RDR2 Online Dead Eye - How it Works, Which Ability Cards to Pick

Dead eye in RDR2 Online doesn’t work the same way it does in singleplayer. A lot of people are confused by it, since they expected the same time-slowing mechanic from Red Dead Redemption 2 here. The way it works has been fundamentally changed, and now there are ability cards that change and enhance it in ways that simply weren’t available before. If you’re baffled by the whole system, our RDR2 Online dead eye guide will explain how it works, which ability cards do what.

rdr2 online dead eye
RDR2 Online Dead Eye – How it Works, Which Ability Cards to Pick

How dead eye works in RDR2 Online?

In the singplayer portion of Red Dead Redemption 2, dead eye was the abilty that allowed you to slow down time. While time was slowed, the screen would turn sepia, and you’d get the chance to mark a bunch of targets. You did this on a timer, and once you ran out, Arthur would fire a barrage, one bullet for each target you’ve marked. It’s was kinda like Robocop’s targeting system, and it was a great crutch if you had trouble aiming. It was also extremely useful when hunting, as it allowed you to shoot faster and more precisely than you would without it, which made taking down tough beasts like the Legendary Alligator a lot easier.

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You can forget about all that in RDR2 Online. First of all, the online version of dead eye doesn’t slow down time. This means there’s no aiming assistance involved, which is what has been confusing a lot of people. It would probably be impossible (or at least incredibly difficult) to allow one player to slow down time without slowing down time on the whole server, which would massively inconvenience everyone else (and not just the other participants in the fight).

Instead, what we got in Red Dead Online is a new system of character progression, with ability cards to unlock and equip. There are four ability card slots – one for dead eye, the other three passive. There’s a handful of cards you can choose from for each slot, and each one of them can be upgraded twice. In order to unlock a new card, you’ll have to reach a certain rank and shell out some cash. This makes the system a lot more customizable. Here are all the cards you can place in the dead eye slot, along with their effects:

Dead Eye Ability Cards

  • A Moment To Recuperate: While dead eye is active you slowly regenerate health. Taking any damage will cancel dead eye.
  • Focus Fire: While dead eye is active, you and your team members deal a little more damage. If more than one member of your team has this ability active, the effects do not stack.
  • Paint It Black: While dead eye is active you can paint targets onto enemies. Fire your weapon to shoot all marked targets. Each shot drains dead eye.
  • Slow and Steady: While dead eye is active, you take a little less damage and headshots don’t kill you instantly. You cannot run or sprint.
  • Quite an Inspiration: While dead eye is active you and your allies slowly regenerate health. The effects do not stack.
  • Slippery Bastard: While dead eye is active enemy players cannot lock onto you, and you cannot lock onto them. Other enemies are a little less accurate when shooting you. The rate at which your dead eye drains is dramatically increased.

Paint it Black is obviously closest to how dead eye works in the singleplayer part, but its usefulness is dubious. It’s not straight up bad, but having health regeneration is a much better choice for most people. That one, along with Slippery Bastard, is obviously meant for more skilled players, who can keep themselves out of harms way well enough without the health boosts or headshot prevention the other cards offer.

There are also passive ability cards that influence your dead eye. Keep an eye out for things like Eye For An Eye, which returns a bit of dead eye when you headshot enemies, or The Gift of Focus, which increases the effectiveness of items that refill your dead eye gauge.

If you end up getting stuck at another point, you might want to check out some of the other guides we have. We've written about mysteries like the missing person Gavin, the Rhodes Gunsmith prisoner, the locked door at Valentine doctor. We also have instructional guides that show how to rob stores without getting bounty or where to sell jewelry and gold bars. If it's collectibles or key items you're after, we've found all the Penny Dreadful comic books, Chick's treasure map location, or that famous pipe for Dutch. Finally, if you don't care to explore the map yourself, you could take a look at our Watson's Cabin and Catfish Jackson's Homestead locations guides. In the latest Red Dead Online Moonshiners Update you'll have a chance to find Navy Revolver and Best Shack Locations.

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  1. J

    I really enjoy the online part but I do think the shotguns are op and they should be but I was playing a 32 player most wanted match and killed 4 people in a row with 2 shots from 4m away and also shot a guy from around 11m and that might be a glitch but I am unsure at the moment. One way you could fix this is by making the shotguns rarer in matches and you can only find 2 in each map. Thank you for reading this.

    1. L

      Shotguns are OP but in close range in my experience, and this is fine I guess, same rules for everyone. I would like to see more objective based matches thou…

  2. T
    Tony Evans

    I have 3 tier cards slippery bastard unblinkable eye strange medicine. And never without one. All 3 tier so explain why my cards don’t work I loose my hat and I get shot in the head after two attempts. My friend has tier two cards the same. Kit takes four shots to the head. I have a few cards know I feel frustrated as it takes 4 or5 shots to kill someone it takes them one shot they haven’t ability card s on tier 1 2 and 3 but can kill me with one shot. Know I feel the game was balanced when it started and quite fair but somehow it’s gone like gta5 unpredictable explain if you shot me once depending were you shot me I might get back up but with a axe or a blade a arrow your dead in one shot or blow defines the logic of science and these ability card are a fucking joke stupid money witch I fought would give the upper hand on layers in the online mod and why buy guns Iv got eight but I can onley use certain bullets so what’s the point of buying Iv really had enough of being conned gta I’m going back on soon rockstar Want to sell this game on to Sony it has great pertencial just need a mans brain more so the some kid who hasent got a clue RDR1 failed I reckon rockstar will kill this great game eventually.

  3. M

    This article is waaay out of date. Dead Eye does slow down time Online in 2021. But it only does this like every 4th time you click on it.

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