encourage calculated character building. Most of the tier bonuses have been revised into Perks, but some are removed entirely.
The Mastermind is a manipulative leader who excels in situational control.
Spending the first point in the Mastermind skill tree unlocks the ability to place the doctor bag deployable. The doctor bag can be used to regain health and reset the bleedout counter. The doctor bag has 2 charges in its basic state.
Special enemies marked by you take 15% additional damage.
Ace (3 pt):
Unlocks the Spotter asset in the Job Overview menu. During stealth, the Spotter will highlight guards for you and your crew. If stealth is not an option, the Spotter will highlight special enemies for you and your crew.
You can convert a non-special enemy to fight on your side. This cannot be done during stealth and the enemy must have surrendered in order for you to convert it. You can only convert one non-special enemy at a time.
Ace (8 pt):
The converted enemy gains 55% more health and deals 45% more damage. The time to convert an enemy is reduced by 65%.
Upgrades your trip mines with a sensor mode, highlighting enemies that walk past. During stealth, the trip mines will highlight guards and special enemies for you and your crew. If stealth is not an option, the trip mines will highlight special enemies for you and your crew.
The Ghost is a stealth artist, capable of grand theft without force or violence.
Spending the first point in the Ghost skill tree unlocks the ability to use the electronic countermeasure equipment, also known as the ECM jammer. When used, the ECM jammer can open ATM machines and temporarily cancel out electronic devices such as cell phones and cameras.
1 ECM jammer is added to your inventory. An ECM jammer lasts 20 seconds.
You can now interact with ECM jammers to cause a feedback loop. When interacted, the ECM jammer has a 50%-100% chance to incapacitate enemies within a 25 meters radius every 1.5 seconds. ECM feedback lasts 15-20 seconds.
Ace (8 pt):
You will now instantly interact with a ECM jammer and the ECM feedback duration is increased by 25%. Your ECM jammer has a 100% chance every 4 minutes to recharge itself.
www.pd2skills.info offers a skill calculator that is useful for planning out skill progression, and was endorsed by Overkill. It also offers a beta version for planning skills with infamy levels.
With the Death Wish update, the value of durability-increasing skills like Iron Man, Bulletproof and Sprinter Ace are increased, helping to prolong survivability on Death Wish difficulty.
The Ace effects of Mag Plus does not apply to Sniper Rifles, the Bronco .44 and the Mosconi 12G, for balancing issues in the case of the former and technical reasons in the latter two (e.g. the Mosconi has only two barrels, adding an extra round would prove unrealistic). The durability of Saw blades are also not affected by this skill, despite having a numeric "ammo" count.
The full changes of the skills and introduction of perks in Update 39 can be read here.