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The Lancer is the most technologically advanced Big Daddy that Rapture ever produced.
― Charles Milton Porter[src]

The Lancer is one of the five functional Big Daddies, introduced in the Minerva's Den downloadable content for BioShock 2. Its main weapon is the Ion Laser, and it can use an Ion Flash Attack to blind opponents. According to The Thinker, the Lancer is the most technologically advanced Big Daddy in Rapture.


Lancers have a much more stylized appearance than their brethren, their armor resembling a cross between Art Deco (the helmet is designed to resemble a Rapturian skyscraper) and the knights of the Middle Ages. Lancers have a cape attached to their upper torso, and save for a few clusters of barnacles their armor is in near-pristine condition. A gyroscope-like object serves as the valve on their oxygen tank, rather than the typical metal wheel.

Lancer "Moods"[]

The Lancer, like its more rustic counterparts, has three "moods" that may occur when the player encounters them. These moods appear as the color of the portholes on the Lancer's helmet.

  • Green Light: A Big Daddy under the effects of Hypnotize will produce a green light from their portholes. These Big Daddies are friendly to the player, and will protect them as if they were a Little Sister.
  • Yellow Light: A Big Daddy with yellow lights emanating from its portholes is neutral to the player, and will not attack them (if the player is in a neutral Big Daddy's path, though, he will knock the player away). By default, unscripted Big Daddies always start out in this mood. Some scripted Big Daddies spawn in other moods, but this is purely for the purpose of effect.
  • Red Light: A Big Daddy attacked by the player will produce a red light, and will immediately start attacking them. Their portholes will stay red until the player dies.


The Lancer has three types of attack:

  • Shoot: The Lancer's main attack, during which it fires its Ion Laser at the target.
  • Ion Flash: The Lancer's special attack, caused by overcharging the Ion Laser, temporarily blinds all enemies looking in the Big Daddy's direction in a white flash. Before initiating an Ion Flash, the Lancer will emit a high-pitched whistling sound, warning the player. Looking away from the Lancer during the Ion Flash will negate its effects.
  • Punch: At melee range, the Lancer will swing their Ion Laser at the enemy, dealing moderate damage and knockback. the damage listed in the table is most likely incorrect as it is based off the Bouncer.
Damage Table[1]
Ion Laser Punch
normal 20 damage 100


While many strategies may apply equally well to all Big Daddies, each type has their own particular characteristics worth noting, which may lead to specialized tactics.


  • Always ensure one has full Health, as well as a reliable supply of First Aid Kits, EVE and ammunition before fighting a Big Daddy, as these are one of the toughest enemies in the game.
  • It is recommended to study a Big Daddy's path and stalk them, so as to attack them where the player has the biggest advantage. Study the environment as well, so one is able to formulate a winning strategy of their many choices.
  • Always ensure one has complete control over the fighting area (i.e. the place is clear of Splicers and all Security Devices have been hacked). Loss of control might signify defeat in the later stages of a fight, depending on where the player may be led into/the Big Daddy has led them into.
  • Never take on another enemy while dealing with a Big Daddy, except in some unique cases (see below). If the player is forced to fight another enemy, take it down first and come back to the Big Daddy.
  • Little Sisters always stop to drain ADAM from any nearby corpse they find. Corpses can also be moved by the player, enabling them to choose where they want the Big Daddy they're targeting to halt.
  • Piling up several explosives onto a Big Daddy's path (preferably on top of an oil slick) and blowing it up at the right moment is a cheap and effective way of killing, or at least severely injuring, a Big Daddy. If the enemy survives, they will be on fire, which will drain their health continuously, but if a Big Daddy is to walk on one’s explosives, they will instantly know that the player has put them down, and will become enraged unless the player were to die and be resurrected in a Vita-Chamber.


  • Due to the lack of research bonuses in the DLC, Lancers are, in fact, the strongest variant among all Big Daddies, and have the potential to deal a very large amount of concentrated damage over time. On Medium difficulty, one may barely notice the differences, but on Hard, Lancers are much more durable and deadly than any enemies in the main game. Choosing the right ammo and launching a barrage of attacks at the beginning of a fight will allow the player to save up on First Aid Kits, depending on the area they are fighting in.
  • Take cover frequently, as the Lancer's main strength relies on being able to lay down continuous damage.
  • Listen carefully for a high-pitched whistling sound, as it's always the precursor to an imminent Ion Flash.
  • Security Bots are immune to the Ion Flash ability, and their relative commonness in Minerva's Den means that a pair of Bots is both an economic and effective way of boosting one's firepower against Lancers. Plus, the Lancer will focus on one Security Bot, which is its prime disadvantage when fighting against multiple enemies, making fights incredibly easier.
  • Use explosive barrels and fuel canisters to your advantage to take out the Lancer, as they will have an incredibly large hitbox, and will be damaged moderately from how many explosions the player can pack into the palooka.
  • Since the lancer lacks any area damage attacks, the use of mini-turrets in combination with 2 security bots will most likely kill the lancer (even on the hardest difficulty) without even having to waste a single bullet (apart from the mini-turrets, of which 2 are usually required for the strategy to work). The continuous fire of the mini-turrets and the security bots often 'stun-locks' the lancer, preventing it from attacking you or destroying the mini-turrets, and even if the lancer manages to kill the turrets, the bots will most likely finish the job. It is preferable to start the fight using the security command plasmid, that way it is more likely that the lancer will focus first on the mini-turret, since it is more likely to shoot first. If the turret is close to the lancer, he will try to melee it but due to the small size of the mini-turret, he will miss most of the time.

Recommended Plasmids[]


  • Hypnotize 3 is, obviously, a prime choice when faced with a Big Daddy, as it turns the hulking palooka into the player's bodyguard. It can also be used to put two Big Daddies against each other, which is both an entertaining and effective way of killing them, though one should keep distance away from the fights, as they could get heavily damaged if they get caught in the middle.
  • Incinerate! is recommended against Big Daddies, as a single cast will drain a significant portion of their health over time, depending on how upgraded that Plasmid is.
  • Telekinesis may come in handy if there are explosives lying around. It can also help the player formulate various different strategies (see above and below).
  • Electro Bolt will temporarily stun the Big Daddy, as well as deal increased damage with any other weapon or Plasmid (especially in water).
  • Insect Swarm will distract the Big Daddy as well as deal continuous damage, allowing the player to take potshots at it.
  • Winter Blast can help the player quickly dispatch a Big Daddy, as it stuns them and reduces the amount of damage needed to destroy them. However, their corpse will shatter, leaving behind no loot, unless they have upgraded it to Winter Blast 2 or 3, which they will leave behind a lockbox.
  • Security Command can single-handedly take down a Big Daddy if the player performs the following strategy:
    • First of all, hack a nearby Security Camera and stop the needle on a red zone to cause Security Bots to spawn and attack the player.
    • Secondly, paint/hit the target Big Daddy with Security Command (Note: as this deals no direct damage, this won't cause the Big Daddy to attack the player in any way).
    • By the end of the alarm, the Big Daddy will be either severely weakened or dead, without the player risking themselves at any point during the combat that they themselves have ensued on the Big Daddy, and it will be incredibly easy to take them out due to the Lancer preferring one target at a time.


  • Gravity Well will pin the Lancer in place, preventing them from breaching the player's cover/defenses and making it easier to turn away from them when they charge up an Ion Flash attack.

Recommended Weapons and Ammunition[]

Both the Power to the People stations and the research system are absent in Minerva's Den, resulting in a decrease in the player's damage output. Therefore, many weapons and ammunition are either inefficient or unsuitable to fight against Lancers. It is also very tough, if not impossible, to defeat a Lancer with only a single type of ammunition. Thus, it is suggested to combine different weapons and ammunition together in order to pin a Lancer down.

  • The new Laser Cells can damage Lancers at a constant speed, and due to the Ion Laser's high magazine capacity and pinpoint accuracy, they are reliable in a Big Daddy battle.
  • Burst Cells will take a huge chunk out of the Lancer's health, even allowing the player to kill them in four full bursts on lower difficulties. Be careful, though, as this will completely drain the player's ammo reserves and requires one to have the maximum 200 units of Burst Cells, and it will drain 50 after every fully-charged shot.
  • Armor-piercing and electric ammo deal increased damage against Big Daddies, and are therefore recommended.
  • The Drill is theoretically a very palatable choice, however, in this DLC the player can only upgrade it at the end of the second level. Normally there will be only one Lancer left afterward. Although the Drill is still capable of tearing large chunks of a Lancer's health, this strategy becomes both risky and expensive before it is upgraded. If the player has a high amount of EVE and spare money to spend on Drill Fuel, this weapon is still recommended.
  • Like the main game, explosives such as Rocket Spears and Heat-Seeking Rockets are extremely potent ordnance when it comes to disposing of a Lancer, and can eliminate one with the least amount of resistance, aside from reload speed.
  • Phosphorus Buck deals a high amount of damage and sets the target on fire. This makes it an effective weapon against Lancers, especially if used at the beginning of a fight.
  • Although Heavy Rivets and Solid Slugs deal more damage than their standard variants, Lancers are highly resistant to them on higher difficulties. Therefore they should only be used when the above suggested ammunition is running low. This also applies to Standard Spears.

Recommended Tonics[]


  • The Armored Shell line of Tonics will significantly reduce damage received from a Big Daddy's attacks, making this a very useful Gene Tonic to have during combat.
  • The EVE Saver line of Tonics will reduce the cost in EVE when casting Plasmids.
  • Medical Expert will increase medkit carry capacity by one, thus allowing the player to endure longer battles.
  • EVE Expert will increase EVE Hypo carry capacity by one, thus allowing the player to endure longer battles.


Behind the Scenes[]

  • Developer Steve Gaynor commented: "The golden version you saw in BioShock 2 was the 'ideal, perfect' version of a Big Daddy that the Little Sisters envision; the version that you'll meet in Minerva's Den is how they appeared in actuality: grimy and dangerous, like the rest of Rapture."[2]
  • In the Deco Devolution artbook, the developers mention the early design of this Big Daddy to be reminiscent of a knight in shining armor, dovetailing into its nickname as the "Lancer". A lance was a medieval weapon used by cavalrymen as is typically associated with European knights in jousting tournaments.[3]
    • The developers played around with adding a wind-up crank on the back since the design was based on "old time tin toys that are gorgeous and shimmering".