Disco Elysium’s checks are hard. Sacrificing our Physique to invest in a high Intellect character can make us fail even the easiest endurance check or kill us after kicking a dumpster.
Likewise, characters with deficient Intellect are less likely to solve investigations, let alone recall basic history. Only a carefully built character with proper attribute investment can genuinely overcome the heady storm of Disco Elysium’s self-abusive, Communist tempest.
In this Disco Elysium Best Build guide, I’ll review creating a character best suited to solving the investigation and saving Martinaise. As a bonus, I’ll detail how to optimize our character with the best clothing and thoughts available.
Building our Character
Before beginning our playthrough, we’ll have to decide what kind of character we want to create. While we’ll have the option to rebuild our character later with thoughts and point selection, our initial investment can open access to powerful perks and new paths within our investigation.
Overall, I advise building an original character rather than selecting one of the premade options. Generalizing over specializing ensures we don’t limit a particular skill necessary to progress the investigation.
Relevant Skills: (Drama, Encyclopedia, Rhetoric, Conceptualization, Visual Calculus, Logic)
Governing our ability to think through problems and logically understand our world, Intellect is surprisingly the least necessary archetype. While two skills within, Visual Calculus and Drama, are vital to the investigation, we can boost their learning cap with the Some Kind of Superstar thought, allowing us to gain all the benefits of Intellect without any investment.
I advise treating Intellect as a dump attribute and putting our remaining points into the others. We’re better off brute forcing our way through problems rather than thinking them through.
Relevant Skills: (Suggestion, Inland Empire, Empathy, Authority, Esprit de Corps, Volition)
For the emotionally savvy detective, Psyche turns us into master manipulators that leverage people’s feelings to solve the case.
Two of Psyche’s skills, Inland Empire and Authority, are vital for a choice few checks that determine our character’s fate during the mercenary tribunal. I advise starting with a moderate investment in Psyche and gradually investing more until after the gunfight. High investment in Psyche will give us a guaranteed win!
Relevant Skills: (Pain Threshold, Physical Instrument, Electrochemistry, Half Light, Endurance, Shivers)
Determining our bodily fitness, state of health, and physical ability, Physique turns us into powerful brutes that solve their problems with drugs, violence, and rock and roll.
While some Psyche skills are more important, starting with a high endurance attribute that Physique incurs helps us pass a challenging endurance check at the beginning of our investigation. I advise starting with increased investment in Physique to pass these high checks and then gradually spending more into as we go onwards.
Relevant Skills: (Composure, Savoir Faire, Hand-Eye Coordination, Perception, Reaction Speed, Interfacing)
Dexterous detectives with discerning eyes, fast hands, and a stylish gait will find themselves at home with the Motorics attribute.
While this attribute contains some of the best skills, we’re better off failing Motoric’s checks at the game’s start. For example, failing to bail on Garte and crashing into Lena’s wheelchair knocks off twenty Real from our massive tab.
I recommend starting with a low Motoric’s investment but quickly putting more points in skills like Perception and Hand/Eye Coordination.
Signature Skill: Inland Empire
After selecting our attributes, we can pick a signature skill to invest in a single point. Our best bet will be Inland Empire which makes the game significantly stranger (i.e., talking to corpses, finding your grandma, befriending a cryptid).
However, this skill also turns our horrific Necktie into a talking character that saves our life during the mercenary tribunal. If we cannot recover our gun and find enough ammunition before the fight, the Horrific Necktie provides a fiery alternative with a hilarious/heartwrenching sacrifice scene.
Functioning as Perks within Disco Elysium, we can acquire thoughts throughout Martinaise to modify our skills, earn extra XP, and gain Real. While some thoughts are more suited to different playstyles, ie neoliberalist players gain more money from hustling characters, we can generally rely on these choice few thoughts to optimize our playthrough:
Some Kind of Superstar
For the aspiring rockstar that lives within us all, Some Kind of Superstar raises our Visual Calculus, Suggestion, Electrochemistry, and Composure skill caps with a minor penalty to our logic.
I highly recommend this skill for the Visual Calculus boost for players with low Intellect. Passing Visual Calculus checks is a crucial part of our investigation, and we’ll need this attribute to crack the case and find the killer.
As a bonus, most of the superstar dialogue options are hilarious, and we’ll have better luck if we sing karaoke with this thought. We can acquire this attribute by continually referring to ourselves as superstars.
I advise interacting with our bathroom mirror and talking with civilians to voice superstar dialogue, then clicking the bubble atop our head to acquire the thought.
Referring to our recent amnesia and how everything once familiar now appears new and strange, Jamais Vu grants us 1 point of XP per orb we click.
While this may not seem like much, the vast amount of orbs available will give us several free level-ups on the first day alone. In addition, this thought opens up a strange dialogue with Joyce that touches on the world-consuming, madness-inducing pale, and nonspherical shape of the world.
Overall, I advise adopting this thought as soon as possible to maximize our XP gain and pass more difficult checks on the first day. We can acquire this thought after asking Lena in the Whirling-In-Rags for a low down on reality. Instead, Lena directs us to talk with Joyce by the harbor, who gives us this thought after asking her “where we are” three times.
The Fifteenth Indotribe
Get Rich Quick
A sad recollection of our miserable childhood, this thought remembers our youthful friends, termed the “The Fifteenth Indotribe,” that met grisly ends leaving us the sole survivor.
Despite its sad epitaph, we’ll now gain 10 cents for clicking every green orb we come across and have our Savoir Faire attribute skill cap raised to 6. I highly recommend acquiring this skill early to maximize our income gain. Joyce gives us this thought after inquiring about Wild Pines and asking about the company controlling 8% of all cargo worldwide.
Apricot Chewing Gum Scented One
Early Perception Boost
A scented reminder of our character’s sordid past, the Apricot Chewing Gum Scented One grants us +2 Perception. While this skill doesn’t significantly alter gameplay, its availability early on provides a boost for a few crucial perception checks that open new areas.
I advise making this thought one of the first few we acquire on day one. We can find this thought after smelling the hidden compartment in our ledger found in the Whirling-In-Rags dumpster and equipping the Pour L’Homme Labourer Jeans found in the Capside Apartment’s coal room.
Skill Boost/Check Optimization
Delusional detectives determined to become someone else will enjoy a +1 bonus to their Savoir Faire and Esprit de Corps. While these two skills aren’t crucial, this thought benefits checks when talking with people of higher social stratum.
I highly advise introducing ourselves as Raphaël Ambrosius Costeau to the Mega Rich Light-Bending Guy in the container yard container to earn a whopping 100 Real after proposing a business idea.
To acquire this thought, we’ll have to fail the composure check when telling Kim our name on day one and keep referring to ourselves as Raphaël Ambrosius Costeau even after recovering our badge. Eventually, our logic gives way, and we can fully assume the identity of Detective Costeau.
Actual Art Degree
Massive XP Gain
Art snobs determined to nitpick every inch of war-ravaged Martinaise will rejoice with this pretentious skill. While this thought does come with a -1 Hand/Eye Coordination debuff, it grants us 10 XP for conceptualization passives totaling nearly 40 levels worth of XP gain. I highly recommend this skill for players focused on optimizing their XP accumulation.
We can obtain this thought after continually picking art-related dialogue when talking with Cindy the Skull, the Horseback Monument, Annette, and other artsy characters with a conceptualization of 4.
Those looking for an extra edge in the climactic battle of Disco Elysium will appreciate this +2 Hand/Eye Coordination buff against foes in Fairweather T-500 armor.
While this thought is rather ordinary, the severe lack of Hand/Eye Coordination buffs from clothing and thoughts make this perk a vital boost in the most critical fight of our character’s life.
We can acquire this thought after equipping a piece of Fairweather T-500 armor. I advise yanking the greaves off the hanged man while Kim’s asleep for easy access to a portion of the valuable armor.
While this may not be the most profitable ideology in the game, Communists enjoy the most rewarding quests, heartwrenching stories, and hilarious dialogue options.
To begin this quest, we’ll have to pick communist-related dialogue and opt into Mazovian Socio-Economics. On the night of Day 3, our inner communist contacts us, commanding us to get organized and look for others of the same ilk.
While this quest ultimately fails, as do the other political vision quests, it ends with a more optimistic note that doesn’t see our character give into nihilism, greed, or get assassinated by the moral intern. Also, the domino scene of everything falling apart after the begrudging effort to build it is strangely terrifying and hilarious to watch.
RCM Lieutenant’s Cap (+1 Authority) –A hat that makes you feel like a policeman, the RCM Lieutenant’s Cap is a decent hat with an excellent boost to authority.
I advise equipping the hat before the mercenary tribunal to help with the authority check to save Kim’s life. On the third night, we can confiscate the hat and our gun from a deranged cop-impersonator by the boardwalk.
Sunglasses Sub-Insulindic Rendezvous (-1 Perception,+1 Inland Empire) – A pair of sunglasses that puts us in touch with cosmic forces and eldritch horrors, we can purchase these silly shades from Siileng for 3 Real after passing a conceptualization check.
I advise wearing these glasses when talking with the corpse, communicating with cryptids, or arguing with our Necktie.
Pinball Maker’s Coat (+1 Empathy, +1 Hand/Eye Coordination) – A stylish coat for pinball enthusiasts, the Pinball Maker’s Coat is one of the few clothing items that grant us a boost to our 1 Hand/Eye Coordination without any drawbacks. I highly advise equipping this coat before the mercenary tribunal fight to even the odds.
We can find the Pinball Maker’s Coat behind the Whirling-In-Rags kitchen door after breaking down the rooftop door from Klaasje’s room or getting the key from the Hardie Boys.
FALN “Modular” Track Pants (+1 Savoir Faire,+1 Physical Instrument) – A pair of high-tech polyester track pants; these are one of the few pairs of pants to grant us a +2 skill boost with no drawbacks.
We can purchase these pants for 15 Real from Cuno after punching him in the face or giving him a comic book and inquiring about the dumpster. I advise going after these pants if we have enough money after paying our rent.
Horrific Necktie (+1 Inland Empire) – A strange necktie with a desperate need to party, the Horrific Necktie turns into a pivotal character if we invest enough points in Inland Empire.
While other neckties offer better skill boosts, the Horrific Necktie saves our life in the mercenary tribunal if we’ve adhered to its wild whims thus far. I advise equipping the Necktie until after the tribunal ends, then switching to Eight-Eyed Teratorn Tie we can get from Lena after completing her Cryptid quest.
We can find the Horrific Necktie hanging from the ceiling fan of our hotel room and turn it into a main character with +4 Inland empire.
Fairweather T-500 Cuirass (+1 Pain Threshold,+1 Volition, -1 Empathy) – High-tech under armor, capable of deflecting any attack, the Fairweather T-500 Cuirass is the most potent shirt in the entire game.
In addition to the attribute boost, this shirt also blocks a bullet during the mercenary tribunal and grants unique dialogue at the game’s end if we’ve managed to collect all four pieces. We can acquire this shirt from Gary the Cryptofacist after passing a perception and composure check.
FALN Ultra Series Sneakers (+1 Reaction Speed, +1 Hand/Eye Coordination, -1 Encyclopedia) – A handy item for defeating the mercenaries during the tribunal, these sneakers transform our washed-up detective into a machine of death.
Unfortunately, purchasing these sneakers requires spending a whopping 50 Real from Siileng, so we only buy these if we have the spare money to afford them.
I advise equipping the Fairweather T-500 greaves from the corpse if we cannot afford the price and if we manage to investigate the lowered corpse while Kim is away.
Daily Skill Investment
Early Game (Day 1): Endurance, Perception, and Inland Empire
For the first day, we should focus on increasing our endurance, Inland Empire, and perception attributes to allow us to look at the body and investigate the scene for clues.
Endurance enables us to look at the body without throwing up, and Inland Empire allows us to talk with hanged-man to learn more about their identity and fate. Perception gives us access to clues regarding the hanged man’s actual cause of death and admission to Cuno’s shed, which grants a shortcut to Evart’s office.
Mid Game(Days 2-3): Shivers, Volition, Drama
After the first few days and gaining access to the water lock, we should prioritize investing in Shivers, Volition, and Drama. Shivers is vital for accessing the Feld Buidling’s secret basement for confronting Ruby and advancing the plot. Meanwhile, Volition and Drama are essential for engaging Klaasje about the Hanged Man’s murder and subsequent coverup.
Late Game(Day +3): Authority, Hand-Eye Coordination, Inland Empire
Perhaps the most important investment of our skills comes into place just before the mercenary tribunal fight. This fight will leverage everything we’ve learned and achieved thus far but will benefit from increased hand-eye coordination and authority investment to beat the tribunal and save Kim’s life.
I advise equipping relevant armor before the fight, consuming Pyrholidon and Speed, and investing any leftover points.
After the battle and discovering the actual killer, we’ll have access to a breathtaking encounter with a Cryptid who talks to us if we’ve invested enough points in Inland Empire.
This scene is the emotional climax of the entire game (it moved me to tears) and sells the strangely sad story of Disco Elysium with a world-shattering revelation and the sympathies of all insectkind. If we want the good ending, investing in these three skills is vital to our success.
Question: What’s the Most Important Attribute in Disco Elysium?
Answer: While we’re better off generalizing over specializing our attributes in Disco Elysium, high Psyche players are more likely to enjoy greater influence over others and a more interesting version of Martinaise. I advise investing in this skill if we
Question: How do I Make Enough Real to Pay Rent?
Answer: Selling postcards, turning in trash, and scavenging our surroundings are valid ways to gain financial autonomy in war-ravaged Martinaise. I advise purposely failing the composure check when bailing from Garte to knock an additional 20 Real from our 120 Real fee.
Question: What is the Best Ideology?
Answer: Communism is generally the most rewarding experience for players looking for a story-rich ideology with an optimistic, bittersweet ending. Liberalism will appeal to money-grubbers, Fascism to evil roleplayers, and Moralism to laughable centrists.
Question: How do I Get the Hanged Man’s Boots?
Answer: To acquire some of the best boots in the game, we’ll have to remove the corpse from the tree after shooting it down or ask Evrart to take it down for us. Next, wait for Kim to sleep, return to the corpse, twist off the boosts, and take a warm bubbly bath to clean the desecrated greaves.
Nicely done, detective. We’ve crafted our character into a communist superdetective with delusions of superstardom and talking corpses.
Even if Disco Elyisum’s RNG checks can be brutal, failing an 85% check is still possible; we’ll have a better chance of saving the city than any other build.
And if it comes down to it, we can always employ save-scumming if the outcome of a dice roll is incredibly unfair. So don your verbose Necktie and pump out some groovy disco moves, Revachol’s got a new cop in town, and he’s ready to party.
- Disco Elysium Cuno Guide - March 9, 2023
- Disco Elysium Best Thoughts - March 3, 2023
- Disco Elysium Measurehead Guide - February 15, 2023