PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide

This is a guide for the Sociopath perk deck.


This is a guide for the Sociopath perk deck. It is written for:

* Loud

* Team play (not solo)

* Heists (not Crime Spree/Holdout), without mutators, on all difficulties up to and including Death Sentence One Down

* A maxed (all 9 cards unlocked) Sociopath perk deck

* Players with all Infamy skill reductions

* Preferably players who are level 100

The Jacket Character Pack DLC is required in order to use Sociopath.

It’s a deck which provides substantial bonuses to armor, damage reduction, and melee damage.

This is what you get when you play Sociopath, from the Long Guide, verbatim:

* +20% armor

* When targeted by 1 or more enemies in 18 m range (max 10 m vertical): *0.92 received damage

* When targeted by 3 or more enemies in 18 m range (max 10 m vertical): *0.88 received damage

* On killshot: Regenerate 30 armor. If the distance between player and killed enemy is less than 18 m, regenerate another 30 armor and additionally evaluate a 75% panic chance for each enemy in a 9 m radius around the player. If the kill was due to melee, regenerate 10% health. Cooldown: 1 s (for the entire ability)

* Upon hitting enemy or civilian with melee: Add +1000% melee damage to a stack, which can go up to *11 after 1 hit (duration 1 s). When hitting somebody, the 1 s time window is also updated, so the stack runs out of time 1 s after the last successful attack. Not hitting anybody deletes the stack.

What can I expect when playing Sociopath?

Sociopath is one of the sturdier armor decks. With the ICTV and appropriate skills, its armor is able to withstand 2 heavy SWAT hits on Death Sentence, breaking only on the third. Its armor regeneration on kill supplements this, much in the same way as Anarchist.

It has two other tricks up its sleeve. First, it grants a large bonus to melee weapons on repeated strikes, allowing it to kill a Bulldozer in two quick hits with the proper setup. Second, it is able to cause panic in enemies, which will disable them for a short while.

Overall, while Sociopath is not a meta deck, I feel it’s among the best non-meta decks. Compared to other meta decks, it’s less powerful, but feels more “honest”. It lacks invulnerability or dodge to escape being surrounded, or to sprint through areas under heavy fire. Instead, you just kill enemies, and are rewarded with armor gates for it.

It’s more active too, since the cooldown on its abilities is a short 1s. You can engage enemies at maximum defensive capacity any time after your armor has regenerated to full, since hiding for ~3s will reset all of Tension, Bullseye and armor level. Stoic or Armorer, for example, have throwables or abilities with longer cooldowns, so sometimes you would continue hiding a while longer before engaging.

Skills and Equipment – Basics and Armor


These are the skills that you should always have for loud:

* Combat Doctor aced

* Inspire aced

* Resilience aced

* Bullseye basic

* Duck and Cover basic

* Parkour basic

* Swan Song aced

* Nine Lives aced (if building for Death Sentence One Down)

Deployable will be doctor bags, and throwables either concussion grenades or throwing knives.


On Death Sentence, heavy SWATs (the most common enemy) do **225** damage at all ranges. With Frenzy aced (*0.75), Underdog aced (*0.9), and the deck’s OVERDOG (*0.88) and Clean Hit (*0.92) cards, this is reduced to 225*0.75*0.9*0.88*0.92 = **122.96** damage. You need to be targeted by at least 3 enemies in 18m range, though.

Alternatively, with Frenzy aced, Underdog aced, Quick Fix aced (*0.9) and Clean Hit, you take 225*0.75*0.9*0.9*0.92 = **125.75** damage. Here you only need to be targeted by 1 enemy in 18m range, provided you’ve “carried over” Underdog’s and Quick Fix’s effects from prior encounters.

Sociopath can be tuned to hit different armor breakpoints:

* With a suit, you have 24 armor. Thus your armor breaks in 1 hit. This armor requires the fewest skill points to use, but is also the most fragile and most reliant on armor gating from Tension.

* With an ICTV and no damage reduction skills, you have 255 armor. Thus your armor breaks in 2 hits, regardless of whether conditional damage reduction bonuses (e.g. OVERDOG, Clean Hit) are active, and survives 1 sniper hit (240 damage). This is a slight improvement over decks without armor or damage reduction bonuses.

* With an HBV, Die Hard aced, Iron Man basic, Frenzy aced, and Underdog aced, you have 135 armor, and heavies do 122.96 damage. Thus your armor breaks in 2 hits. This requires more skill points than just an ICTV, but you have better movement speed and concealment (should you choose to use Low Blow). Also note that you can be sniped if your conditional damage reduction bonuses are not active: snipers do 180 damage after Frenzy, and subtracting 135 armor means you take 45 damage in health.

* With an ICTV, Frenzy aced, and Underdog aced, you have 255 armor, and heavies do 122.96 damage. Thus your armor breaks in 3 hits. This requires the most skill points, but it reaches the fabled 3-hit armor breakpoint. This is the armor setup that I recommend.

TL;DR: ICTV, Frenzy aced, Underdog aced.**

Armor Gating

If a non-sniper attack would hit you for more damage than you have armor left, you only lose all your armor, and none of the excess damages your health. This is why the ICTV with max damage reduction can take 3 hits: after 2 hits, you’re slightly under 10 armor, which can take another 122.96 damage attack just fine.

If your armor is fully depleted and you score a headshot or kill, Bullseye or Tension will trigger and restore some of your armor. This small amount of armor is worth 1 hit.

Proccing Tension + Overdose twice (i.e. killing 2 enemies within 18m range at least 1s apart from each other) gives you 120 armor in total. This is just under the 122.96 damage done by heavies, assuming conditional damage reduction bonuses are active. If you have a bit more armor – either 5 armor from also proccing Bullseye, or the ~10 armor left after getting hit twice – the armor regenerated from those two kills is worth 1 extra hit.

So you could have armor that only breaks (and hence exposes your health) after 4 hits, if the sequence is hit > hit > regen 60 > regen 60> hit > hit for example. While it’s true that you could have taken 4 hits anyway if you had just regenerated from Bullseye/Tension once at 0 armor (i.e. hit > hit > hit > regen 5 > hit), note that the sequence of hits and regens is stricter. If you proceed the small armor gain at the wrong time, e.g. hit > hit > regen 5 > hit > hit, you wouldn’t survive.

TL;DR: If you have no armor, any amount of armor regen is worth 1 more hit. If you have some armor, 2 kills is worth 1 more hit.

Skills and Equipment – Melee and Weapons


The OVERDOG card provides a *11 multiplier to consecutive melee hits. (Note that the in-game description is incorrect: “10 times” means the bonus is +1000%, so the multiplier is (100%+1000%), or *11, not just *10.) However, the existence of this boost doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of it, much like how you don’t always have to use akimbo weapons with Hitman. In fact, killing enemies with melee will regenerate 10% health, reducing Berserker’s damage boost, so it can work against you.

If you don’t want to take advantage of the melee bonus, use nonlethal weapons like the Buzzer or Electrical Brass Knuckles and avoid the tier 2 skills in Brawler. You can still build up to Frenzy by taking Martial Arts aced, Counterstrike basic, and Berserker aced. Like with the melee bonus itself, you don’t have to take advantage of Counterstrike even though you have it. You don’t have to constantly walk up to enemies while holding a melee charge just to knock them down; you can (and should!) simply shoot them with your guns, or hit them with the uncharged Buzzer/EBK.

Avoid using your melee weapon too soon after the previous swing, especially against light units and shields. At 10% health, Berserker multiplies melee damage by 3. With 20 base damage on the Buzzer/EBK and another inadvertent *11 multiplier from OVERDOG, it’s enough to kill a 480 HP light/shield.

If you want to take advantage of the melee bonus…well, let’s take a look at what it’s capable of. Since you’re going to be killing enemies with melee, your health will regenerate, so assume the maximum under Frenzy, 30%. At 30% health, Berserker multiplies melee damage by 2.

Suppose your attack sequence consists of hitting the enemy with two uncharged melee attacks within 1s of each other. The first attack is unboosted, so it has a damage multiplier of *1, while the second gets *11. Thus the net multiplier is *(1+11) = 12.

The strongest melee weapons do 70 base damage uncharged. So if you hit an enemy twice, you’ll do 70*2*12 = **1680** damage. This is enough to kill lights, shields (480 HP), and heavies (960 HP), but misses all other specials (>=1800 HP).

With the Bloodthirst skill, you can get up to *16 melee damage after 15 non-melee kills. So hitting an enemy twice would do
70*2*16*12 = 26880 damage. This is enough to take down even Bulldozers (24000 HP), though not the minigun variants (48000 HP). A third melee hit would take down a minigun Bulldozer. In any case, you’d lose all your Bloodthirst after the kill, however.

Since OVERDOG’s melee damage boost lasts 1s, the delay between each of your melee attacks must be less than that. This rules out slow weapons like the Great Sword, which, although satisfying the 70 damage uncharged condition, has a 1.1s repeat expire time (as it’s known internally).

Additionally, melee weapons have a time-saving quirk: if their animation durations are longer than their repeat expire times, it is possible to cancel the animation into another melee attack. (The timing is rather forgiving; simply spamming the melee button is sufficient to perform this.) If the animation duration is too short, your character will instead put away their melee weapon and draw their gun, which incurs an additional delay on the subsequent melee attack as they have to draw their melee weapon again.

To keep things short, you should use a melee weapon with a short repeat expire time, and whose animation duration is longer than its repeat expire time. These values can be found in the Long Guide (though be warned, they are neither exhaustive nor error-free). To save you the trouble of looking, out of the 70 uncharged damage melee weapons with longer animation durations, the Shinsakuto Katana has the shortest repeat expire time (0.5s). Base game players have Kento’s Tanto (0.6s).

TL;DR: Buzzer/Electrical Brass Knuckles, Martial Arts aced, Counterstrike basic, Berserker aced OR Shinsakuto Katana/Kento’s Tanto, Martial Arts basic, Bloodthirst aced, Berserker aced.


With Iron Man and Frenzy both aced, that doesn’t leave a lot of skill points left for weapons. This is probably the biggest limitation standing in the way of what weapons you can use; you won’t have enough for Graze, OVERKILL, or Body Expertise. You can free up more skill points by downgrading armor.

That said, 58 base damage ARs/SMGs are a good choice given the constraints. They can hit 100 accuracy or close to it with the few skill points you have left, maybe Surefire for +15 mag size, and Berserker patches up their flaw of damage being on the low side.

Melee kills will regenerate your health, so if you have lethal melee weapons, you can expect to be at 30% health most of the time. Berserker’s ranged weapon damage multiplier at this amount of health is *1.4, so plan breakpoints with that in mind. If you’re using a weapon that needs *1.8 damage (at 10% health), maybe switch to nonlethal melees. With less ranged weapon damage, your ammo efficiency may suffer slightly, but this is made up for by the huge ammo savings when killing Bulldozers with melee.

Weapons with rates of fire <=60 naturally take >= 1 second between shots, so kills with those weapons will always trigger Tension with any physically possible timing. Most of the higher damage sniper rifles (Rattlesnake, Platypus 70, Thanatos) have rates of fire in that region, and enough damage to kill in 1 shot.

TL;DR: can’t decide? Union or Mark 10.

How to play

Sociopath doesn’t have a unique throwable. Instead, much of the technical play behind it has to do with its abilities and their cooldowns. These have already been mentioned earlier, but for ease of reference, I’ll consolidate them here.

Assume you have the ICTV, Frenzy aced, and Underdog aced. Then:

* Your armor breaks in 2 heavy hits, always.

* Your armor breaks in 3 heavy hits if your conditional damage reduction bonuses are active.

* If you have no armor, getting a headshot or killing 1 enemy is worth 1 additional hit.

* If you have some armor, and your conditional damage reduction bonuses are active, killing 2 enemies in 18m range >1s apart is worth 1 additional heavy hit (on top of the armor you had before).

If you also have a 70 damage melee, Bloodthirst aced, Berserker aced, and 30% health:

* 2 quick uncharged melee attacks will kill lights, shields and heavies, always.

* 2 quick uncharged melee attacks will kill non-minigun Bulldozers if you’ve killed 15 or more enemies without melee prior to that.

When killing Bulldozers with melee, try to approach them from the side or back. If you attack them from the front, they can melee you without turning, throwing off your aim.


Saw + Jacket’s Piece

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide 01

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide 02

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide 03

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide 04

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide 05

PAYDAY 2: Sociopath Guide 06

Saw: Ammo boost, Fast Motor, Sharp Blade
Jacket’s Piece: Slotted Barrel Extension, Accuracy boost, LED Combo, Any sight, 80’s Calling

No DLC required, other than Jacket Character Pack. DSOD viable.

This is a saw build using Jacket’s signature weapon. If the saw isn’t required, you can swap it out for an explosive weapon or sniper rifle instead.


Sociopath is primarily an armor/damage reduction deck. It has an ICTV that breaks in 3 hits on Death Sentence, and powerful melee attacks that can kill Bulldozers in two quick hits.

It’s worth a try if you want to play a damage reduction deck like Stoic, but less overpowered, or an armor gating deck like Anarchist, minus the invulnerability, but with the ability to take a sniper hit.

Thanks for reading this and may your conditional damage reductions always be active when you need them.

Special thanks to reddit user ryanras for giving away Jacket Character Pack codes.

Credit to dxdydzd

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