There is a lot of different things to consider when it comes to competitive games. One game that many seem to think is based on teamwork and luck is Dead by Daylight, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Out of everything I will go over in this breakdown, the main two rules to keep in mind is this: a player is in control of their ability to level up while the team is in control of the ability to escape in a game. What this means is simply that there are lots of ways to earn points for your personal gain, but it requires proper teamwork to actually escape.
Disclaimer - I will be using terms that are either common in the community or simply the nickname I have given it. Each of these terms will be explained with context when used.
Hook Juggling and Save Timing
Probably the worst issue I see the most is the hook juggle. This is when a survivor gets hooked and the fellow survivors focus more on getting them off safely than they do working on the generators and totems. The reason this isn’t a good idea is that you can use the time of them on the hook against the killer. A killer is going to expect survivors to go for the save shortly after they are put on the hook and so will do one of two things:
1) Proxy camp the area around the survivor awaiting the hero.
2) Quickly leave the area in order to get a token for a perk their using, such as Devour Hope or Make Your Choice.
Use this opportunity to your advantage instead of just going for the survivor. If you aren’t close, don’t go for the save because chances are somebody closer will be. If you are close, observe the situation and see what your options are. If they are proxy camping, then find the best moment and get the save in which you two need to run in different directions. This will let you know if the killer will tunnel (focus on) the already hooked survivor or go for a new victim. If they quickly left the area, then use as much time as possible to work on the generator closest to the hooked survivor or take out a nearby totem, hexed or not.
Remember, there are three stages to the hook: first hook, struggle stage, and death hook. You don’t need to get the save until just before the next stage is going to start so that they can still be hooked the second time. Unhooking them immediately just lets the killer get their point and start heading your way thanks to the notification leaving you to their mercy once again.
The main point to all of this is simply the fact that if you spend all your time saving and healing each other, then no generators will be completed and nobody will escape nor earn points. It’s okay to be in the injured state and work on objectives, so be more strategic with your moves. Get a generator to 95% completion before healing your teammate so that they can get healed just before the killer gets a notification. Take out the hexed totem before going for the heal so that it doesn’t affect your teammates more. These small changes give you a push to escaping while boosting the number of points you earned in the game.
The Face Camping Killer
There are a few ways to handle this, but let’s begin with the idea that you do not have Borrowed Time. The main thing to keep in mind is that they can grab you, injured or not, while you are unhooking a survivor which will only get you hooked and not save anybody. So, lets put some scenarios together:
1) Generators still need to be completed.
In this scenario, you need to eat up as much time as possible. If the killer is going to stand still on the hooked survivor, then use as much time as possible to get at least one generator done. Use the different hook phases to your advantage. If timed well, you will only have to save the survivor once. If you can get it to where all that’s left is opening the gate, then this will increase your chance of saving that survivor - or at least giving the killer the least amount of kills in the game.
2) Gate needs to be opened and killer is face camping the hook close to the door
This is where the survivor juggle comes into place. Since they can grab you right off the door and while you are unhooking the survivor, all standing survivors need to focus on the door before going for the save. That door being opened is the most important aspect to anybody getting out, let alone the hooked survivor. Get as much of the door open progress done before the killer can grab you and then run off to let the short chase begin or killer circle back. While they are busy with you, the next survivor can make some more progress on the door. Even if this is done slowly, with proper timing and dodging, you can get the door open.
Now, how do you get the survivor off the hook if he can just grab you? Animation abuse is the answer. When the killer swings and misses there is a short cooldown, but if they land a hit the cooldown is long enough for a full unhook process. Don’t be afraid to be injured at the end of the game, as long as the door is open you will get out. It is the duty of healthy survivors to take the hit from the killer so that the injured survivors don’t get put back in the dying state.
Take a hit and then immediately start unhooking the survivor. During this process, another healthy survivor needs to push their way in and take the next hit that will come. Once all three are injured, head for the door. If you have a fourth and healthy survivor, they should be in the back of the pack so that the next hit can once again be useless to the killer.
The only exception to this rule is if the killer has NOED (No One Escapes Death Hex Perk), which shouldn’t be able to activate because you took out every dull totem you saw during the game, right?
Know the Perks and How to Counter Them
This section will be short because it is pretty self-explanatory. It is best to know the different perks that killers can use and know how to counter them. Whether it is with a perk you happen to have or just understanding if they have Nurse’s Calling, Bitter Murmur, BBQ and Chili, or whatever the case may be. Call it out to your teammates and then counter it with the simple moves - don’t heal unless necessary, hide in lockers just before a survivor is hooked, so on.
No, not every perk can be countered, but simply knowing they have it means you can keep track of what the killer has. If you know they have two hex perks, sloppy butcher, and bitter murmur then you know they don’t have anything else. You can adjust your choices to best counter what you know they have.
Understand the Killer
Every killer has a different way to be challenged against. This fact is why literally every time a new killer is released the community calls for a nerf which is followed a month later by “oh, just do this.” It is well known that all killers have a way to be versed best and understanding how to face the different killers is important. Here’s a short explanation list without details:
The Hag - crouch when approaching gens, totems, and hooked survivors
The Clown - hang out at a pallet when he throws his smoke bomb
The Pig - pay attention to your surroundings and use T-walls to your advantage
The Cannibal - tightly hug a rock or large tree when he revs his chainsaw, forcing him to hit the wall
The Hillbilly - swerve through trees when he revs his chainsaw
The Trapper - disarm traps you find and look out for placements in tall grass or between pallets
The Nurse - don’t rely on pallets; instead, you want to wait for the blink and then run towards the side of where they were at the start of the blink (not directly at them)
The Plague - do NOT cleanse yourself unless absolutely necessary. You can get sick from any pallet, gen, or survivor that is sickened so cleansing just gives them the red blood
The Doctor - grab madness tier 1 early in the game so that you don’t scream from being in his proxy, then you can hide around corners and such
The Shape - be aware of your surroundings and don’t run straight when being chased
The Nightmare - watch out for gens bleeding and wake each other up when possible
The Legion - don’t rely on pallets, but instead, try to make them miss their first frenzy attack. Best to start running the moment you hear the heartbeat instead of waiting on visual confirmation
Ghostface - be aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes on him - requires knowing the map well
Demogorgon - the lunge is large but straight. You can dodge this or use a pallet when you see the mouth open
Keep your eye on where the red stain is. This is where the killer is looking and can often tell you where they are heading. Backtracking, continuing the run, turning around, 360-spins, pallet timing, fake that you will vault a window, and everything else you can do while being chased are moments to mind game the killer. They will do the same with you, so be aware of their movement while running around areas.
Every level has an area that can be considered an infinite for running. Learn to utilize these areas, such as the killer shack, to your advantage and to waste time for the killer to be in a chase. The longer they spend time on you, the longer others can work on generators and totems.
And, for the love of Earth itself, if you are not being chased - WORK ON A GENERATOR! Standing around, hiding, and doing things that isn’t cleansing a totem or working on a generator when you know full-well that somebody is being chased by the killer makes you a bad teammate. Be productive!
To Finish Up
There is a lot that goes into a strategy game like Dead by Daylight, but I hope this guide helps you better understand what to work on. The goal here is to make you all better survivors and get more escapes. Whether you are playing with a random, playing as the random, or with a group of friends, this should help you make better decisions and utilize your moments.
I thought I would close this out with a video of a group of survivors playing terribly against a Nurse killer. They commit so many cardinal sins, such as the survivor juggling, farming each other off hooks, not understanding perks, and the ever-rare Nurse charge (where he ran right at the Nurse while they were blinking so they looked down to cancel the blink and landed the hit). Check it out to see the mistakes for yourself and you can see some of the things I talked about above. You will see that they spent so much time trying to save each other that nobody completed generators - they did not utilize their time and juggled themselves to death.
Video by YouTuber Stray Wolf - *language warning*