Red Dead Redemption 2 – How to Level Up Ability Cards Fast

This guide tells you how to level up ability cards while gaining EXP and MONEY at the same time, fast and without being weak in PVP.

Also, this guide is always effective, no matter if you are playing in broken empty lobbies or if you are playing in a lobby of 25+ players. Since Legendary Bounties are solo lobby always and Van Horn and Thief’s Landing always have enemy NPCs.


  • Bounty Hunter role for 10-15 gold bars
  • Any Sniper rifle
  • Pump shotgun or any other shotgun

Upgrade Costs

1st Level Cards cost $50, 2nd Level $350, 3d $500 making it a total of $900 to upgrade a card.

1st Level Cards cost 0 EXP, 2nd Level Cards cost 10.000 EXP and 3d 15.000 EXP.

Yukon Nik Legendary Bounty

Equip all the cards that you want to level, after you’ve purchased them for initial $50. If you want to level 4 cards at the same time, I say do it. The faster the better, but you might not have enough cash to level them all up once you get the EXP so it is good to have other ways of income, like Condor’s Egg I mentioned in my other guide, Moonshiner, or Trader.

If you got any leveled cards and you are leveling less than 4 cards, then equip any damage boost/recovery cards or healing cards (healing cards can be very useful during PVE fights like these as enemies have good aim and hit rough). Don’t forget to bring a few healing tonics just in case.

So you want to do this bounty mission every time it cools down after 45 minutes of you having completed it. You should start a timer of 30 minutes from the start of the mission to know when to turn it in for maximum gold and cash rewards.

This mission is my favorite because it is the easiest and it is the best for EXP because it has a lot of goons to kill and loot. Besides, you get additional EXP load after beating a legendary bounty. But the reason I advise you to do this, is because it gives you EXP and MONEY and at the same time, letting you level cards that much faster than by just grinding either. Especially if you do not have any money making strategies.

If playing on KB+M, I suggest you go into controller settings and set aiming to Free Aim both on Horse and Foot for extra EXP per kill.

First, go on the cliff overlooking the Yukon’s fort and hide behind this tree. It is the largest tree up there, perfect elevation to snipe everyone down. The cliff is on the way towards Great Plains.

Like this:

After most enemies are down, make your way to the fort and kill remaining enemies, beware of dogs in front of the shack. Do not let bears out of the cages or “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa” is going to happen.

Once all enemies are down a cutscene will play and Nik.

Will come out of his hut with a hostage. You gotta shoot Nik several times in the sawed off shotgun. If you hit the hostage, do not worry, who cares if he lives. Anyway, shoot him around 3 times with a navy revolver in the sawed off and he will drop his gun and lie wounded on the ground. Tie him up and bring him inside the shack.

There is a total of 3 waves of goons during this mission. You’ve already cleared 1 wave. The 2nd wave will arrive soon after you tie Nik up. I like to put him in the hut so I do not accidentally target him with right click like you would target a horse for interaction sometimes, during a firefight, which is very annoying.

So you gotta do everything fairly quick, not to be ambushed by those guys.

Anyway, hide in the shack, it will be your outpost of defense against 2 final waves of poachers. Go in 1st person mode as it is easier to shoot in that mode when you are in confined spaces. You can use both shotgun and sniper rifle from inside the shack. It is a perfect defense spot. It has 2 doorways and doors close. When doors are closed enemies usually do not attack you or even come inside. So try having only 1 door open at a time. You can shoot through windows, and holes in the shack, enemies won’t usually do that or will miss horribly. Proceed to clear the enemies. Do not let bears out as they will steal your kills and XP.

Once you’ve dealt with this 2nd wave of enemies you probably think you are safe. Well you’re not. Leave Nik inside the shack and venture outside the red borders I’ve shown on the pic below. And run back to the shack very very fast as more enemies will come to fight you in the same fashion as during wave 2. Wave 3 is likely to catch people leaving with Nik off guard on their horse in a field without the protection of the shack.

Picture with me standing shows approximately how far you have to go before turning back, and running as fast as you can inside the shack. Do not waste time, once you reach the red border the enemies are already coming for you with aimbot aim and numbers. That is especially deadly on final difficulties. But this bounty is still the easiest and best to play.

They do not immediately show up so that may deceive you into thinking you did not go far enough but I suggest you venture out and run back inside. Overtime you will get an idea of how far you have to go before returning to the shack.

Once all enemies are dead and looted, pick up Nik and go to Great Plains, there I suggest you hunt animals for EXP and Meat, especially good if you find an entire herd of Bison which I find there very often. By the way, legendary missions are always in a complete solo session so animal spawns are always good. Your aim is to make sure you spend a total of 30 minutes in the mission from the start to get maximum rewards and then turn in the bounty in Blackwater.

Once bounty is turned in there is 45 minutes cooldown before you can do any legendary bounty again. I suggest you just do this over and over.

Grinding Thief’s Landing or Van Horn

I always liked grinding those 2 locations because they have non-police enemies that give you actual EXP for killing them. Even more EXP with Free Aim targeting. And the great thing about those 2 is that they respawn very fast, practically when you turn a corner and lose sight of their spawn points. They also give you loot. So just shoot everyone up and while you are roaming the area, patrolling, looting more will spawn. So you are able to endlessly kill enemy NPCs for EXP and loot. And it works in sessions which have 25+ players too. Maybe it works better if you are the only person there so you can turn off social setting but as of writing this guide the lobbies are empty and broken.

My favorite is Thief’s Landing.

In Thief’s Landing, Del Lobo’s never call the police. Only occasional rare strangers can call police so kill them fast and enjoy shootouts without police interference. There are higher chances of police in Van Horn.

Just do that until you can start another Yukon Nik mission.

Final Advice

Make sure you always have the cards you are trying to level equipped when you are turning in Collector’s Set, or Completing Dailies for large EXP gains, finding treasure, picking up collectibles, resetting awards for gold. Or whenever you know you are about to get a lot of EXP, maybe completing a trader delivery, just have those cards equipped in your loadout.

Originally posted by ZER0_K

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