A big part of the fun in Payday 2 is creating your own character build to suit your play style. There are a lot of skills too, and you can mix and match them as you grow in levels to further refine your character.

In this guide, we'll explain exactly how the skill system works, how many skill points you can acquire in total, and how much skills and upgrades cost in points.

How does the skill system work in Payday 2?

Basically, you gan a skill point each time you level up, and a further two (so three in total) each time you hit levels 10, 20, 30, 40, and so on all the way up to max level 100. That's a total of 120 skill points you can gain if you hit max reputation level.

You can then spend these skill points in five trees, which each includes three subtrees. Each subtree has four tiers of skill attached to it too. You'll unlock a single new skill at tiers one and four, and two new skills at tiers two and three. Are you with us so far?

Good, because there's more. You can unlock the second tier of skills with one skill point, tier three with three points, and tier four with 18 points.

You can spend your skill points in numerous different trees too, but bear in mind that this will limit how far you can go in a single tree. But that's a decision you can make.

Mastermind Subtrees


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Combat Medic Gain 30% damage reduction for five seconds both during and after reviving a player. 1 Crew members get 30% more health when you revive them. 3 1
Quick Fix You deploy First Aid Kits and Doctor Bags 50% faster. 2 If a crew member uses your First Aid Kits or Doctor Bags, they take 10% less damage for 120 seconds. 4 2
Painkillers If you revive a crew member, they take 30% less damage for five seconds. 2 Damage taken is now reduced by 80%. 4 2
Uppers You get seven more First Aid Kits in your inventory. 3 You get a further three First Aid Kits, and your deployed Kits will be used automatically by a downed player in a five metre radius. This can only happen once every 20 seconds. 6 3
Combat Doctor You can now deploy two Doctor Bags. 3 Your Doctor Bags have a further two charges. 6 3
Inspire You can revive crew members 100% faster, and shouting increases their movement and reload speed by 20%. 4 You can now revive crew members by shouting at them over a nine metre range, but only once every 20 seconds. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Forced Friendship
You get four more cables and can tie them 75% faster. 1 You and your crew have 0.5 damage absorption per hostage, up to eight hostages max. 3 1
Confident Intimidation is raised by 50% in power and range. 2 You can now convert two enemies at once. 4 2
Joker You can convert a non-special enemy to your side, provided they have surrendered. 2 You now convert an enemy 65% faster, and they'll deal 35% more damage. 4 2
Stockholm Syndrome Civilians are intimidated by your footsteps, and remain intimidated 50% longer. 3 Hostages won't run when rescued by law enforcement. They'll also trade themselves for you if arrested. You can only use this skill once per heist. 6 3
Partners in Crime Your movement speed is increased by 10% and the damage your converted enemy takes is reduced by 45% while you have a converted enemy. 3 While you have a converted enemy, your health is increased by 30%, and your converted enemy takes a further 54% less damage. 6 3
Hostage Taker You regenerate 1.5% health every five seconds while you have a hostage or converted enemy. 4 The health you regenerate is increased to 4.5%. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Stable Shot You gain eight weapon stability. 1 You gain 16 weapon accuracy while stationary. 3 1
Rifleman You snap to zoom 100% faster with all weapons, and your movement speed is unhindered while using steel sight. 2 Your zoom is increased by 25% with all weapons, and your weapon accuracy while moving with SMGs, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles is increased by 16. 4 2
Marksman You gain eight weapon accuracy while firing SMGs, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles in single shot mode. 2 You get a 20% accuracy bonus while aiming down the sights of all SMGs, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles fired in single shot mode. 4 2
High Value Target Marked enemies take 15% more damage. 3 Marked enemies take an additional 50% damage while further than 10 metres away. It also increases the duration of your mark by 100% and you can mark special enemies by aiming at them. 6 3
Aggressive Reload Increases your reload speed with SMGs, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles by 15%. 3 Kill an enemy with a headshot, and your reload speed will increase by 100% for four seconds. You can only use this with SMGs, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles fired in single shot mode. 6 3
Ammo Efficiency Get three headshots in less than six seconds, and you'll get a single button refund. This only works with SMGs, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles fired in single shot mode. 4 You now only have to get two headshots to get the refund. 8 4

Enforcer Subtrees


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Underdog When three or more enemies are within 18 metres of you, your damage is boosted by 15% for seven seconds. 1 You now also receive 10% less damage for seven seconds. 3 1
Shotgun CQB Shotguns reload 15% faster. 2 Shotguns reload 35% faster, and you get 125% increase in steel sight speed while using them. 4 2
Shotgun Impact All shotguns stability is increased by eight, and you deal 5% more damage. 2 You deal an additional 10% damage with shotguns. 4 2
Far Away You are 40% more accurate while aiming down the sights of a shotgun. 3 Shotguns are 50% more effective at range while aiming down the sights. 6 3
Close By You can hip-fire shotguns while sprinting. 3 You fire 35% faster from the hip with single shot shotguns, and all shotgun magazines are increased by 15 shells. 6 3
Overkill Kill an enemy with a shotgun or the OVE9000 portable saw, and your damage is increased by 75% for 20 seconds. 4 That damage bonus now applies to all weapons, and your swap speed is increased by 80%. You still have to trigger this skill with a shotgun, but it doesn't apply to melee damage, throwables, and grenade and rocket launchers. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Resilience Increase your armour recovery by 15%. 1 Reduce the effect of flashbangs by 75%. 3 1
Die Hard You take 50% less damage while using objects. 2 Ballistic vests now have 20 more armour. 4 2
Transporter You throw bags 50% further. 1 Each 10 armour bags you have reduces the bag movement penalty by 1%. 3 2
Shock and Awe You and your crow have an increased recovery rate of 25%. 3 Your weapons can knock back shield enemies while you attack them. Ranged weapons have an increased chance to do so depending on the total damage of the weapon, but melee knock backs are at 100%. 6 3
Bullseye Each successful headshot regenerates your armour by five, but it can only happen once every two seconds. 3 You regenerate an additional 20 armour for each headshot. 6 3
Iron Man Your total armour is increased by 30%. 4 You can now wear the improved combined tactical vest. 8 4

Ammo Specialist

Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Scavenger Your ammo box pick up range is increased by 50%. 1 Every sixth enemy you kill drops an extra ammo box. 3 1
Bulletstorm Ammo bags you drop prevent players from losing ammunition for five seconds after using it. This duration is longer depending on the amount of ammo players restore. 2 The base duration of the effect is increased by 15 seconds. 4 2
Portable Saw You can now use the OVE9000 portable saw as a secondary weapon. 2 You have one extra saw blade and all of your saw blades are replaced with carbon blades. This increases your saw efficiency by 40%. 4 2
Extra Lead You can now place two ammo bags. 3 Each bag contains 50% more ammunition. 6 3
Saw Massacre Blades wear down 50% slower when used on eneies. 3 Your portable saw can saw through enemy shields, and killing an enemy with your saw has a 50% chance to cause nearby enemies to panic in a 10 metre radius. 6 3
Fully Loaded You have 25% more ammo capacity. 4 You get 75% more ammo, a 5% chance to get a throwable, then a further 1% each time you don't get a throwable from an ammo box. When you find a throwable, the chance is reset. 8 4

Technician Subtrees


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Third Law Sentry guns are 5% cheaper. 1 Your sentry guns have a protective shield. 3 1
Sentry Targeting Package Your sentry guns are 100% more accurate. 2 Your sentry guns rotate 150% faster and have 50% more ammunition. 4 2
Eco Sentry Sentry guns are 5% cheaper to deploy. 2 Sentry guns have 150% more health. 4 2
Engineering Sentry guns make less noise, reducing the chance enemies will target them. 3 Sentry guns can fire AP rounds, which fire 75% slower but deal 250% more damage and pierce through enemies and shields. 6 3
Jack of all Trades You can deploy and interact with deployables 100% faster. 3 You can bring a second deployable, but you can only bring half of the number of your first employable. 6 3
Tower Defence You can carry an extra sentry gun. 4 You can carry an additional two more sentry guns. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Hardware Expert You can fix drills and saws 25% faster and they're silent. 1 Your drills and saws have a 10% chance to restart after breaking. 3 1
Combat Engineering Your trip mine explosion's radius is increase by 30%. 2 Your trip mine does 50% more damage. 4 2
Drill Sawgeant Your drill and saw timer is reduced by 15%. 2 The timer is reduced by an additional 15%. 4 2
More Firepower You get one more shaped charge and four more trip mines. 3 You get two more shaped charges and seven more trip mines. 6 3
Kickstarter Drills and saws have an additional 20% chance to restart after breaking. 3 You have a 50% chance to reset a broken drill or saw using a melee attack. You can only do this once per broken saw or drill. 6 3
Fire Trap Trip mines now spread around the area of detonation for 10 seconds in a four metre diameter. 4 Fire effect lasts 10 seconds longer and the radius is increased by 50%. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Steady Grip You get eight weapon accuracy. 1 You get 16 weapon stability. 3 1
Heavy Impact Your shots have a 5% chance to stagger most enemies. 2 Your stagger chance is increased to 20%. 4 2
Fire Control You have 12 more weapon accuracy while firing from the hip. 2 Your penalty accuracy is decreased by 20% while moving. 4 2
Lock N' Load You can hip-fire with weapons while sprinting. 3 Kill two enemies with SMGs, LMGs, assault rifles, or special weapons on automatic fire and your next reload will be 100% faster. The bonus is reduced by 1% for each bullet above 20 remaining in the magazine, down to a 40% reload speed increase. 6 3
Surefire SMGs, LMGs, and assault rifles have 15 more bullets. 3 Ranged weapons can pierce through enemy body armour. 6 3
Body Expertise 30% of your bonus headshot damage is permanently applied to hitting enemies on the body. This only activates while in automatic fire mode. 4 This bonus is increased to 90%. 8 4

Ghost Subtrees


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Chameleon You get detected 25% slower and can mark enemies while in casing mode. 1 You can pick up items while in casing mode, and all items and cash you pick up has 30% more value. 3 1
Cleaner You have an additional body bag in your inventory, and you can now hold up to three bags. 2 You can now place two body bag cases. 4 2
Sixth Sense You now automatically mark all enemies within a 10 metre radius by standing still for 3.5 seconds in stealth. 2 You gain access to all insider assets, and cleaning costs 75% less after killing a civilian. 4 2
Nimble You can disable one camera from detecting you or your crew for 25 seconds. 3 You lockpick 100% faster and can lockpick safes. 6 3
Eco Overdrive Your ECM jammer and feedback duration lasts 25% longer. 3 You can now open electronic doors with your ECM jammer. 6 3
ECM Specialist You can now place two ECM jammers. 4 The ECM jammer and feedback last 25% longer, and you can delay pagers. 8 4

Artful Dodger

Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Duck and Cover You regenerate stamina 25% earlier and faster, and can sprint 25% faster. 1 You have a 10% higher chance to dodge while sprinting, and 15% higher chance while ziplining.
3 1
Parkour You move 10% faster, and 20% faster while climbing ladders. 2 You can sprint in any direction 4 2
Inner Pockets Increases concealment of melee weapons by two. 2 Increases the concealment of ballistic vests by four. 4 2
Dire Need When your armour breaks, the first shot on every enemy causes it to stagger until your armour recovers. 3 This effect now persists for six seconds after your armour has recovered. 6 3
Shockproof You have 30% chance to backfire a taser when tased. 3 You can free yourself from getting tased if you interact with it within two seconds. 6 3
Sneaky Bastard You get a 1% dodge chance every three points of detection risk under 35 up to 10%. 4 The dodge chance bonus is now applied for every one point of detection risk, rather than three. 8 4

Silent Killer

Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Second Wind When your armour breaks, your movement speed increases by 30% for five seconds. 1 This effect now applies to your crew. 3 1
Optical Illusions You are 35% less likely to be targeted. 2 You get one concealment for each silenced weapon you equip. This also reduces the concealment penalty of silencers by two. 4 2
The Professional You get eight weapon stability and a 100% increase to snap to zoom with silenced weapons. 2 You get 12 accuracy with silenced weapons. 4 2
Low Blow You get a 3% critical hit chance for every three points of concealment under 35 up to 30%. 3 This effect now triggers for every one point of concealment. 6 3
Specialised Killing You deal 15% more damage with silenced weapons. 3 You deal an additional 15% more damage with silenced weapons. 6 3
Unseen Strike If you don't lose armour or health for four seconds, you get a 35% higher critical hit chance for six seconds. 4 The critical hit chance duration is increased to 18 seconds. 8 4

Fugitive Subtrees


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Equilibrium You holster and draw pistols 33% faster. 1 You get eight weapon accuracy with pistols. 3 1
Gun Nut Your pistol magazines are increased by five bullets. 2 You fire 50% faster with pistols. 4 2
Akimbo Your stability penalty for wielding akimbo weapons is reduced by eight. 2 Stability is reduced by a further eight, and you have a 50% increased ammo capacity. 4 2
One Handed Talent All pistols have a base damage increase of five. 3 The damage bonus is increased by an additional 10 damage. 6 3
Desperado Each pistol hit gives you a 10% accuracy bonus for 10 seconds, up to a 40% bonus. 3 You reload  pistols 50% faster. 6 3
Trigger Happy Each pistol hit gives you a 20% damage boost for two seconds, up to 80%. 4 The damage boost duration increases to 10 seconds. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Nine Lives Your bleedout health is 50% higher. 1 You can get downed one more time before going into custody. 3 1
Running From Death You reload and swap weapons 100% faster for 10 seconds after being revived. 2 You move 30% faster for 10 seconds after you're revived. 4 2
Up You Go You take 30% less damage for 10 seconds after being revived. 2 You get 40% more health when revived. 4 2
Swan Song Rather than get downed instantly, you can fight for three more seconds with a 60% movement penalty. 3 Swam song lasts three seconds longer, and you won't lose ammo while this effect is active. 6 3
Feign Death When downed, you have a 15% chance to revive instantly. 3 This chance is increased by an additional 30%. 6 3
Messiah While in bleedout, you can revive yourself by killing an enemy. You can only do this once per heist. 4 You can recharge this by using a doctor bag. 8 4


Skill Basic Basic Cost Ace Ace Cost Tier
Martial Arts You take 50% less damage from melee attacks. 1 You are 50% more likely to knock down enemies with a melee strike. 3 1
Bloodthirst Every kill increases your next melee attack by 100%, up to a maximum of 1600%. This skill resets when you kill an enemy with a melee attack. 2 Kill an enemy with a melee attack and you get a 50% increase in reload speed for 10 seconds. 4 2
Pumping Iron Your melee attacks do 100% more damage to normal enemies. 2 Your melee attacks do 100% more damage to special enemies. 4 2
Counterstrike While charging a melee attack, you'll knock down any enemies trying to strike you. 3 You can counter attack cloakers and their kicks. 6 3
Berserker You do more damage the lower your health. When below 50% health, you'll deal 250% more melee and saw damage. 3 You now do 100% more damaged with ranged weapons while your health is below 50%. You can't use any regeneration effects. 6 3
Frenzy You only have 30% health but take 10% less damage. Any healing received is reduced by 75%. 4 You now take 25% less damage, and receive full healing. 8 4