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Dead Cells Runes and where to find them

| Dead Cells
Dead Cells Runes and where to find them

Find every rune and unlock every area with your guide to every unlockable Dead Cells ability.

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With Dead Cells being both a Metroidvania and a rogue-lite, you lose mostly everything upon death unless you’ve either spent resources unlocking things or, in this case, found one of the game’s permanent upgrades: runes.

If you’re just starting out in Dead Cells, you probably have a bunch of questions. That’s OK - we all did. One of those questions might be “what are these weird plant things” or “why can’t I get through this glowing floor?” Runes are the answer. Until you get them, some of the things you come across won’t make a lot of sense. But don’t worry! We’ve learned the hard way so that you don’t have to. We’ve gathered everything you need to know about runes in Dead Cells: where to find runeshow many runes there are, and what they are used for. Let’s get cracking.

What are runes used for in Dead Cells?

In Dead Cells, runes are used to unlock and access new areas to explore. They’re mostly dropped from bosses and elite enemies, making them Dead Cells’ answer to the abilities you find in most Metroidvania games after defeating the guardian associated with them. The problem is that Dead Cells’ world changes a little with every run, making their exact locations a little tricky to find without our guide to help you.

How many runes are there in Dead Cells?

There are eight runes in Dead Cells, with six used for exploration and the last two to unlock the different modes.

But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We’ve hunted down each of the runes in Dead Cells and lived to tell the tale. Click through to the list below to discover everything you need to know about each of these elusive artefacts.

Click Here To View The List »

Customisation Rune

respawn area of dead cells where customisation rune is used

Location: Ramparts

Guardian: Undead Archer or Zombie

Use: Instead of unlocking a new traversal ability or area, this rune unlocks Dead Cells’ Custom Mode, allowing you to tweak which unlocked items, mutations and weapons are available during a run, as well as other modes such as speed runs and One Hit, One Kill.

How to find it: This rune is located near the entrance to the Ramparts. Simply look for the Zombie and Undead Archer enemy and defeat them.

Challenger’s Rune

The Concierge boss in Dead Cells for unlocking challenger's rune

Location: Black Bridge

Guardian: The Concierge

Use: This rune unlocks the Daily Challenge mode in Dead Cells. Collect it, and it’ll unlock the daily challenges next to The Scribe in the prisoner quarters, where you respawn at the beginning of a run.

How to find it: It’s simple…you have to defeat the game’s first boss, The Concierge. You’ll know him when you see him!

Unlocks: Daily Challenge

Vine Rune

dead cells image firing a bow

Location: Promenade of the Damned

Guardian: Undead Archer

Use: You’ve probably found these weird patches of vegetation on your travels. Enter the Vine Rune. The Vine Rune is the first you’ll find in Dead Cells and can be used to activate growing vines that you can climb to reach new areas.

How to find it: When you’re in the Promenade of the Damned, look for a door at the base of a large overhang. Enter, kill the enemy inside, and pick up your prize.

Unlocks: Ramparts, Toxic Sewers

Teleportation Rune

toxic sewers in Dead Cells

Location: Toxic Sewers

Guardian: Slasher

Use: Found these weird coffin-like monoliths but can’t activate them? The Teleportation Rune will allow you to teleport to a corresponding monolith nearby.

How to find it: Look for a room containing a switch. Activating the switch will open a door containing this rune, along with its Slasher guardian. Make sure you dodge a lot, look for an opening to get a few hits in, and repeat.

Unlocks: Ossuary, Forgotten Sepulcher, Dilapidated Arboretum, Morass of the Banished

Ram Rune

Location: Ossuary

Guardian: Elite Slasher

Use: The Ram rune will allow you to break certain floors marked with an orange symbol.

How to find it: Look for a room covered in spikes. A nearby switch will allow you access.

Unlocks: Ancient Sewers

Spider Rune

Dead cells slumbering sanctuary for spider rune

Location: Slumbering Sanctuary

Guardian: Elite Caster

Use: The Spider rune allows you to cling to walls just like its namesake, making traversal through the whole game that much cooler.

How to find it: Look for a room with a dropdown and a banner on the wall, then defeat the Elite Caster within.

Unlocks: Slumbering Sanctuary (if you entered the Slumbering Sanctuary from the Black Bridge/Nest), Graveyard, Prison Depths, Corrupted Prison

Explorer’s Rune

dead cells forgotten supulcher for explorer's rune

Location: Forgotten Sepulcher

Guardian: Two Dark Trackers

Use: The Explorer’s Rune allows you to see the entire map, including points of interest such as merchants, once you’ve explored most of an area.

How to find it: Right at the end of the Forgotten Sepulcher, right after fighting the two Elite Dark Trackers. You can’t miss it.

Unlocks: Map Reveal

Homonculus Rune

dead cells boss in cavern

Location: The Throne Room

Guardian: The Hand of the King

Use: The Homonculus Rune will allow you to separate your head from your body, which you can use to defeat enemies and access the Cavern area.

How to find it: Simply defeat the game’s final boss, the Hand of the King, in the Throne Room. Congratulations!

Unlocks: The Cavern

Oh, and for more tips and tricks, check out our ultimate Dead Cells guide.

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Alexander  Lockwood
Alexander Lockwood
Alexander is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for gaming in all its forms, but he gets particularly nerdy about Destiny, Final Fantasy, and Pokemon. When he isn't gaming, Alexander is a fiction writer working on his first novel, and a mental health advocate. Follow him on Twitter @lockwoodwrites.