State of Survival: Heroes Guide

There 3 types of heroes in the game: Elite, Epic and Legendary. I will explain the difference between them and share some tips on earning necessary ones, both for F2P and P2P players.

Version history:
1.8 - 04/12/2020 - T5 Heroes update;
1.7 - 23/11/2020 - Major guide rework;
1.6 - 13/10/2020 - Added some clarification about maxed rank Hero Fragments;
1.5 - 20/09/2020 - Rumours about T6 Heroes added;
1.4 - 19/09/2020 - Added maximum Hero Lvl. per Rank and 2 new T5 Heroes;
1.3 - 09/09/2020 - Rewritten some Heroes summary + Brooke added;
1.2 - 06/09/2020 - Tier 4 added + A new section of where to find a particular hero;
1.1 - 04/09/2020 - formatting & grammar mistakes correction;
1.0 - 25/06/2020 - guide created.


Heroes in SoS are key to success. When you start the game from scratch, some heroes are automatically added to your hero pool while others can be unlocked by collecting their hero fragments. You can check below which event(s) will help you build a particular Hero.

Please note Heroes will be unlocked once your state matures (so-called state evolution). These new heroes will be unlocked in Tiers. You always start in a new state with Tier 1 heroes, which are followed by Tier 2 after 2-3 months, then Tier 3 and finally Tier 4.

Each hero has certain skills and specialities, thus you need to utilize them accordingly depending on the content you’re focused on.

Most important starting tip about your heroes – focus only ONE hero per type (brawler, marksman and scout). That means all your resources (fragments, experience books, skill books) are spent maximum at 3 different heroes. If you start upgrading multiple heroes at the same time, you will NOT get an advantage both in PvE and PvP.

Heroes screen

  1. Sort Hero list (Power / Rarity / Hero Rank / Level);
  2. Hero specialization (see below);
  3. Hero current level, experience, increase level / exp button;
  4. Hero rank, increase rank button;
  5. Hero skills, upgrade skills button;
  6. Hero gear, change gear (see below);
  7. Enable / disable Hero upgrade notifications switch;
  8. Hero Power.

Hero Rank screen

  1. Current Hero rank;
  2. Next Hero rank;
  3. Upgrade requirements;
  4. Exchange Universal Hero fragments into the chosen Hero fragments.

Hero Skills screen

  1. Skills selection and their current levels;
  2. Skill description and impact current / next level while doing Explorer Missions;
  3. Skill description and impact current / next level while rallying;
  4. Upgrade requirements, amount of materials available / needed for upgrade.

Hero Types

There are 3 types of Heroes. You can find hero type by looking at the icon next to the name.

  • Brawler (fist) – boosting Infantry troops;
  • Marksman (scope) – boosting Hunter troops;
  • Scout (knife) – boosting Rider troop;

There are 3 types of Hero’s rarity:

  • Elite – easily obtainable, lowest power;
  • Epic – commonly obtainable, medium power;
  • Legendary – hard to obtain but highest power.

I also split heroes into spending categories:

  • F2P – the hero can be obtained via certain in-game activities and doesn’t need real $ investments;
  • P2P – the hero can NOT be obtained via any in-game activities and can only be purchased via bundles for real $;
  • F2P/P2P – the hero can be both obtained via certain in-game activities or purchased via bundles for real $.

Hero Fragments per Rank requirements

Once you have found enough fragments of a certain hero, you can unlock him and start using.

To rank Hero up:

  • You need either to find more of his hero fragments or exchange universal hero fragments.
  • You also need to have proper amount of hero badges, but they are not hard to find, so I won’t mention their requirements here.
RankMax Hero Lvl.# of Fragments# of Sub-RanksTotal
Locate a Hero10110
2nd Lt.253515
1st Lt.305525
Lt. Colonel60705350
Fragment requirements are same regardless of the hero type (Elite / Epic / Legendary)

What happens when you have maxed Hero rank out, but you still get his/her Hero Fragments? See below official response from the in-game support:

Please do note that the maxed Hero Fragments you are receiving are still being counted in your inventory even if they are not visible, our tech team informed us that in the future those fragments can be recycled in order to receive different rewards, we kindly ask you to stay tuned and follow us on our Facebook page and in-game for any news and updates regarding this matter.

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Which Heroes NOT to prioritize?

Even though these Heroes do exist in the game, spending any resources on them can be justified only in one case – you have every other Hero maxed out and you don’t know what to do with excessive Hero Fragments. Or you need to score some additional points during events like SOTF.

Otherwise, just skip them and move on – they all have pretty much same stats, skills and, in a similar way, useless to play with – filler Heroes which Developers implemented for no obvious reason.

  • Becca
  • Eunjoo
  • Candy
  • Basel
  • Jane
  • Tony

Which Heroes to prioritize?

Clicking on the image below will open a dedicated page with skills’ description and Hero’s background story!

Tier 1

Timeline: available on Day 0

Heroes in this category are available from scratch – once the state is created. They are least powerful, but most easily obtainable and once upgraded enough can serve you for a long time!

  • Sarge (F2P)

    #1 hero to work on. He’s great both in PvE and PvP due to his Turret skill, proving 25% troop damage increase.
  • Travis (F2P)

    Priority #2 due to his unique skill reducing Stamina cost by 20% per march. It will save you tons of Stamina, allowing to kill more infected (solo or via rallies). You can easily maximize him on early stages and use as an instructor in your Hero Precinct.
  • Maddie & Frank (F2P/P2P)

    One of the best heroes in-game, strong for PvE and good for PvP. Moreover, you can fully max her out by just playing long enough. She’s the first hero who can be earned via Ray’s Place spins (though I won’t recommend to do that and save biocaps for Tier 2/Tier 3 heroes instead).
  • Eva (F2P)

    She’s the only Epic hero with a Siege specialization. Boosting her will allow you raiding enemy HQs for resources.
  • Mike (F2P)

    He can’t compete with Sarge or Eva, but it’s nice to have him for the Food farming boost. Mike is also a beast while doing Explorer Trail missions or any special event hunting (where you need to send a squad of 3 heroes), out damaging literally everyone else!
  • Chef (F2P)

    He provides a nice boost for your infantry, higher than Rusty. Also, he allows you farming Wood way quicker. Stats-wise, he’s worse than any Legendary hero – but you’re stuck with him for a long time as a F2P due to high amount of Hero fragments you can collect. P2P players should get rid of him ASAP or just skip and build Nikola instead.
  • Rusty (F2P)

    Good for the Metal farming boost only. You can easily maximize him on early stages and use as an instructor in your Hero Precinct.
  • Ghost (F2P)

    His Troop health increase skill makes him a viable option for PvP and he helps you farming Gas quicker – you will need a lot for the HQ upgrades.
  • Lucky (P2P)

    Strong and universal hero, both PvE and PvP. Obtainable via VIP packages only. On par with Tier 2 heroes, but falls off once you have Tier 3 maxed out.
  • Nikola (F2P/P2P)

    Nice hero for attacking Infected due to attack boost, unfortunately, his skill doesn’t work while attacking the Influencer Trap and Nikola is useless in PvP. Can be bought through daily deals, found in Epic Search Maps or contested via different events, mainly SOTF.
  • Ray & Rolex (P2P)

    Very expensive and worse than later Tiers’ heroes, I do NOT recommend investing into him until developers rework him or buff his stats.

Tier 2

Timeline: ~2 months after T1 (~2 months from Day 0)

After the first 2 months or so, 3 more Heroes are added to the pool. I’d describe them as defensive-oriented cause their skills are mostly focused around settlement protection bonuses.

  • Wolfe (F2P/P2P)

    He’s a good hero when solo attacking other settlements. Not so great for other PvP activities in case you’ve decided to buy Ray&Rolex. Can be obtained via Value Vouchers event or purchased via daily deals.
  • Trish (F2P/P2P)

    One of the most useless T2 Heroes, which can be obtained via Value Vouchers event or Ray’s Wheel.
  • Jeb (F2P/P2P)

    Jeb is your go-to hero during Kill Event. His unique skill to decrease enemy’s Settlement Troop Lethality can save you a lot of troops from being lost forever (remember that when you attack someone’s HQ your lost troops don’t appear in the Enlistment Office). He’s also decent in PvP both during T2 Heroes introduction and, later on, once T3 are in.

Tier 3

Timeline: ~2 months after T2 (~4 months from Day 0)

Together with getting Plasma Buildings being introduced, 3 more Heroes will be joining the state later on. They are heavily PvP-oriented and would significantly improve your ability to attack and defend Bunkers, Fortresses and Capital, at the same time over damaging T1 and T2 Heroes in the rest of (PvE) activities due to increased troops stats’ boosts.

  • Zoe (F2P/P2P)

    Your P2P late-game Sarge replacement. Zoe is great in all activities, however, becomes only applicable at Influencer Trap once T4 Heroes are in.
  • Miho (F2P/P2P)

    Same as Zoe, Miho is great in all activities, but becomes obsolete once T4 Heroes are in.
  • Ash (F2P/P2P)

    Your late-game Chef replacement. Ash is the only Hero still applicable after T4 introduction and since she’s available at Ray’s Wheel you can rank her up quite high even being F2P.

Tier 4 (old)

Timeline: ~2 months after T3 (~6 months from Day 0)

There were 3 T4 Heroes which developers decided to phase out from the game completely. In the newer states, you won’t be able to see them because they are skipped. In the older states, their fragments became exchangeable into the better Tier 4 Heroes with higher stats and more powerful skills.

As result, these 3 Heroes are outdated and not applicable anymore. I will leave them here just for historical purposes 🙂

  • Jarrett (F2P/P2P)

    When paired with Heroes who have a high damage output capacity, Jarrett is able to greatly increase their damage output. At the same time, Jarrett’s own skill damage is also not to be underestimated in combat. Jarrett’s versatility means that he can not only serve as a powerful damage dealer himself but perhaps, more importantly, improves the damage ability of the army as a whole.
  • Zach (F2P/P2P)

    Your late-game Maddie&Frank replacement. Zach is out damaging M&F even at 10 Levels deficit (i.e. when he’s Lvl. 60 and M&F is Lvl. 70).
  • Ernie (F2P/P2P)

    Your late-game Chef/Nikola/Wolfe replacement. Ernie is on par with Ash stats-wise but wins over the biker lady cause of higher skills damage output.

Tier 4 (new)

Timeline: ~2 months after T3 (~6 months from Day 0)

Starting September 2nd 2020, SoS Test Server was opened for a number of selected players. We’ve been introduced to, what we believed, the first Tier 5 Hero (Brooke) and had a chance to test her on the battlefield. One month later, the same testing repeated with 2 more Heroes – Tyler and Julie.

What hapenned in reality was that these Heroes were not T5, but reworked version of the T4 (Ernie, Zach, Jarrett). They came with same reworked skill system (when you don’t need legendary skills books anymore, but each skill levels up automatically at a certain Hero rank) AND way higher stats when compared to any existing Hero generation.

Initial testing of all 3 T5 Heroes proves their absolute dominance above everyone else. They were released publicly without any changes, making all previous Heroes totally useless.

  • Brooke (F2P/P2P)

    She’s too powerful, simply build her as soon as possible. You can purchase her fragments via Value Vouchers event, but due to strict limit of 100 fragments per event for F2P you won’t be able to build here to a decent level – thus F2P should stay with Ash.
  • Tyler (P2P)

    Same story as Brooke, but he’s not available via Value Vouchers event, making Tyler completely P2P.
  • Julie (F2P/P2P)

    Julie is available via Ray’s Wheel, giving F2P a small chance to max her out. Cause she’s 3 times more powerful than Maddie&Frank AND applicable in PvP don’t hesitate to put all your biocaps in those spins!

Tier 5 coming soon? Yes.

There’s no indication that developers are working on the new Heroes as of now. I can only assume they won’t launch Tier 5 earlier than January 2021.

Out of sudden, developers have released 3 new T5 Heroes in December 2020. They are available for testing in State 1 to 39. It is not clear how long testing is gonna last, but we already know new Heroes are at least 25% stronger than the previous generation due to attack/defence bonus increased to 490% (T4 have 390%).

Sneak peek on the T5 Heroes
  • Emma&Eli

    New Infantry Hero
  • Roxy Tamika Robinson

    New Hunter Hero
  • Jack “Tweak” Pickard

    New Rider Hero

Wait or not to wait?

One of the most popular questions I’m getting these days: if you’re a F2P or low-spender (under $100 per month) – should you wait for T4 Heroes from Day 0 saving all your resources or still invest into some T1-T3 Heroes on your 6 months journey to the T4?

Thanks to the Collab Team, we have a definite answer. They’ve tested all existing Heroes across all events and came up with the below results. It’s mostly P2P-oriented (sorry F2P folks, you have to stay with Chef almost forever!) but gives a good summary of what I wrote above across each particular Hero.

Please note the table below is comparing maxed out Heroes (both rank- and skills-wise).

Infected (Horde etc.)
Infected (Trap only)
PvP solo
PvP rally
PvP group
(Bunker, RR, Capital Clash)
BEST Heroes in the game per activity type per generation

Where to obtain a particular Hero?

Since there are multiple events in-game and also Heroes are added in Tiers as your state matures, here’s a recap of where you can find a particular Hero Fragment – to help new players navigating through the content.

HeroHero SearchEvent
Hero PacksValue VouchersVIP BundlesSpecial IntelAlliance StorePlague Zone

Hero Specialization

Each hero is specialized in a certain activity. Some of them increase your farming speed, others are good while defending settlement. What you would like to focus on is maximizing offensive heroes – those you can find in Siege / Rally sections.

Fill in each rally slot with a particular hero to reduce time spent on farming
Use those while attacking zombies (i.e. Infected Zombie rallies, Zones, Radar missions)
HQ defense (assign those at your barricade)
Player vs Player heroes for Siege (i.e. Fortress Fight, Capital Clash, Reservoir raid, attacking enemy’s HQ)
Player vs Player heroes for Raid boost (i.e. Fortress Fight, Capital Clash, Reservoir raid, attacking enemy’s HQ)

Hero Comparison

Available here:

Hero Gear

Hero Gear is unlocked at HQ Lvl. 15 and provides a decent boost to your Hero damage and overall Battle Power.
You can find a detailed Hero Gear guide here.

Special Thanks to

  • Hero Specialization: Image credits to Ember’s YouTube Video.
  • Where to obtain a particular hero: Teddy / The Collab Team
  • What happens with fragments of a maxed rank Hero: Matthew
  • Wait or not to wait? Request / The Collab Team
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1 year ago

What does the Captain part of a team do?

1 year ago

Which heroes are the best joiners? I know sarge is giving 25%, what other options are considered viable? Today we have a defeat and I’m wondering if we could have chenged something on captains. We had: Sarge (me), Maddie, Miho, Jeb.

1 year ago

Hey! It was facility fight, but as far as I understood only setter’s heroes choice matters in different scenarios, joiners should always have sarge/eva/zoe or I got it wrong?

Mother Earth
Mother Earth
1 year ago

What if the same heroes are used? Will the skills stack?

Mushkela AG
Mushkela AG
1 year ago

Amazing Job. Thanks guys. Keep it up!

Dead C
Dead C
1 year ago

Thanks for sharing

Pick N RollD
Pick N Roll
1 year ago

Great post! Can you add Hero levels on the ‘Hero fragments per rank’ section? Also please add All Hero stats at their max levels.. Thanks a lot!

1 year ago

Great post. But what happens to the frags we get daily when the heros reach max levels ? The frags become useless right ? Would be nice if we can exchange them for another hero frags of the same category…

1 year ago

What about troops. Should you keep troops in all 3 types in every level or always just upgrade to have max troops in the highest tier you have unlocked?

And should you use the Hero training area and if so who should be the instructors etc?


Gary Zigzag
Gary Zigzag
1 year ago

I think I’m missing something, why do fragments matter for training? It looks like training only cares about experience books?

New player
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Zigzag

Cause you cannot upgrade your training heroes if you don’t upgrade their ranks also. What the writer means is, you should choose heroes to be the training instructor in which their fragments are easy obtainable. Otherwise, you will be stuck with one instructor, unable to be level up cause he needs to be rank up first. I’m experiencing now with Sarge, I don’t know why I can’t get his fragments on intel much.

1 year ago
Reply to  New player

What is a training Instructor?

1 year ago

I had a question regarding hero fragments after achieving the General Rank. In my search for answers I found this site and liked all the info. But no answers, as I continued looking I ended up contacting support and thought the info would be worth while sharing here.

“Greetings Survivor,
Thank you for your message!
Please do note that the maxed hero fragments you are still receiving are still being counted in your inventory even if they are not visible, our tech team informed us that in the future those fragments can be recycled in order to receive different rewards, we kindly ask you to stay tuned and follow us on our Facebook page and in-game for any news and updates regarding this matter.
State of Survival team,
****You can also visit our official Facebook fan page to find more game-related info and win great prizes:

1 year ago

What about Jane? Should we invest in her?

1 year ago

This is a ton of awesome information. Now just to cement it all to the gray matter and implement as much as I can and as fast as I can. Thanks, Death!

Also, I seem to always be confused on which troops and which level of troops to train first. I’ve been told to train the lowest first but is that still the case?

1 year ago

How about the hero Basel? Can you add information about him. what’s he good for? please and thank you.

Huan Tiep Ta
Huan Tiep Ta
1 year ago

Hi, I was wondering whether it is worth to spend my saved up biocaps for the “lute vouchers” and “rey’s spins” under the following conditions:

  1. I am a no spender. (except for the additional builder slot I bought very early)
  2. My state is in the 3rd week of 3rd phase. (46d left)
  3. My Miho has 20 Fragments to spare. (no Hero Rank up yet)
  4. My Ashe is Captain rank 3
  5. No chance to get Zoe without spending real money.

What I am pondering about is whether I should save all my biocaps now for the next phase Heroes, or is not possible for non-spenders to aim for the best Heroes. But instead better focus on Heroes of an older generation?

Huan Tiep Ta
Huan Tiep Ta
1 year ago

Hey thanks for the answer, but when I started playing, the T4 Heroes were just introduced for testing for the earliest states, now even T5 Heroes are in testing phase. Even possible T6 Heroes are coming?

Should I wait for T5 or do you mean, wait for T4? Thanks 😀

Huan Tiep Ta
Huan Tiep Ta
1 year ago

My state still has 46 days left in phase 3, then 2 whole months in phase 4. So 2 months + 46 days until phase 5 Heroes, by that time maybe T6 are out?

But I guess I will at least wait for T5 for now.

Last edited 1 year ago by Huan Tiep Ta
1 year ago

I have a question about hero exchange. Do the ranks exchange too, or If I were to exchange a general ranked Jarrett for Tyler is he at the lowest rank? Just trying to plan out how I am going to do tier 4 when it opens in my state. Thanks1

1 year ago

Would it be possible to have a table with how many combat manual we need to up Heres’ levels? And the cumulative from 1 to lvl 80? Thanks 🙂

1 year ago

as a low spender ,,… im trying to max nikola,eventually maddie will be maxed,, then after that what heroes i need to aim? and heroes i should skip since game has tier 4 tier 5 heroes now..

1 year ago

I think this chart is due for an update

1 year ago

Will you be updating this article with the new heros?

1 year ago

Great Post! I have been digging into hero’s for a bit now and this is some of the best info I have found. Question, we have been using a Zoe, ash maddie set up for trap rally leaders and joiners. We have been telling everyone to use Zoe, Sarge or Eva as captain. We are also going heavy with hunters (60 or 55%). You seem to suggest something different in your chart above. What are your thoughts?

1 year ago

Hey nice guide. Any chance you could add the ranks required for last tier heroes skills to level up? The ones that don’t use books anymore.

Huan Tiep Ta
Huan Tiep Ta
1 year ago

“roxy tamika Robinson hunter tweak jack pickard rider and emma and eli infantry” Someone in my State has posted this as the new tier FIVE heroes?

1 year ago

can we exchange new t5 heroes for t4 heroes?

gnic - state 235
gnic - state 235
1 year ago

Extremely useful analysis, thanx!
2 possible improvements:

  • with the new trap scheme as of Dec. 2020, all or most heros become relevant & useful, even obsolete Rusty & Eva, due to many troop bunches being dispatched simultaneously;
  • check the spelling in “Reservoiur raide” above.
gnic - state 235
gnic - state 235
8 months ago

The spelling “coronel” in the table too!

gnic - state 235
gnic - state 235
8 months ago

And another more serious blunder: Maddie fragments do come mainly from PZ rewards in a crate arriving at reset. The table must be corrected in this sense. Also this page must be significantly updated to reflect newer heroes Luca Martha and Jess. Not to mention Daryl Dixon…

1 year ago

I am a F2P player and have Julie and Tyler both level 50. I was going to upgrade Brooke to level 60 but I will wait and put all 180 general legendary fragments into new T5 heroes. It is not true that good heroes are only for P2P players, you just need to know how to play.

1 year ago
Reply to  Brainiac

Oh my! I thought Tyler was p2p! Not so?

1 year ago

In the Hero Training Area, is it possible to change or remove heroes? I can’t level up Lucky past L20 which is preventing auto level up of the other heroes

1 year ago

Julie has an “enemy settle troop attack” deduction. Does that only apply to enemy troops when you are attacking enemy settlements or also when enemies are attacking your settlement (assuming Julie is on your wall)? Same question for Maddie: does her “settlement troop attack” bonus apply only when defending your wall or also when she is attacking enemy settlements?

11 months ago

Other than specific stats to settlement defence, does other basic stats such as hunter defence / attack applies to settlement troops during horde defence? I am asking this because my Zoe is just a basic one, but she has buff on settlement troop defence; shall I use a basic Zoe or a max out Sarge?

11 months ago

This is too good! A lot of info, bookmarked for the future. Thank you!

10 months ago

Hey, thanks for this guide! One question: You mention Trish is “useless”, but yet she’s in the “heroes to prioritise” section rather than the “heroes to NOT prioritise”. Why is that? Should I prioritise or not prioritise her?

9 months ago

good job. but have new heroes been released will be updated?

5 months ago

Love this – so helpful. One question: you are dissing Jane but she seems to grow a LOT of power quickly? She’s seems very powerful to me. Am I missing something or has she been rejigged by the devs?

4 months ago

anyone knows, how many combat manuals needed to upgrade hero from 1st to 80th levels?

2 months ago

Hi, amazing job. Can you update the article for more heroes and which combinations are the best

1 month ago

No longer being updated?

Andrey AbadiD
Andrey Abadi
1 month ago

please update the heroes its already t7