The Last of Us: Every type of infected explained

HBO’s adaptation of the widely popular apocalypse videogame series The Last of Us has gathered a lot of positive reviews from its audience. Fans of Joel and Ellie are ecstatic to see more about the duo’s adventure in a post-apocalyptic world filled with fungus-infected humans. Although the show is still well on its first season (four episodes in), many are already willing to play the game again. But, let’s get to know every type of infected first and see how the show could portray them in the future.


Did you know that it only takes two days until someone who got bit completely loses their mind? When a person is at the earliest stage of being infected by the cordyceps, they are called a “Runner”. As the name goes, these fungus-infected humans are extremely fast and aggressive. They also run alone or in groups but pose the least threat among all the types on our list.

The Last of Us RUNNERS

An infected with less than two weeks of infection is typically identified as a runner. Because of that, they still look like your usual zombie since the fungus hasn’t spread all over the brain yet.


Now, this is where it gets interesting. A person who has been infected for almost a year now becomes a stronger version – a Stalker. As the name suggests, stalkers like to hide and wait until they get a chance to attack their prey (it’s you mate, sorry).

Commonly, this type of zombie looks a bit terrifying since they look half human and half fungus. Sometimes, half of their head is split in two, giving way for the cordyceps. Don’t get them wrong as they’re even deadlier than runners. They’re also stronger and far more advance as they lurk around and they seem to be somewhat connected with a network of cordyceps.

The Last of Us TV adaptation has had the chance to feature the runners as well as the stalkers. The next one on our list quickly made the show as it already appeared in episode 2.

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After more than a year of being infected, cordyceps have already taken over the human body, especially the head. There’s nothing much left of it, except the mouth. And, since the eyes are no longer around, the so-called Clickers cannot see.

The Last of Us CLICKER

Despite their blindness, the Clickers heightened another sense – hearing. They’ve mastered “echolocation” so it would still be difficult to hide from these monstrous creatures. They can easily identify you with just a bit of sound so it’s best to move as quietly as possible. Additionally, they are called clickers due to the eery and terrifying “clicking” sound they make when trying to locate their prey. That same sound is probably the most iconic sound in The Last of Us video game series.


Live long enough as an infected and you’ll become one of these horrifying and anxiety-inducing monsters.

The Last of Us BLOATER

Several years after the infection, Clickers become stronger and evolve into a much stronger version, the Bloater or the Shambler. Bloaters can be easily identified due to their scary stature. They are humongous, terrifyingly ugly, filled with a lot of fungi, and obviously bloated. They may be slower due to their weight, but do not underestimate this type. Bloaters have superhuman strength and once they catch you, it’s an instant kill. They would either snap your neck, pound their hands on your face or break your head in half (through the jaw).

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Bloaters are also extremely tough due to the layers of fungi surrounding their body. As a result, they’re very hard to kill, unless you use a Molotov cocktail (that’s a tip!). But, there’s more! They can also rip the spores on their body and throw it unto you like a grenade, but filled with acid.

On the other hand, a shambler is pretty much the same as a bloater only they live on mushy and humid areas.

The “Rat King”

How could have the creators of this game conceived such a hideous abomination?

In the show’s second episode, Joel told Ellie that some of the infected have survived for about a month while others have been around since the pandemic began. Since the show has featured an era where the infection has already lasted for more than 2 decades, it would be safe to say we will be seeing something like the Rat King in future episodes.

The Rat King is probably the worst among all of the types. Imagine a group of clickers, runners, and stalkers all mixed together to form the super zombie. This type was only seen in The Last of Us Part II, hence we only know minimal details about it. It’s clear that after years of fungus infection, the cordyceps have also evolved and mutated to a stronger strain. It was gnarly when we saw it on PlayStation, how much more if HBO brought it to life on television!

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Sources: Polygon, The Last of Us (Fandom Wiki)

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