- There are several Arcana cards in Vampire Survivors that increase your chances of surviving to meet the Red Death.
- For instance, Awake grants extra revivals and stat boosts, making it powerful when paired with other revival sources and weapons like Phieraggi.
- Sarabande of Healing doubles healing and turns it into a weapon against enemies, making it essential for tanking hits and staying alive.
When it comes to reaching the 30-minute mark in Vampire Survivors, few mechanics are as vital to master as the Arcana system. A series of cards unlocked by completing an in-game challenge, the Arcana can completely alter the way you play, turning a random jumble of weapons and items into a wave-clearing powerhouse.
Each Arcana card has a place in a specific build, and each works well when paired with the right weapon or item, but some are simply more impactful or widely applicable than others. Here are our picks for the best in the game, written not in the stars but in the entries below.
Updated September 27, 2023 by Nathan Ball: Vampire Survivors is still going strong deep into 2023, with the recent co-op update breathing fresh life into its monster-infested maps. We’ve updated our list to highlight more of the best Arcana options for use in your runs, be they in the base game or the DLC.
14 I – Gemini
While it only affects a small sub-set of weapons, Gemini literally doubles the output of said weapons, making it one of the most efficient pound-for-pound Arcana cards if you start with, or plan on using, any of the weapons it works with.
This can be a great Arcana early on if your starting weapon is doubled by it, but it also has a lot of legs later on as well, when you can stack up all of the weapons it affects to create a veritable projectile-palooza on the screen. No matter your star sign, the Gemini Arcana card can put you on a safe track to victory if you plan your build right.
13 IV – Awake
An Arcana with a neat dual-function, Awake grants you three extra revivals, as well as significant permanent stat boosts whenever one of your revivals is consumed. By itself, this is fairly powerful, but it gets really good when paired with other sources of revival.
The Tiragisu and Academy Badge passive items are the most obvious choices here, granting two extra revivals each. You can also play as a character who earns extra revivals naturally, such as Krochi or Queen Sigma.
Throw in the Phieraggi, a powerful union weapon that scales its damage based on how many revivals you have, and you have a recipe for success.
12 VI – Sarabande Of Healing
Sometimes staying alive in Vampire Survivors comes down to ducking and weaving between thick ranks of enemies, and sometimes it comes down to packing enough healing to simply sit there and tank any hits that come your way. Sarabande of Healing is a must-pick if you’re aiming for the latter strategy, not only doubling your healing but weaponizing it against your foes as well.
You’ll need to pick up evolutions like the Soul Eater and Bloody Tear to make the best use of this Arcana, but some characters have innate healing abilities built-in, such as Miang and Cosmo Pavone. Stack up enough recovery and even if an enemy makes it through the damaging waves this Arcana produces, their damage will be immediately undone by your massive healing capacity.
11 VII – Iron Blue Will
Projectile-based builds in Vampire Survivors have a bit of an early-game problem, in that it’s difficult to deal with large swarms of weak enemies with single-hit weapons. Iron Blue Will presents a nice solution to this issue, granting most projectile weapons the chance to both pass through enemies and bounce off of them.
With this Arcana in the chamber, you can ricochet your way through the early game, racking up enough experience to unlock the powerful evolved versions of your weapons, such as the Thousand Edge and Millionaire. From here, reaching 30 minutes should be trivial, especially since Iron Blue Will’s effects apply to your evolved weapons as well.
10 VIII – Mad Groove
One of the more unique Arcana in the game, Mad Groove draws every item on the stage, from experience gems to passive items and weapons, into a neat circle around you every two minutes. This has a number of useful applications, chief among them being a quick way to gather the items necessary to take on Red Death at the end of a run.
Ordinarily, the items you’ll need will be located in the far corners of the map, necessitating long trips barely possible within the 30-minute limit. With Mad Groove, however, you can have them delivered right to your door with free postage and packing.
This is extremely handy, but it has applications even in normal runs, where it can scoop up distant stage items and experience gems you’ve left behind on your travels.
9 IX – Divine Bloodline
The heart and soul of the extremely potent Armor-based build in Vampire Survivors, Divine Bloodline have three separate effects. Firstly, it scales up the damage of several unevolved weapons (and the powerful Victory Sword) based on your Armor stat, and then, it also acts as a Red Tearstone Ring, boosting your damage based on how much missing health you have.
Finally, and most crucially, it grants you extra health whenever you kill an enemy with retaliatory damage: something you can deal out with weapons like Eskizzibur, the Night Sword, and the Victory Sword. Boost this damage with the Armor passive item, and you can easily build your health up into the thousands with this Arcana.
8 X – Beginning
Looking purely at the listed weapons that it affects, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Beginning is largely useless, since almost all of them are ultra-rare gimmick character starting weapons you’re very unlikely to see in your runs. Things start to pick up, however, when you notice that it affects your starting weapon too, regardless of what it is.
This works best with weapons that care about their Amount stat, like the Knife and Flash Arrow, but you’d be surprised at just how many weapons this vastly improves the output of. The fact that it gets to work right from the start is great too, giving you an immediate advantage during what is often the hardest part of a run.
7 XIII – Wicked Season
Among all the Arcana in Vampire Survivors, Wicked Season has the most potential to turn your character into an unstoppable monster. Granting a 1% boost to your Growth, Luck, Greed, and Curse stats every two levels, as well as doubling each of them at fixed intervals, essentially removes the power ceiling you usually hit once you’ve maxed all of your weapons out.
It can be difficult to manage in the early game, particularly during the periods when your Curse stat is doubled and powerful enemies are bearing down on you at full speed, but give it time and your level will be so high it won’t even matter. Because it enables you to continue levelling up far beyond the normal limit, it pairs wonderfully with other stat-scaling Arcana like Chaos in the Dark Night.
6 XV – Disco Of Gold
A key part of every late game Gold farming strategy in Vampire Survivors, Disco of Gold is essential if you want to buy out every power-up and gorge yourself on Golden Eggs. It not only turns every Gold bag you pick up into a Gilded Clover, but it also provides additional healing whenever you pick up Gold from any source, essentially making you invincible whenever it’s Gold Fever time.
It’s a powerful Arcana by itself, but it works even better when paired with Sarabande of Healing, creating an infinite Gold-and-health loop that will decimate every enemy around you, raking in thousands in the process. A couple of runs with this bad boy and you’ll be set for life.
5 XVI – Slash
Slash acts as the bridge between two builds: the projectile-focused build and the Armor-focused build. Both run weapons greatly boosted by this Arcana, said boost being the enabling of critical hits and the doubling of their damage when they occur.
Since critical hits deal double damage by default, this enables you to deal four times the damage you normally would on a regular basis.
This allows you to shred through powerful enemies later on in runs, especially if you stack a lot of Limit Break levels on the affected weapons. It also pairs very nicely with a high Luck stat, which may finally be a good excuse to pick the mediocre Clover item and Heaven Sword weapon during a run.
4 XVIII – Boogaloo Of Illusions
There are a few different Arcana that let you scale a stat up by 1% every time you level up, but Boogaloo of Illusions has to be the best of them. Not only because of its electrifying name, but because the stat it scales, Area, is the most powerful when compared to the other options.
Assuming you pick this up right at the start of your run, you can have a hugely inflated Area stat by the end, turning weapons like the Garlic and Santa Water into huge, impassible damage zones that no enemy will survive the journey across. It’s an ideal choice for the lazy player and a key component in no-movement runs.
3 XIX – Heart Of Fire
You’ll be familiar with this Arcana if you’ve played as the elusive Avatar Infernas at all, but it’s a great choice for many other characters as well. Not only does it give a select few powerful weapons an extra explosive edge, but it also causes the same explosions to trigger when you destroy a light source or take damage.
Both of these are extremely common occurrences, particularly if you grab the excellent Greatest Jubilee weapon for extra light source generation, or the Armor item to take more hits. Even if you don’t build around it, Heart of Fire is an Arcana that rewards you just for playing the game, making it a great pick for most runs.
2 XX – Silent Old Sanctuary
One of the few Arcanas that truly changes how you play the game, Silent Old Sanctuary provides huge rewards for those willing to stick to just one weapon for the duration of an entire run. You may have tried this out on Boss Rash when trying to unlock Gyorunton, but it’s actually a more-than-viable strategy on any map with this Arcana in tow.
You can make this easier to achieve by limiting yourself to one maximum weapon on the stage select screen, then you can enjoy an obscene 100% Might increase and -40% Cooldown on your weapon of choice. This is usually paired up with Queen Sigma’s Victory Sword for a trivially easy run, but it can make pretty much any weapon that benefits from a low Cooldown time into a monster-mowing machine.
1 XXI – Blood Astronomia
Blood Astronomia is a very interesting Arcana, one that turns a number of harmless weapons into big AOE damage zones, and boosts the already-powerful Soul Eater to dizzying new heights. The most notable weapons and items affected by it are the Laurel, Clock Lancet, and Attractorb: three items that couldn’t deal any regular damage themselves, until now.
Since the Laurel and Clock Lancet are essential weapons for taking down Red Death, Blood Astronomia is a stellar choice for runs where you’re trying to do so, since it lets them deal damage and boosts your early survivability. It also slots neatly into the Garlic, King Bible, Santa Water combo, a build centred around keeping enemies as far away as possible.
NEXT: Vampire Survivors: Tides Of The Foscari – Every New Character, Ranked