20 Minutes Till Dawn Batgun Build

Welcome to our 20 Minutes Till Dawn Batgun Build guide. This guide will show you how […]

Welcome to our 20 Minutes Till Dawn Batgun Build guide. This guide will show you how to (usually) get an easy win at any Darkness level!

20 Minutes Till Dawn Batgun Build

This guide will show you how to (usually) get an easy win at any Darkness level! We know that there are people who have a hard time finishing the 20 Minutes Till Dawn game. If you are one of those who find it difficult to finish the game, let’s take you to our 20 Minutes Till Dawn guide.

What is a Bat Gat?

The Bat Gat is Abby holding the Batgun. It’s about as simple as that! Choose Abby, then choose the Batgun, then go wherever you want and have some fun. Since this is a guide, I should probably say a little more than this, though. 😀

Abby is a character with a special ability that allows you to right click and empty her entire clip in random directions. Notably, firing in this way does not slow movement in the way that shooting a gun normally does. Slow movement speed is the #1 killer in higher Darkness levels, which means that choosing her already removes one of the early problems you will encounter at high difficulty.

The Batgun is a gun that usually has a slow early game. It has a low base fire rate and launches two projectiles that spread out before homing in, meaning that it can’t be aimed directly at stuff (the projectiles fork to either side) and its starting damage is a little low. This gun sounds like it sucks, especially when early damage is so important in higher Darkness levels, so why do we use it? For one, its shots count as Bullets and Summons, which means that it benefits from Bullet Damage% and Summon Damage% upgrades. Summon Attack Speed% also increases its fire rate, which is nice.

Second, Abby eliminates the problems that I mentioned. Her right click fires in random directions, which is irrelevant because the Batgun homes in on targets after it reaches a certain distance away from the character. She also has a higher fire rate while in this state, so that eliminates the Batgun’s usual problem with a low starting fire rate. She can fire the Batgun very quickly and spread its projectiles far and wide to hit targets from the second you start the game, which is great.

While playing the Bat Gat, you shouldn’t be left clicking at all. Right click is your best friend, but sadly you can’t just hold it down like you can when firing normally. You’ll have to manually re-click every time Abby reloads, but that’s about the only downside. Maybe it’ll be adjusted in a future patch.

So, that’s the playstyle: Jam right click and move around to collect XP orbs. Simple as, right? Let’s move on to Rune selection.

How 2 Rune

Runes are accessible from the top left-ish of the character selection page, and function as a form of roguelite progression. You will earn currency to spend on them as you play and (especially) win. These are permanent bonuses that are always on for your character, but you can only equip one per row at any given time. That means you get one Rank 1 Sword & Shield Rune, one Rank 2 Sword & Shield Rune, one Rank 3 Sword & Shield Rune, and one Rank 4 Sword & Shield Rune. To equip a rune, just click it until a red ‘E’ and outline is visible around it. Easy! That ends the explanation of Runes, and in the next section I will rank them and explain my usual choices!

Sword Rune Grading

In favor of something like a “Tier List”, I’ll just assign grades (A+ through F) to each of the options.

Rank 1

Power (B) :: Power is +10% Bullet Damage and Summon Damage at max Rank. This double dips with the Batgun and is effectively +20% Damage, which is quite nice. I don’t usually choose this one, but it is a very good Rune for us if you want to try it out.

Alacrity (A) :: Alacrity is +10% Fire Rate and Reload Rate at max Rank. Since the Batgun has a low Fire Rate to start, and we want to reload as quickly as we can after spitting out all our projectiles via right click, this is my usual choice.

Mysticism (D) :: Mysticism is a 10% chance to apply Burn and Freeze with each of our bullets. We do shoot a lot of those, but this can’t compete at all with Power or Alacrity. Not worth your choice or even investment.

Rank 2

Aftershock (B) :: Aftershock will damage all enemies in an area around you for your full bullet damage when you shoot your last bullet at max Rank. This isn’t too bad, especially early in a run, but the Batgun’s Bullet Damage isn’t exceptionally high to begin with — even if it double dips.

Elemental Barrage (A) :: Elemental Barrage increases your Fire Rate and Reload Rate by 50% for 5 seconds every time you inflict a combination of 50 Burns & Freezes at max Rank. With how many bats we’re shooting out, this procs very often and is quite helpful. For me, it’s a tossup and a gameplay style choice between this and…

Close Combat (A) :: Close Combat increases your Damage to enemies in your Vision Range by 15% at max Rank. This is the bright circle around your character, which is a bit small, but it’s still very useful in higher Darkness levels where certain waves will have you surrounded in close quarters. This and Elemental Barrage are both great choices, so take your pick.

Rank 3

Glass Cannon (A) :: Glass Cannon causes you to start the game at 1/2 HP, but gives you +25% Bullet Damage and Fire Rate at max Rank. Abby has 4 HP, meaning we’ll start with 2, and that’s plenty. In an ideal game you don’t really get hit anyway, and a later choice in the Shield tree gives us Holy Shield for free. This is my pick.

Wild Magic (B) :: Wild Magic causes enemies that die while Burning or Frozen to spread the status effect to nearby enemies 25% of the time at max Rank. This is good for keeping enemies at bay, but not entirely necessary for us.

Gun Glyph (C) :: Gun Glyph summons a Glyph every 10 seconds that explodes into 6 bullets which deal 10% Bullet Damage every 5 seconds at max Rank. This does scale off of Summon Damage, which we will be getting, but it’s still not very good at all. Especially when compared with the other two.

Rank 4

Cadence (B) :: Cadence causes every 3rd shot to have infinite Piercing and 2x Bullet Size. It also deals 2x Damage at max Rank! This is pretty good, especially with how many shots we’re letting loose as Abby, but pales in comparison to the superior choice here.

Ethereal (A+) :: Ethereal gives us 10 seconds of infinite ammo every time we kill 50 enemies at max Rank. This is absurd, and effectively removes the need for Abby to reload during particularly dense waves where we’re killing frequently. We can spin forever! An easy pick.

Dedication (B) :: Dedication gives us +50% Summon Damage and Summon Attack Speed while we have exactly 1 Summon at max Rank. This is actually pretty good, since Attack Speed is equivalent to Fire Rate, but the restriction is annoying. We want the freedom to summon multiple useful tools, and Ethereal is much better anyway.

Shield Rune Grading

Rank 1

Vigilance (B) :: Vigilace is +15% Vision and Pickup Range at max Rank. This is pretty useful as a quality of life tool, but is unfortunately outclassed by a later option’s defensive utility.

Tenacity (B) :: Tenacity gives you +15% Fire Rate and Knockback when at or below 50% HP at max Rank. It’s quite nice, especially if you take Glass Cannon as your Rank 3 Sword Rune, but does present issues. If you take a Tome that gives -1 Max HP and you already have Soul Hearts, you basically lose this entirely. Growth later in the Shield Runes also has anti-synergy. That’s unfortunate.

Courage (A) :: Courage knocks enemies back after a reload and gives +10% Reload Rate at max Rank. This becomes less useful as we get later into a run, where Ethereal will remove our need to reload entirely, but is crucial for survival during the first few minutes. It’s my pick.

Rank 2

Momentum (A) :: Momentum gives us +35% move Speed for 1 second after we pick up XP at max Rank. As I mentioned above, slow movement is what gets you killed in higher Darkness levels. We’re basically always picking up XP, unless we’re sitting still to activate Siege, so this is a no brainer. It’s my pick.

Elemental Shield (B) :: Elemental Shield gives us 5 seconds of invincibility every time we inflict a combination of Freeze and Burn 50 times at max Rank. This sounds really good on paper, but our inability to control when we’re invincible makes this hard to use. The visual cue is also a slight flash to your character that’s hard to pick out? So this is hit or miss.

Seismic Ward (B) :: Seismic Ward summons 2 Wards that knock back nearby enemies every 5 seconds at max Rank. These are actually pretty good, but the fact we’re using Courage means we don’t really need any more enemy knockback. We’re safe enough; just choose Momentum.

Rank 3

Blessing (A+) :: Blessing gives us Holy Shield to start, and reduces its regeneration time by 25 seconds at max Rank. This is a free upgrade that we want anyway, which means we don’t have to luck into it or spend a level buying it. A very easy pick!

Healing (F) :: Healing causes every 1,000th enemy we kill to drop a 1 HP healing item at max Rank. Our HP is sort of irrelevant once we get Soul Hearts, and that’s a lot of kills necessary just to get 1 HP. Pretty terrible.

Last Stand (C) :: Last Stand causes us to become invincible for 25 seconds when we hit 1 HP at max Rank, once per game. This isn’t bad, but it’s rare that we reach 1 HP and the next 25 seconds will somehow save the run. If that happens we’re surrounded, and are going to die the moment we’re vulnerable again anyway.

Rank 4

Growth (A+) :: Growth causes us to heal 1 HP every 5th level and gain +20% XP at max Rank. The healing is fine, but this is the best pick purely because of the XP boost. It gets us several extra levels, and gets us those early levels more quickly, so pick it.

Guardian (D) :: Guardian destroys one of our Summons when we would die up to 5 times per game at max Rank. Similar to Last Stand, it’s rare that we’ll be in a situation where we die and then be able to salvage the run. That goes double when the act of keeping us alive removes one of our crucial damage sources.

Seecond Wind (D) :: Second Wind causes us to heal 3 HP when our HP drops to 1 at… Every rank? This one is odd, since it doesn’t scale with investment at all. It’s also not very good, for the same reason that Last Stand and Guardian aren’t. Growth is the clear pick.

Upgrade Priority

Upgrades are what you collect as you play the game, and function effectively as skill trees. You need the first skill to get the rest, then at least one of the second skills in order to be offered the third. Notably, holding the Batgun alone DOES NOT qualify you for Summon Damage or Summon Attack Speed upgrades in the current version (0.9.1). You need to get a Summon in order for those to be offered to you, and you should ASAP. On that note… Before any grading at all, let me tell you how I typically play the early game.

Priority #1 is to grab Frost Mage the moment it appears. It doesn’t matter what else is there in my choices, this is so crucial on Darkness 15 to keep bosses from hassling you as hard as they want to. Even if they only freeze for a second, it interrupts their charges or other abilities that make them especially annoying. Frostbite later in the tree is also a huge source of damage at higher Darkness levels for its -15% HP on normal enemies and -1% on bosses.

Priority #2 is acquiring a Summon to open the aforementioned upgrade trees. Magic Spear is the best for early momentum in my experience, due to its relatively high starting damage and the fact it’s two Summons instead of just one. Anything that gets close will be stabbed repeatedly, and its upgrade tree is also very good. Dragon Egg is another good consideration, provided that you get it early enough to matter. Ghost Friend can be pretty good as well, and scales well later on by spreading your on-hit effects like Freeze.

Priority #3 is to get Frenzy as soon as possible. Not only is Summon Attack Speed great for us (since it’s Fire Rate), this unlocks the ability to progress down to Culling. Since our bullets are Summons, Culling gives every single bullet we fire out a 15% chance to instantly kill any non-boss enemy. It’s really, really, really, really, really good.

Okay, moving on to the actual grading, now!

Upgrade Grading (Part 1)

Say that five times fast.

Take Aim (C) :: +30% Bullet Speed, -15 Spread
It’s alright. Bullet Speed isn’t very good for us, since it technically extends the length our bats have to travel before they start to home in. Spread is also irrelevant when we’re firing off in random directions via Abby’s spin. There’s still +15% Damage within this skill tree however, and its end skill is pretty nice.

Penetration (F) :: +15% Bullet Speed, +1 Piercing
Our bats innately have +1 Bounce, so we’d rather give them more Bounce than invest in Pierce.

Sniper (B) :: +25% Bullet Speed, +15% Bullet Damage
Now we’re talking! It’s unfortunate you have to invest in a mediocre skill tree just to get +15% Bullet Damage, but this is a worthy consideration later in a run.

Assassin (B) :: Automatically kill enemies below 20% HP
This does work on bosses, and in some cases can be something like 20,000 Damage you don’t have to do in that case. Especially useful in the last few minutes where you might have two bosses on screen at the same time, which again reinforces this tree as a late pickup.


Power Shot (A) :: +35% Bullet Damage, +20% Knockback
The knockback is irrelevant, but it’s hard to say no to that much Bullet Damage. This is a great early pick, especially because the Batgun lacks a bit in damage to start. I usually try to grab this early.

Big Shot (A) :: +45% Bullet Damage, +40% Bullet Size, -10% Fire Rate
Huge bonuses without much of a downside, especially when Abby fires quickly during her spin no matter what. Bullet Size helps a little bit with our bats’ natural homing, and lets them hit targets more efficiently without spinning all over the place.

Splinter (D) :: Enemies explode into 3 bullets when killed that deal 10% Bullet Damage
Ehh… Our Bullet Damage isn’t exceptionally high when the bats’ base damage is a bit low, so this never feels very worth it. These can proliferate status effects, but even then it’s a minor upgrade.

Reaper Rounds (B) :: +15% Bullet Damage, +1 Piercing, Bullets Pierce killed enemies
This is really only worth it for the +15% Bullet Damage, which is a small boost compared to the first two upgrades in this tree. It’s still worth taking if it shows up, though.


Dragon Egg (A*) :: Summons a Dragon Egg that hatches after 3 minutes
This is a great Summon, with a caveat. It’s really only good if you grab it before 5 minutes have passed, after which it’s just not worth it anymore. Once your timer reads 15:00 left, consider this an F and ignore it (as well as others in this tree, obviously). By the way, if you get Dragon Egg, hit Space to turn on auto-aim. The Dragon aims toward your cursor, so it should be locked on to enemies.

Aged Dragon (A+) :: +8 Dragon Damage every 60 seconds
This is a fantastic choice, and should be picked as soon as it shows up once you have taken Dragon Egg. Even if it’s still in the egg, this is worth it due to the final skill in this tree.

Trained Dragon (B) :: +10% Dragon Attack Speed every 60 seconds
Not as good as Aged Dragon, but it’s still good to pick up sometime before the 10 minute mark if you can. Attack Speed will help your dragon deal more damage and proliferate Burning.

Dragon Bond (A+) :: Bullets deal additional Damage equal to 10% of Dragon Damage
This is why Aged Dragon is so important. In a typical scenario, this’ll be something like +4 to +6 Damage by 10:00 and even more as you get into crucial later waves. The Batgun starts with 10 Damage per bat, so this is a significant boost.


Electro Mage (A+) :: Every 2nd shot, call down Lightning for 22 Damage
A great source of early damage if it pops up, considering how rapidly we’re firing off bats. It also has a great upgrade tree hidden behind it, all of which is very useful for us.

Electro Bug (C) :: Summon an Electro Bug that calls down Lightning to hit 2 enemies
This deals base 22 Damage just like Electro Mage’s proc, and is affected by Summon Damage and Attack Speed. It’s not a bad Summon, but hard to pick up over other superior options during the early and even midgame levels.

Energized (A+) :: When Lightning hits an enemy, 20% chance to refill 3 Ammo
Extremely good! This is how we sustain infinite spin in later waves, as Ethereal only pauses Ammo expenditure and does not refill it. The ebb and flow of shooting in the mid and lategame is that we’re going to enter Ethereal before we have to reload. Energized will assist with this, then refill whatever you did spend in order to activate Ethereal so that you’ll have a full clip again once Ethereal runs out.

Electro Mastery (B+) :: +12 Lightning Damage, +75% Lightning Area of Effect
By the time we can get this, Lightning’s damage component is usually not super relevant, but it’s still a great pick at mid or lategame to squeeze out extra damage. This does affect Electro Bug and other sources of Lightning, by the by!


Rapid Fire (A) :: +25% Fire Rate
This does exactly what it says on the tin. Abby fires pretty quick by default, but faster bat gatting is hard to refuse. The tree that follows it is pretty nice, too.

Light Bullets (B) :: +15% Fire Rate, +1 Max Ammo, +15% Bullet Speed
The Fire Rate is great, but you won’t feel the Ammo boost when the Batgun already has 12 to start. Bullet Speed is also sort of irrelevant for us, which makes this only useful for the Fire Rate. Still, more is always better, and 15% is not a small boost.

Rubber Bullets (A+) :: +1 Bullet Bounce, +10% Fire Rate, -10% Bullet Damage
-10% Bullet Damage does look scary, but this makes up for it with the Fire Rate boost and another Bounce on top of our Batgun’s initial 1. This keeps bats active for longer and thus causes them to deal more damage than they otherwise would.

Siege (C+*) :: Shooting while standing still has a 33% chance to consume no Ammo
If you’re playing on the Forest map, this is a C+ and usually not worth picking up — but there is a caveat. You have to move around to collect XP on the Forest, but if you stand near a corner or edge on the Temple or Pumpkin Patch maps, XP that drops in the void you can’t enter will automatically be sucked to you. Especially on the Temple, you can grab Siege and then stand in the corner to literally never run out of ammo thanks to Ethereal while still collecting a good amount of XP.


Ghost Friend (A) :: Summon a Ghost that shoots Piercing bullets for 8 Damage
He’s just a lil fwiend. Ghost Ally is quite good, though their Damage is very low. The tree after them is what makes them good, especially at proliferating on-hit effects like Burning and Freeze.

Best Friends (B) :: +10% Fire Rate, Ghost gains Attack Speed from your Fire Rate
This sounds very good, and it definitely is, but it’s a hard pick over things that directly benefit you like more Damage. The fact it gives you some Fire Rate makes it less difficult to grab early if you need, though!

Ghost Wizard (A+) :: Ghost inflicts 6 / sec Burn, triggers your On-Hit effects
Now we’re talkin’! The Burn damage is fine, particularly potent against bosses, but gaining our on-hit effects is the real kicker. These are Burning, Freeze and Curse from other upgrade trees that have an X% chance to trigger when we hit an enemy. This allows widespread proliferation without any input from you, since your lil buddy does it for you.

Vengeful Ghost (C+) :: Ghost fires +1 Projectile
Well, they can’t all be winners. This does technically double your bud’s Damage, but when he does so little in the first place it isn’t super relevant. Worth picking up eventually, but not my first pick in nearly any situation.

Upgrade Grading (Part 2)

Vitality (F) :: +1 Max HP
Not very good, and we’d rather focus on Damage anyway. Abby starts with 4 HP, and you’ll be at 2 to start if you followed my Rune advice. By Level 10 you’re back to 4 / 4 HP, and you shouldn’t be getting hit anyway. The tree beyond it isn’t very good, either.

Anger Point (D) +50% Bullet Damage and Fire Rate for 15sec after being hit
This is a great bonus, but you really shouldn’t be getting hit anyway. Consider, even in a best case scenario where you are taking intentional damage for some reason, is less than 1% of your total game’s time spent in this state per activation really worth it?

Giant (F) +2 Max HP, +50% Character Size, -16% Move Speed
Remember when I said that Move Speed is king in high Darkness levels? Yeah, don’t pick this. That’s not even mentioning that a larger Character Size means projectiles are much harder to dodge. Just don’t bother.

Regeneration (F) +1 HP heal every 90sec
We only have 4 HP, and even with this full tree we’d have 7 at maximum. We shouldn’t be getting hit very often or at all, and should have Soul Hearts as a buffer in any case.


Holy Shield (A+) :: Ignore an instance of Damage, then Holy Shield breaks for 2min
We have this for free at the start, if you followed my Rune advice. If not, for some reason, then grab it as soon as possible. This is extremely good even without its equally great upgrade tree.

Divine Blessing (A+) :: +25% Reload Rate & Move Speed while Holy Shield’s active
These are both great for us, though Reload Rate will fall off later in the game. +25% Move Speed is worth this alone, however! Losing it when we lose the Holy Shield is rough, but it comes back pretty quick — especially if we have the Rune.

Divine Wrath (B) :: Call down Lightning for 22 Damage every 1sec while Holy Shield’s active
Once you have Energized and / or Electro Mastery, consider this an A. This fires off less often than other sources of Lightning, but is still worth grabbing for Ammo recharge.

Stalwart Shield (B+) :: -1min to Holy Shield recharge time
A pretty good pick at most stages except early game. You will inevitably get hit by something, most likely, and with the Rune at max Rank this is only a 35sec recharge time.


Frost Mage (A+) :: 35% chance to Freeze for 3sec on hit, or 0.3sec on bosses
As I mentioned above, this is your top priority to pick the second it comes up. It helps keep enemies at bay, stops bosses from attacking so often on Darkness 15, and is generally useful with a slick upgrade tree.

Frostbite (A+) :: -15% HP (or -1% on bosses) when enemy is afflicted by Freeze
Especially on higher Darkness levels where enemy HP is inflated, this does a lot of damage every time Freeze activates. You can Freeze an already frozen enemy, by the way, and trigger this again and again. Especially useful on bosses, where this can sometimes be up to 1,000 damage on activation.

Ice Shard (D) :: When shooting last Ammo, fire 3 projectiles that Freeze
Sadly, by mid and lategame we won’t really be reloading anymore. That makes abilities like this bad picks, but at least we can access the last part of this upgrade tree without having to take Ice Shard.

Shatter (B+) :: Frozen enemies explode for 10% Max HP on death
Again, in high Darkness levels enemy HP is rather inflated. This does a good chunk of damage in a large area of effect constantly, since you’ll be freezing things rapidly. It also has a gnarly sound effect that’s fun to hear go off like a chain gun.


Magic Lens (A-) :: Summon a lens that gives +30% Damage and Size when shot through
This rotates around you and its bonus is affected by Summon Damage. Since we’re shooting in every direction at all times, we’ll hit this more often than you think. This is a good pickup at any stage, really.

Igniting Lens (D+) :: Lens also adds Burning for 3 / sec when shot through
We’ve got other, better sources of Burning that will affect all our bats. Grab the other upgrade in this tree to progress to the end, instead.

Refraction (B) :: Lens also adds +2 Bounce when shot through
Now this is nice! Our bats already have 1 Bounce, so this just adds more to the ones that pass by. A nice upgrade and the best way to access the final upgrade.

Focal Point (B+) :: Lens is 1/2 Size, but 2x effective
This gives us a smaller window to shoot through, but that’s still irrelevant given how many bats we’re shooting in every direction. Fully upgraded, that means we give base +60% Damage and +4 Bounces to our bats when they pass through — not even counting any Summon Damage boosts. Even if that only hits one bat per second, it’s a huge boost.


Magnetism (B+) :: +30% Pickup Range
This seems minor, but it’s great for quality of life. I wouldn’t grab it early, but do want it by midgame when I’m surrounded by foes and need to move in a small circle to collect XP from the ones I’m carving through. This makes that easier.

Recharge (B) :: +20% Pickup Range, 10% chance to gain 1 Ammo when gaining XP
The Pickup Range here is quite nice, but we don’t really need any additional Ammo recharge once we have our Ethereal + Energized combo going. It does give us access to a good Synergy however, so that’s why it has a good rating.

Watch & Learn (B+) :: +15% Pickup Range, +25% Vision Range
This is more attractive if you took the Close Combat Rune, since that’s a large increase to Vision Range. It’s pretty good even without that consideration, especially when it opens up the final upgrade in the tree.

Excitement (A) :: +20% Pickup Range, +35% Fire Rate for 1sec when gaining XP
Later on, we’re going to be gathering XP at an almost constant rate. Just consider this +35% permanent Fire Rate, which is really good!


Haste (B-) :: +20% Move Speed, +5% Fire Rate
The Fire Rate here is negligible, but Move Speed is quite nice. Still, since Abby doesn’t actually slow down while spinning, you don’t have to grab this very early like most other characters want to. Its upgrade tree is also just okay until the end, so you can even skip this entirely if you want.

Blazing Speed (C-) :: +10% Move Speed, inflict Burning on enemies as you move
This happens more often depending on your Move Speed, which Abby does have a lot of thanks to certain character upgrades. This is still not fantastic, but is the better of the two options to reach the final upgrade.

Run and Gun (F) :: +100% Walk Speed
Walk Speed is how fast we move while firing manually via left click. We don’t do that at all here at Bat Gat Enterprises, so this is a functionally useless upgrade.

In the Wind (A) :: +10% Damage and Move Speed every 10sec, up to 40% until you’re hit
Now this is worth your investment. We’re ideally not getting hit at all, and you have to take direct HP damage for this to fade — meaning losing Holy Shield does not count. We can keep this up for basically the whole game, even if it’s a long and kind of useless path to get here.

Upgrade Grading (Part 3)

Double Shot (B+) :: +1 Projectile, +15 Spread, -10% Bullet Damage
The malus to Damage seems scary, but we’re adding a third bat which is technically +33% Damage. It also opens up a nice upgrade tree, so it’s worth getting.

Fan Fire (D) :: When shooting last Ammo, fire 10 projectiles for 15% Damage
Similar to Ice Shard, this just won’t be triggering at all in mid or late game. Coupled with the fact that our base Bullet Damage is a bit low, it isn’t worth picking up.

Split Fire (A) :: Shoot +1 Projectile behind you
Another bat, with no downside at all? What’s not to love? We’re firing in random directions anyway, and our projectiles home, so this is a completely free damage upgrade.

Fusillade (A) :: +1 Projectile, +15 Spread, -25% Damage, 2x Base Projectiles
Okay, this is a much larger malus to Damage, but it’s also a larger boost to Projectiles. Since we fire 2 bats by default, this doubles that to 4 and then adds another for good measure. It’s still a big damage upgrade, but might also cause lag if your computer isn’t up to handling that many bats on screen.


Pyro Mage (B-) :: 50% chance to Burn on hit for 3 / sec
Not that great, since Burning doesn’t really do much on anything except bosses where it has time to wither them down. Even then it doesn’t do a lot, but both of the second upgrades here are pretty alright.

Fire Starter (B+) :: Every 5th shot, shoot a Fireball for 40 Damage and 3 / sec Burn
It’s more Burning! What we really like here is the flat 40 Damage in a large area of effect. We are shooting wicked fast, especially later in the run, and this will shoot these fireballs in every direction rapidly. They deal pretty significant damage even in the endgame.

Intense Burn (C) :: +35% Burn Damage
Ehhh… Not super great. At best it’s +1 – +2 to our Burn’s damage per second, which can add up on bosses, but that’s about it. This is required for a decent Synergy called Frost Fire, but still is easy to ignore and never take.

Soothing Warmth (F) :: 0.05% chance to heal 1 HP when you inflict Burn
This actually activates often even with such a low chance, but we don’t need the healing at all in any scenario. Skip it.


Quick Hands (B) :: +20% Reload Rate, +5% Fire Rate
Wait, why is this B if we aren’t really reloading past midgame? ‘Cuz it’s useful in early game, silly! This also gives Fire Rate and opens the way to unlock some powerful Synergies. Finally, this upgrade tree is pretty lit.

Armed and Ready (B) :: +10% Reload Rate, +2 Ammo
Not super fantastic, as we start with 12 Ammo, but it is required for the Gun Mastery Synergy that is crazy good. Take it for that reason and enjoy the small benefit it provides as well.

Fresh Clip (C+) :: +5% Reload Rate, +50% Bullet Damage for 1sec after reloading
This one loses its usefulness entirely past midgame, but can still be pretty alright in the early game if you have nothing better to pick up in the selection.

Kill Clip (B-) :: +5% Reload Rate per enemy killed, resets on reload
Occasionally, even in very lategame, there will be RNG draughts where we do have to reload our Batgun every once in a while. It’s terrible! Awful, really! Kill Clip makes this take a fraction of a second every time it happens, so it’s not a terrible pickup.


Glare (C) :: +25% Vision Range, 25 Damage every 2 sec to enemies in Vision Range
Vision Range is kind of small to begin with, but this can be fine if we took the Close Combat Rune. There are usually better choices available to us at any given time, but if there aren’t this is by no means a bad pickup.

Intense Glare (C+) :: +25% Vision Range, 2x Glare Damage
Not bad at all, if you had to take Glare. This is another nice bonus to Close Combat’s effective range as well! I never complain when I take this.

Sight Magic (C+) :: +15% Vision Range, Glare applies on hit effects
The Vision Range bonus is smaller than other picks, but being able to apply clutch Freeze to enemies that get too close is actually really nice. It isn’t a terrible pick!

Saccade (C) :: +15% Vision Range, Glare occurs 2x as often
If we got Sight Magic, this is marginally more valuable. Otherwise it’s still good, but not exactly incredible — the same as the rest of the upgrade tree.


Magic Scythe (B-) :: Summon a Scythe that deals 40 Damage
The Scythe rotates around you at a speed determined by Summon Attack Speed. This can get to pretty high damage values, but requires investment in things like Move Speed to make that happen which aren’t super useful for the Bat Gat. If we got Dark Arts, this becomes something more like B or B+ instead due to its upgrade tree.

Shadowblade (B+) :: +15% Curse Damage, Scythe inflicts Curse on hit
We’re mostly here for the first part, if we already took Dark Arts. This is a decent bonus to Curse’s damage, and applying it in a circle around us via the scythe isn’t too bad either.

Windcutter (C) :: +10% Move Speed, Scythe gains Damage based on Move Speed
If we do have decent Move Speed, this does provide a pretty big bonus to the Scythe’s damage. It can get pretty high with good investment, but the Haste tree isn’t a specific priority, so… This usually comes later.

Scythe Mastery (B+) :: +10% Bullet Damage, Scythe gains Damage based on Bullet Damage
This makes the Scythe very formidable indeed, but you need to get several skills just to get here. It also gives us a minor boost, which is cool! Before you have it, the Scythe does “just okay” damage, so the choice is yours.


Dark Arts (B) :: 25% chance to inflict Curse on hit, which deals 200% Bullet Damage
Curse procs after a delay, signified by the skull icon opening its mouth. It seems to be 1 – 2 seconds, or longer based on an upgrade farther in the tree, and it can be a pretty reliable source of Damage throughout the game.

Doom (B) :: +100% Bullet Damage to Curse, but +1sec to activate
This isn’t a bad bonus at all, and in high Darkness levels the enemies are definitely living long enough for Curse to go off most times even with this longer delay.

Wither (A) :: +30% Damage to enemies afflicted by Curse
Now this is a really nice upgrade. This is basically +30% Bullet or Summon Damage, depending on what’s hitting enemies, which is a huge boost no matter what it is. This alone justifies taking Dark Arts, even if you don’t like Curse!

Ritual (B-) :: +1% Bullet Damage per 10 enemies killed by Curse
This sounds really nice on paper, and it does definitely build up over a run, but it’s not as quick as you’d think. Curse doesn’t kill every enemy, obviously, especially if we got tomes that increase Bullet Damage or we have a lot of on-hit effects (especially Culling).


Holy Arts (D) :: When shooting last Ammo, Smite nearby enemies for 20 Damage
As with other abilities like Ice Spikes, we aren’t really ever shooting our “last Ammo” once we read mid to endgame. Holy Arts also isn’t very useful for us even when it can help, in the early game, so it’s a pass.

Holy Might (D) :: +10 Smite Damage per current HP
This does not include Soul Hearts, so even if you had to take Holy Arts from a truly awful spread of choices, the most we’ll get is +40% (+8 Damage) with Abby’s Max HP.

Justice (F) :: +1 Max HP per 500 enemies killed by Smite, up to 3
20 or 28 Damage every so often isn’t going to kill things frequently. Hitting 500 enemies killed this way will take ages, and will be another +30% (+6 Damage) at most anyway. Yuck.

Angelic (F) :: +1 HP healed per 500 enemies killed by Smite
It’s bad for the same reason other HP healing stuff is bad. We don’t need it at all.

Upgrade Grading (Part 4)

Aero Magic (C-) :: When shooting last Ammo, fire a Gale that deals 10 / 0.5sec
Once again, we’re not really activating this at all in the lategame. The only reason it’s not a D like the others is that the upgrade tree farther on has an ability that doesn’t need us to shoot our last Ammo, and this can be a decent pick if we got completely screwed on our Tomes and had to take the Tome of Speed. That doesn’t really happen, though.

Windborne (C) :: +15% Move Speed, Gale gains Damage from your Move Speed
Similar to Windcutter in Scythe, this requires kind of specific building that we don’t usually have the levels or interest to pursue. The other option is usually much better.

Eye of the Storm (B) :: +5 Gale Damage, Deal 2x Gale’s Damage around you every 2sec
This doesn’t require us to shoot our last Ammo, so at least it’s useful into the mid and endgame. If we had to take Aero Magic, this is worth picking up just so it’s not totally useless.

Aero Master (C) :: +15 Gale Damage
Kind of underwhelming for a final upgrade in a tree, but it is a pretty significant upgrade to our Eye of the Storm’s Damage. With this, it’ll deal 60 Damage every time it goes off, and that’s not awful.


Evasive (C-) :: +20% Dodge
This is actually pretty useful, but we don’t exactly need it to survive and the upgrade tree doesn’t have stuff that’s super useful to us. If we had to take Aero Magic or are trying to get Move Speed for Scythe Damage (for some reason), this tree can be worthwhile.

Nimble (C-) :: +10% Dodge, +10% Move Speed
A fair bonus to both stats, but as I said above — we don’t really need them in spades.

Tiny (D+) :: +5% Dodge, -25% Character Size
The size malus makes it easier to dodge enemy projectiles manually, but that’s all this upgrade really has going for it.

Reflex (C) :: +15% Move Speed, add your Move Speed to your Dodge
Assuming that you have this and used Nimble to get here, this is 55% Dodge (close to the cap of 70%). If you have to pick this upgrade tree, it can be worthwhile to get here for a roughly half chance to dodge anything you do accidentally stumble into.


Magic Spear (A+) :: Summon 2 Spears that deal 20 Damage to nearby enemies
The best Summon, in my opinion, and especially good for us. We lack hard hits in the early game, and these scale up in a way that lets us deal heavy damage to bosses as well as anything that gets near us very easily and rapidly — and without any input or special movement besides staying somewhat close to bosses.

Holy Spear (A-) :: +10 Damage to Magic Spear per 1 HP you have
This is current HP rather than Max HP, unlike the tooltip says in 0.9.1. At its best, this is +40 Damage because of Abby’s 4 Max HP and that’s pretty significant. We may be losing HP via tomes as we go, which could reduce its value in the lategame, but by then it will have been helpful up to that point anyway.

Soul Drain (A+) :: Every 400th enemy killed by a Summon drops a Soul Heart
Hey, our bats count as Bullets and Summons, remember? That means we’re dropping Soul Hearts very often, especially if we get the Soul Reap tree that’s up next (and we should). This is especially good thanks to this upgrade tree’s final ability.

Soul Knight (A+) :: +15 Damage to Magic Spear per 1 Soul Heart you have
Again, the tooltip is incorrect in 0.9.1. They don’t gain Damage when you pick up a Soul Heart, but rather based on how many you have. This is a huge bonus to Damage and you should get it as soon as you can.


Soul Reap (A+) :: +1 Soul Heart, Every 500th enemy killed drops a Soul Heart
This stacks with Soul Drain in the Magic Spear upgrade tree, meaning we get a Soul Heart from every 400th and 500th kill thanks to the fact our Batgun double dips. It’s very easy to get the maximum amount before even the halfway point of a run.

Soul Conversion (F) :: Every 60sec, turn a Soul Heart into 1 Max HP
How many times I gotta say we don’t need healing?

Soul-Powered (A+) :: +15% Bullet Damage per Soul Heart you have
The tooltip is wrong in 0.9.1, and this has nothing to do with picking up Soul hearts. It’s just +15% Bullet Damage per Soul Heart you have, which is crazy when we can get a lot of those very quickly and easily.

Soul Link (C+) :: +1 Soul Heart, When you lose a Soul heart, non-boss enemies take -80% HP
This is a pretty big nuke to all nearby enemies in case we do get hit, and that can be useful if we get completely surrounded and have lost Holy Shield. That situation shouldn’t come up super often though. It can be worth taking early for the +1 Soul Heart alone, if we have Soul-Powered and / or Soul Knight in the Magic Spear upgrade tree.


Trainer (A) :: +30% Summon Damage
There’s nothing to complain about, here. Since our bats are Summons and Bullets, this gives them +30% Damage and also buffs any other Summon we happen to collect in the future (or have already collected). The upgrade tree is also pretty fire.

Pulsing Summons (B) :: +20% Summon Damage, Summons pulse for 50 every 2 sec
The Damage bonus alone is nothing to shake a stick at, but the pulse is unfortunately not very good outside of a specific character that we are not playing. It also makes a really annoying noise every 2 seconds, which can be grating.

Feed the Beasts (A+) :: +1% Summon Damage per 15 enemies killed
As of version 0.9.1, this is broken and doesn’t work at all. Once it’s fixed, this will be absolutely incredible. Since our Bullets are also Summons, this will affect them just the same.

Bloodsuckers (D+) :: +10% Summon Damage, every 500 Summon kills drops a 1 HP heal
We don’t need healing, like I’ve said, but +10% Summon Damage is alright. Something to grab in the very lategame if we have nothing else on offer that’ll increase our Damage.


Frenzy (A+) :: +30% Summon Attack Speed
This converts to Fire Rate on the Batgun, and is also great for every Summon we might have or collect in the future. The reason this is rated higher than Trainer is because its upgrade tree is spectacular, especially the final upgrade. If you are playing on the Temple map, grab this as soon as possible and hunt down the final upgrade to more easily handle the large sploders.

Hellspawns (B+) :: +20% Summon Attack Speed, Summons inflict 3 / sec Burn on hit
Note that this is not a chance to Burn, it always happens, which is pretty cool. Burn still isn’t very good outside of bosses, but the +20% Attack Speed sure is. It alone takes this from a B- to a B+.

Thunderspawns (A) :: +20% Summon Attack Speed, 30% chance on hit to deal 22 Lightning
Lightning is superior to Burn, and it synergizes with Energized very well. This also applies to our bats, by the way! You’re gonna see a lot of lightning.

Culling (A+) :: +15% Summon Attack Speed, 15% chance on hit for instant kill
This does not work on bosses at all, but is still amazing for group clearing outside of boss encounters. Since our bats are Summons, this means every single time a bat hits anything but a boss it has a 15% chance to just delete it. Since we have a massive swarm going at all times, the value is obvious.

Synergy Grading

Synergies are acquired by obtaining 2 – 3 specific upgrades. They aren’t awarded immediately, but instead have to be chosen when you level up and are rare enough that they’ll probably only show up once or twice each in a given run. If you see one, it’s usually a good idea to grab it right away provided it’s a good one. To easily identify them, they have red icons rather than the typical black and white ones in the upgrade selection screen.

Death Rounds (A+) :: -1 Max HP, +10 Bullet Damage
Requires :: Reaper Rounds + Light Bullets

This one is very good. Note that it’s +10 Bullet Damage, not +10%. That doubles our bats’ base Damage value, which should say enough about how good it is. The -1 Max HP is actually a bonus if we have Soul-Powered or Soul Knight, since it lets us hold an additional Soul Heart for bonus Damage to our Magic Spears or Bullets.

Frost Fire (C) :: When you inflict Freeze, inflict Burn for 6 / sec
Requires :: Intense Burn + Frostbite

Burn remains just okay, and only good on bosses. We’re freezing those constantly, but Frostbite’s -1% HP per activation will do more than a middling Burn ever will.

Gun Mastery (A+) :: +15% Bullet Damage, Fire Rate & Reload Rate, +1 Piercing, +1 Ammo
Requires :: Armed and Ready + Power Shot + Rapid Fire

For us, this is effectively +15% Bullet Damage and Fire Rate in the mid to late game, but that’s still absolutely worth a pickup. The requirements are also very easy to get, and at least 2 of them are basically auto picks if they show up anyway. If you notice you have Power Shot and Rapid Fire, maybe look for Armed and Ready so you can nab this.

Mini Clip (F) :: +100% Reload Rate, +50% Bullet Damage, -666 Ammo
Requires :: Fan Fire + Fresh Clip

Most good builds use this, but it’s horrendous for us. We want Ammo for Abby to chew through during the spin, and we may as well not be spinning at all if we only have 1 max Ammo. We’d still enjoy +50% Bullet Damage during Ethereal, but at the cost of a much jankier play experience outside of those windows.

Overload (A) :: When Lightning hits a Burning enemy, it explodes for 25 Damage
Requires :: Electro Mastery + Fire Starter

This involves two upgrades we will probably grab at some point, and is a solid source of extra Damage. There’s no reason not to grab it if and when it shows up, really.

Stand Your Ground (A+) :: +2 Projectiles, +25% Fire Rate, -25% Move Speed
Requires :: Siege + Fusillade

Extremely good, even if we lose some Move Speed for the bonus. The Projectiles alone are a great Damage increase, and a faster Fire Rate is just the cherry on top.

Summon Mastery (A+) :: +35% Summon Damage & Attack Speed, -35% Bullet Damage
Requires :: Vengeful Ghost + Scythe Mastery

Since I rate the Scythe lower than other Summons outside of Curse builds, it’s not super likely you will see this. It’s still great if you do, since it’s +35% Fire Rate and Summon Attack Speed. The other two bonuses cancel each other out, unfortunately, since our Batgun benefits from Summon Damage but then also takes the malus to Bullet Damage.

Death Plague (A) :: Enemies killed by Curse spread it to other enemies
Requires :: Ritual + Reaper Rounds

If you’re using the Scythe and Curse, it’s likely you’ll se this as well as the one above. It’s pretty good, especially at more reliably activating Ritual and gaining more Bullet Damage. Pick it up if you see it.

Generator (A+) :: When you gain Ammo, +35% Fire Rate for 2sec
Requires :: Recharge + Energized

We will always be gaining Ammo thanks to Energized and our many sources of Lightning, so this is basically Summon Mastery again — +35% Fire Rate more or less permanently. Pick it up for sure!

Kunoichi (A+) :: +10% Fire Rate & +1 Piercing every 10sec, resets on being hit
Requires :: In the Wind + Assassin

I don’t see this one often unless I’ve picked some subpar upgrades, but it’s an extremely good reward and gamechanger in that case. There doesn’t seem to be a cap on this, so you can shoot out bats so fast you will lag the game in short order.

Sword and Shield (F) :: Smite kills lower Holy Shield recharge by 1sec
Requires :: Holy Shield + Justice

If you had to take Holy Arts, this is a really bad run. Smite isn’t killing anything anyway, so skip this one.

Titan (F) :: +2 Max HP, +25% Move Speed, +50% Character Size
Requires :: Giant + Angelic

You have to take two really bad upgrades just to get this, which is also pretty bad for the fact it further increases your Character Size. If you see this in your upgrade list, something has gone horribly wrong.

Tome Order of Goodness

You will acquire 2 Tomes during your run from certain bosses, depending on the map. Some are amazing while others are basically trash, and you only get to choose between 3. Sometimes you’ll get really boned by RNG and have to choose the lesser of three evils, but there’s usually no way you can get so badly screwed that the run is lost. Rather than grading in this case, I’ll list them in the order of most to least usefulness. Included is a ‘Prioritize’ section in which I’ll mention what upgrades are worth going for once you acquire the given Tomes.

#1 – Tome of Rage :: +60% Fire Rate, +60 Spread, -50% Bullet Damage, -95% Knockback, 3x Ammo
Prioritize :: On-Hit Effect, Culling, Frostbite, Electro Mage / Mastery

You wouldn’t think this is amazing with its malus to Bullet Damage, but we rely more on things like status effects and especially Culling to do our Damage at high Darkness levels. That isn’t to say we can’t build for Bullet Damage and still succeed, but the Tome of Rage allows us to access a more consistent version of the Bat Gat.

#2 – Tome of Power :: +50% Bullet Damage, +100% Bullet Size, +1 Piercing, -25% Fire Rate, -1 Max HP
Prioritize :: Bullet Damage, Bounces, Soul Hearts

Not quite as good as the Tome of Rage, but it’s still extremely good regardless. If this is your first Tome, it’ll take you in a very different upgrade direction than the Tome of Rage. You’ll want to focus on gaining more Damage rather than focusing on status effects if you can, so you can shred through enemies quickly. As mentioned before, -1 Max HP is a buff because it lets you collect an additional Soul Heart for bonus Damage.

#3 – Tome of the Elements :: +35% Burn Damage, Freeze Duration & Lightning Damage
Prioritize :: Fire Rate, Freeze, Lightning

Despite being at #3 on the list, this is not a bad bonus at all. Lightning does pretty good Damage even at high Darkness levels, and the Bat Gat can generate it super fast due to Abby’s high fire rate during the spin. This isn’t quite as good as the two above, but will still do a lot provided you start to tunnel associated upgrades.

#4* – Tome of Summoning :: +50% Summon Damage & Attack Speed, -50% Reload Rate
Prioritize :: Reload Rate (if 1st Tome)

So, this comes with a caveat. If this is your second Tome, it’s more like #2 rather than #4. The Reload Rate malus is absolutely killer in the early game, so this is a bad first Tome to take, but the second Tome comes in the mid to lategame when we’re not really reloading all that often anyway. At that point it’s pretty great, since with our Batgun that’s +50% Damage and Fire Rate. You can still succeed if you must take this as your first Tome, but the early game will be a little rougher because of it.

#5 – Tome of Elasticity :: +2 Bounces, -25% Bullet Damage, -1 Max HP
Prioritize :: Bullet Damage or On-Hit Effects, Fire Rate

As the name suggests, this one gives you a pretty flexible path forward. The Damage malus isn’t actually that bad, and our bats gaining 2 Bounces more than makes up for it. If you want to continue to focus on raw Damage that can work, but so can spreading extra status effects with these additional hits. Like above, -1 Max HP is a buff due to Soul Hearts boosting ours and our Magic Spears’ Damage.

#6 – Tome of Speed :: +50% Move Speed, -1 Max HP
Prioritize :: Restarting the Run

Since you get a choice between 3 Tomes, you should never have to take this, but if you misclick it or something… Probably just start over, unless it’s your second Tome and isn’t super crucial. You could probably go into Scythe and Gale in an emergency to salvage things, but this thing is total crap. If it gave something like Dodge it might be a little better, but even then… I’m not sure why this exists. At least you get -1 Max HP so you can hold another Soul Heart?

Character Upgrades

Abby, like all other characters in 20 Minutes Till Dawn, receives 3 upgrades from chests that drop from certain bosses throughout the run. These are not choices, and you will receive them in a random order that can make the given run easier or harder. Luckily for us, 2 of her 3 upgrades are good throughout the game and even the single bad one is still useful if you happen to get it as your very first chest drop. These are…

Bullet Storm :: +2 Projectiles, +40 Spread, -31% Fire Rate
The +2 Projectiles is very good, so this is still a Damage gain even if our Fire Rate takes a decent hit. It’s not the worst upgrade to receive first, at least, and will always be generally useful when you get it.

Make it Rain :: 2x Fire Rate during the spin
So, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that this is the best of Abby’s character upgrades. It has no penalty and makes bats come out at a ludicrous rate, especially if you get it later and already have a high fire rate. This is the one we want ASAP, but we can survive even if it’s our very last upgrade.

Whirlwind :: +35% Move Speed & Reload Rate for 2sec after reloading
This one is the worst of Abby’s upgrades for our Bat Gat build, but it’s actually still very effective if we pick it up first in the random order. If it’s our second drop it’s much less useful, unfortunately.

Ideal Order :: Make It Rain ~> Bullet Storm ~> Whirlwind

We can still win even if we don’t get Make it Rain until the final boss, but the run will be notably easier if we get it 2nd and especially if we get it 1st.

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