The Ultimate Guide to Defeating Infected in The Last of Us Part II


In The Last of Us Part II, you’ll encounter various enemy types, but the Infected pose the greatest threat. With four returning Infected types from the first game and two new ones, as well as some modifications, it’s essential to know how to handle each one. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore all the Infected types in The Last of Us Part II and reveal the best strategies for taking them down.

Runners: The Basic Infected

Runner in The Last of Us Part II
Runners are the initial stage of Infected in The Last of Us Part II. These Infected still retain a human appearance and will relentlessly chase after you to feast on your flesh. While they are the weakest Infected, they pose a significant threat when encountered in groups. Unlike Clickers, Runners have the ability to see, but their sensitivity to sound is heightened due to the infection primarily affecting their eyes. Runners represent the early stages of infection, occurring within a day or two after being bitten. These Infected are not fully transformed, with their minds still partially under human control while their bodies succumb to the infection.

How to Defeat Runners

To eliminate Runners effectively, utilize your firearms, melee attacks, or stealth. The key is to avoid being overwhelmed by their numbers. Although Runners are less dangerous individually, they can quickly overpower you as a group. When facing a group of Runners, which happens frequently in the game, prioritize stealth to silently eliminate a few before engaging in close combat with the remaining Infected. While you can use your ammunition or melee weapons, it’s wise to conserve resources as Runners are generally not worth the expenditure.

Stalkers: Stealthy Predators

Stalker in The Last of Us Part II
Stalkers appear between one week to a month after being bitten, transitioning from Runners to this stage of infection. Stalkers tend to stay low to the ground and avoid confrontation when spotted from a moderate distance. At this point, the fungus has entirely taken control of their brains, and passive Stalkers are rarely encountered. Typically found in dimly lit areas after the downtown Seattle section of the game, Stalkers often move in groups. When detected, instead of attacking, they retreat and hide, waiting for an ideal opportunity to strike. Some Stalkers even integrate themselves into walls, growing fungal spores. In specific instances, you will encounter these evolved Stalkers, which break free from their cocoon-like encasements to attack.

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How to Defeat Stalkers

Stalkers are aggressive yet cautious. While not as physically robust as Clickers, they pose a considerable threat if mishandled. Stalkers possess enhanced sight and hearing capabilities, allowing them to locate you even in adverse conditions. Thus, relying on stealth is not always the best option unless you can ensure a safe escape route away from the Infected.

When confronting a Stalker, your best approach is to engage in close combat and swiftly eliminate them before they retreat. Ellie can effectively combat Stalkers without issue, but if necessary, don’t hesitate to use firearms. Stalkers are less attracted to sound compared to Runners and Clickers, so you can discreetly fire a few shots without drawing excessive attention. However, maintaining visual contact with Stalkers is crucial, as they are intelligent and constantly seek new angles for attack.

Clickers: Sightless Terrors

Clicker model in The Last of Us Part II
After the Stalker stage, the Clicker phase begins. The infection progresses from the eyes, creating a cavity in the skull that emerges from the facial midsection. Clickers, deprived of sight, rely on echolocation to locate their prey. While weaker than Runners or Stalkers individually, they are far deadlier. Engaging in close combat with a Clicker is rarely a winning strategy, even though Ellie can now push them away.

How to Defeat Clickers

Stealth is your ally when facing a large group of Clickers. Avoid firing your weapon unless absolutely necessary, as Clickers can only detect sound within a limited range. Unleashing gunfire reveals your location, making it easier for them to find you. If you find yourself overwhelmed, retreat and hide. Clickers will only pursue prey in close proximity, and they are relatively slow. By creating distance and moving quickly, you can reset the encounter and try again.

To make encounters with Clickers more manageable, craft Molotov cocktails. Throwing one will divert their attention towards the source, resulting in them inadvertently setting themselves ablaze. Additionally, bricks and bottles can be used as effective tools. Hitting a Clicker with one of these objects will momentarily stun them, rendering them temporarily unable to use echolocation. This opens an opportunity for a swift takedown.

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Bloaters: Armor-Clad Brutes

Bloater model in The Last of Us Part II
Bloaters mark the final stage of the infection, where the fungus envelops the host’s body, forming calcified plates resembling armor. These aggressive Infected rely on echolocation, much like Clickers, but lack the refinement. Instead of merely waiting for you to make a loud noise or flee, Bloaters utilize sacks of mycotoxin, hurling them at their targets upon detection, resulting in toxic spore clouds.

How to Defeat Bloaters

Bloaters are formidable adversaries. In The Last of Us Part II, there are only three encounters with Bloaters, one of which can be avoided. When engaging a Bloater, maintaining distance is crucial, as their close-range attacks are lethal. Fighting from a distance also provides an advantage, allowing you to anticipate and dodge the toxic sacks they throw.

Fire is the most effective way to dispatch a Bloater swiftly. Setting them ablaze weakens their armor plating, enabling you to deliver direct damage. Although Ellie lacks access to nail bombs in Part II, her encounters with Bloaters are tailored accordingly. In the third, optional encounter as Abby, utilizing a Molotov cocktail and a pipe bomb is highly recommended.

When using firearms, prioritize the shotgun or hunting rifle. Bloaters have three vulnerable areas: the upper right back, upper left chest, and lower right abdomen. Attacking these spots not only deals more direct damage but also hampers their ability to launch projectiles.

Shamblers: Menacing Mutations

Shambler model in The Last of Us Part II
While Bloaters may be scarce in The Last of Us Part II, Shamblers fill the void. Although less deadly than Bloaters, Shamblers are still dangerous, often appearing in pairs. These Infected represent an alternative fourth stage, described in the game as a transition that almost reaches the Bloater stage before diverting. Artifacts found in the game suggest these mutations arose due to prolonged exposure to Seattle’s rain.

How to Defeat Shamblers

Approach Shamblers in a similar manner as you would with Bloaters. However, you can get slightly closer to Shamblers without as much risk as before. Shamblers lack mycotoxin sacks and have their mouths forcibly agape due to the infection, rendering them unable to bite. While they remain physically robust, you can escape their grip if you’re fortunate.

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The primary danger lies in the fact that Shamblers release a spore cloud upon death. Prolonged exposure to this cloud can prove fatal within seconds. Therefore, as soon as you dispatch a Shambler, retreat and wait for the spore cloud to dissipate. Similar to Bloaters, Shamblers are vulnerable to fire, making the use of Molotov cocktails or a flamethrower advisable before transitioning to your shotgun or hunting rifle.

The Rat King: A Monstrous Menace

The Rat King model in The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II features a solitary and formidable foe known as The Rat King. This name originates from a phenomenon involving multiple rats whose tails become entwined through various sticky substances. The Infected version of this phenomenon is the Rat King—an amalgamation of Runners, Clickers, and Stalkers, with a Bloater serving as its core. Disturbingly, The Rat King is responsible for the infection’s origin in Seattle, consuming other Infected over time.

How to Defeat The Rat King

Encountering The Rat King occurs just once in The Last of Us Part II, and much of the confrontation is scripted. Therefore, simply do your best during the boss battle. The Rat King possesses no particular weaknesses besides vulnerability to fire. Utilizing your most potent weapons and incorporating fire-based attacks will increase your chances of survival.

Maintaining distance is crucial as The Rat King releases infectious clouds, similar to Shamblers but on a larger scale. Approximately midway through the encounter, a highly resilient Stalker will break free and attack independently. While prioritizing the elimination of the Stalker is beneficial, it’s generally advisable to focus your efforts on The Rat King until it is defeated.


Now armed with this comprehensive guide to the Infected in The Last of Us Part II, you are well-prepared to face the challenges that await you. Remember to adapt your strategies accordingly for each type of Infected encountered, utilizing stealth, weapons, and environmental advantages to overcome these formidable adversaries. Embark on this thrilling adventure, confident in your ability to survive in this post-apocalyptic world.

Read more: OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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