Back 4 Blood: Understanding Burn Cards

Back 4 Blood: Understanding Burn Cards

Like drawing an ace of spades, but with guns.

Back 4 Blood, the chaotic zombie apocalypse first-person looter-shooter published by Turtle Rock Studios, has undergone many changes since its release. There are more characters and powerful legendary weapons, and now there are Ridden hives scattered across almost every level in the game. But one of the more considerable changes was the addition of burn cards.

Potentially game-breaking in nature, burn cards can be easily abused. They make just about any campaign run significantly smoother. After all, it’s hard to be panicked by Ridden hordes when you’ve played cards that automatically upgrade all your weapons and give your team full armor plates.

But burn cards aren’t always feasible during the zombie apocalypse. And they definitely don’t come cheap.

Rather than avoiding them and focusing on purchasing some sweet new clothes for your Cleaners as we did, we recommend getting yourself some burn cards. Build up a solid library of them. And when you’re ready to tackle No Hope difficulty, it’ll be a piece of cake.

Back 4 Blood — Supply Line Tracks

What are burn cards?

Included with one of the first updates for B4B, burn cards are one-time use cards that grant a player some special trait, weapon, or effect during their campaign run. A player can only play one burn card per level within the campaign. But, if you play online and have a team of four, every player can play a burn card at each level, resulting in many buffs for your team.

With the latest update for B4B, developers got rid of card selection between levels. The B4B community still hasn’t decided if they like that change yet.

For players who’ve just joined the Ridden war: you weren’t always given your entire deck of cards to use from the first level in the campaign. You only started with one. As you completed each level, you were allowed to choose another card. By the time you were close to the end of the campaign, you’d finally unlocked your entire deck and were managing the corruption cards much easier.

Back 4 Blood — Burn Card Options

Now, the game gives you all 15 cards in your deck from the first level, which makes surviving the end of the world a much less stressful endeavor. But it also means players hardly need burn cards. At least for lower difficulties.

Burn cards can be anything from granting your team increased maximum ammo to putting a legendary weapon right into your hands. Dusty’s Customs is a line of burn cards that give you a high-quality weapon–usually blue or pink–with random attachments. And there’s one for each weapon type, including SMGs, shotguns, snipers, LMGs, handguns, and assault rifles.

Defensive upgrades give every Cleaner on your team extra trauma resistance or improve the quality of your healing items. Some can be pretty drastic, like Hired Gun, which grants one copper for each kill, up to 750 copper. Or Hell Can Wait, which presents the team one additional continue should they fail.


Again, not all of them will be useful during your run. Some of them you can purchase at supply boxes in safe rooms. And since the game practically throws copper at you now, buying them from the supply box might be the most cost-effective.

Where to get burn cards

Back 4 Blood — Burn Card Selection

You can purchase burn cards the same as regular cards. Head over to the supply lines tab. There won’t always be burn cards available for purchase, especially if you still have standard deck cards to unlock. But the lower two sections will sometimes have burn card supply lines. They are on a timer, so the selection of cards will change periodically.

To ensure you always have burn cards at your selection, you must purchase every other item in the game first. Buy every card, every banner, and every spray paint emblem. Buy every costume, weapon skin, and anything else that might pop up. Once done, the only supply lines you’ll see will be burn cards.

You can own a maximum of 99 for any specific burn card. Once you own the max number, the game will stop offering the card to you in the supply lines. This is a way you can sort of farm individual burn cards. You’ll need copious amounts of supply points to force the game to give you only the cards you use, but you can certainly do it.


Using burn cards to maximum effect

Back 4 Blood — Where to get Burn Cards

Some burn cards are an absolute waste, however. Cards like Defense, Offensive, and Quick Item Upgrade are a waste of supply points. Since B4B’s latest update, we’ve been swimming in copper. We regularly had thousands of copper upon starting a new level and purchased Defense, Offensive, and Quick Item Upgrades almost every time. It’s unnecessary to purchase those cards. It would be best to buy them only when you can’t complete a supply line without them.

Some burn cards seem to have particular use cases like Hazard Suit. Hazard Suit increases fire, acid, and explosion resistance to an entire team. But how often are you up against fire? Aren’t you pretty good at avoiding acid by now? And the only time you should be near an explosion is when your teammate accidentally mistakes you for a Ridden.

So, not often.

However, Dr. Roger’s Neighborhood in Act 3 almost always spawns blighted Ridden, which explode in acid when they die. You will most assuredly run into fire Ridden on Blazing Trails and a few others. And there may be some mishaps with grenades during the chaos of T-5.

Suddenly the Hazard Suit is perfect.

We’ve never used Slippery When Wet, Windfall, and Attachment Scavenger Cards. Windfall is too small a buff to matter, just like Attachment Scavenger. And we hardly use Breakout anyway, so Slippery When Wet just gathers virtual dust on the shelf.

The best burn cards and strategies

Get yourself some Dusty’s Customs. Whatever your go-to weapon of choice is–we like LMGs and Assault Rifles–stock up on that card. Extra Padding is a great all-around choice for more serious difficulties. It negates the need to bring a defensive card in your regular deck, and the 20% increase in trauma resistance is not too shabby. 

We found Urgent Care–which gives immediate healing of 15 health and trauma–to be more than a little helpful on Nightmare and No Hope when you stop caring about having a perfect run and just want to live to see the safe room.

Back 4 Blood — Burn Card Strategies

Primary Weapon Upgrade, Squad Armor, and Hired Gun were our favorite burn cards regardless of the Act. Once we found a primary weapon we enjoyed, we slapped a weapon upgrade on it, so we had Epic quality and didn’t have to hunt for another gun. 

Armor is a new mechanic in B4B, added with Sharice and Heng, and it’s way better than temporary health. There are precious few ways to apply armor in the game, so using this card was beneficial before the challenging final chapters. 

And even though we didn’t need Hired Gun, we still liked playing it so we could buy every upgrade at the supply box in every safe room.

You know, just in case.

Final thoughts on burn cards

Do you need to understand everything about burn cards to beat Back 4 Blood? Of course not. Heck, we didn’t use a burn card until we’d already beaten Nightmare difficulty. We were zeroed in on getting all the fashionable outfits for each of our Cleaners.

But if you want to tackle No Hope, you need burn cards. A lot of them. All of them. Starting the game with your entire deck unlocked is a great first step in making the game more accessible and less adrenaline filled. But those panic-inducing levels still exist on higher difficulties, and they aren’t easy to survive with just your standard deck.

Burn cards may not be necessary for survival in most of Back 4 Blood. But if you dread any boss fight, any level, or Ridden hive, consider taking a few burn cards with you next time. You might find that simple addition is all you need to overcome your dread.

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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