Back 4 Blood: 7 Tips to Survive Any Corruption Card

It’s the luck of the draw.

So you’re having some trouble killing zombies, huh? Going up against that AI overlord in Back 4 Blood is proving to be mighty difficult, eh? Don’t worry, Turtle Rock Studios designed Back 4 Blood to be that frustrating. No two runs are meant to be the same, which means the overlord that controls the Ridden, mutations, and corruption cards will throw something different at you every time you load in.

But the overlord can only throw so many enemies at you, and after some hands-on experience in the apocalypse, you may start to pick up a few tips and tricks to survive. And if not, that’s what we’re here for.

Here are a few tips to keep you alive, regardless of the corruption card drawn.

1. Tomato, tomato

Back 4 Blood — Corruption Tip 1

Before each mission in Back 4 Blood, players are shown a handful of cards that the AI overlord draws for them. These contain corruption, event, challenge, and finale cards.

Challenge cards give players an extra challenge during their mission that, if completed, will net them additional copper and supply points. Finale cards are only played at the end of chapters and show players what style of hold-out mission they need to play. Examples are The Diner in Act 2 and Dr. Roger’s Neighborhood in Act 3.

Event cards and corruption cards are essentially the same things. The difference is corruption cards only affect Ridden, giving them different variations and abilities. Event cards affect the map and the player, causing the fog to blanket the area or making copper slow players and decrease their damage resistance. Ultimately, they’re both negative, and what you call them hardly makes a difference. So for this guide, we’ll refer to both as corruption cards. If you want to call them “bad cards,” we wouldn’t object.

2. How bad is it?

Back 4 Blood — Corruption Tip 2

Knowledge is power, so knowing how bad a corruption card will be is imperative for counteracting it. If you know armored mutations and volatile Ridden are easy to handle, there’s no need to waste a burn card on the mission. If you know that Biohazard and Noxious Fumes turn any map into a nightmare, then you know to act differently from the moment the level starts.

Learning the effects of a corruption card comes only from experiencing said corruption card. The more you play, the more cards you’ll come across and the more strategies you’ll devise.

3. I play a trap card!

Back 4 Blood — Corruption Tip 3

It would help if you had a solid library of burn cards available for any mission you go on. You might think you’re professional enough to handle the mission without the extra damage resistance or legendary weapon, but then why do you keep dying all the time?

There’s no shame in playing a trap card to counteract the corruption cards the overlord is drawing.

If you see the overlord play a Charred Ridden corruption card, well, maybe you should play the Hazard Suit burn card and gain +20% fire resistance. If the overlord plays a Stalker Horde or Monstrous Tallboy corruption card, it might be a good idea to play Offensive Upgrade or Medical Supply Scavenger. And the Extra Padding burn card pretty much always comes in handy.

4. Trust in your deck

Back 4 Blood — Corruption Tip 4

Build a deck that is impervious to corruption cards. Craft a stack of cards that gives you so many buffs that it doesn’t matter what corruption card the overlord throws at you. This is easier said than done since there’s no way for you to know what corruption card will be played against you. However, you can take some easy bets.

Stacking extra damage, healing efficiency, and ammo capacity will never do you wrong. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted with cards that add fancy perks and abilities to gameplay, like Miraculous Recovery or Cross Trainers. But if you’re having a tough time making it to the saferoom, stick with the basics. Damage, health, ammo capacity.

5. Be adaptable

Back 4 Blood — Corruption Tip 5

This comes down to your play style. If you’re used to playing a certain way, total offense, grenades only, LMGs with 2x scope, learn to switch it up when necessary. Sometimes using a pipe bomb instead of a grenade can make a world of difference during incoming hordes. Sometimes switching to a shotgun will help mow down the common Ridden easier.

If you’re playing slow and steady, taking your time clearing out every corner of the map, and the overlord plays a Stinger Horde, Onslaught, or Hunted corruption card? You better run, Holly Forrest. The longer you take on the map, the more hordes will spawn. If you’re someone who collects every single pile of copper you see, and the Cost Of Avarice card is played? You better walk right passed that money because each pile you pick up debuffs you in more than one way.

Go from slow and steady to breakneck speed or from greedy to lean. Adapt your play style to fit the corruption card.

6. Preparation phase

Back 4 Blood — Corruption Tip 6

The overlord shows you the cards they’ve drawn against you for the upcoming map. Got it. Then the game lets you loose in the saferoom to prepare.

This is the most crucial time you have to prepare. It’s hard to coordinate in the field when you’re ambushed every sixty seconds. Plan, prepare, and coordinate while you’re protected in the saferoom. And since you were just shown the corruption cards for the level, you know what you’re up against.

If you’re facing a particular type of mutation, bring the offensive item that does the most damage to it. Fire hurts Bruisers and Tallboys more than anything else, though a buffed grenade does the job easily enough. If timed Ridden hordes are a problem, bring pipe bombs and firecrackers. If you’re up against more Stalkers, get plenty of stun guns to protect yourself.

Do not waste the preparation phase. This is the time for you to suit up based on your fight.

And if you’re playing online, this is the time you speak to your teammates about who’s doing what. Now is when you coordinate and plan how to take down that cursed Hag.

7. Teamwork makes the dream work

Back 4 Blood Cleaners

Four cleaners go out. Four cleaners don’t always make it back.

Your teammates are sometimes more important than the cards you bring in your deck. If you have selfish, ignorant teammates, you will die frequently. You will frequently die if you have teammates who have a horrible aim or don’t understand strategy.

The choice of cleaner is wildly important as well. Classic gaming archetypes still apply in Back 4 Blood; there should always be a healer, a tank, and a rogue on your team. During character selection at the start of the campaign, be sure each role is filled. 

And if your teammates refuse to fill those roles—they only play as Jim Hossler or Karlee Fincher, even though the team desperately needs a healer, then maybe it’s time to find new teammates.

And if people are letting you down, you always have the choice to play with bots. And sometimes, playing with bots is a more pleasant experience. They spawn their own healing items, constantly drop ammo for you, and ping items you’re likely to miss in the chaos of battle.

Weigh the pros and cons and decide which will take you further, online or offline. Teamwork makes the dream work, so make sure you have a good team.

In conclusion

Corruption cards ratchet up the challenge of Back 4 Blood by several degrees. And the greater the difficulty you play on, the more cards you’ll face. And the more cards you face, the more likely your death is. You must practice handling corruption cards on lower difficulties before exploring Nightmare or No Hope modes.

If you’re struggling with corruption cards in Back 4 Blood, these tips should see you far; otherwise, check out our guide on 10 Tips for Beginners to ensure you’re rounded out on the basics. Remember to put time into preparing; prepare in the lobby, on the character selection screen, and in the saferoom. Because once you’re out in the field and the overlord is dropping card after card on you, you’ll have to rely on all the preparation you did beforehand.

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About Victor

Writer. Gamer. Outdoorsman. Victor has written across multiple mediums, with some of his work appearing in anthologies, magazines, and websites like,, and When not writing, he is usually gaining inspiration for writing from the library of video games he owns. If he's not indoors, Victor is outdoors climbing mountains, hiking forests, or otherwise conquering nature.

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