Two Popular Fallout 76 Builds To Stop You From Dying In The Wasteland

Fallout 76 isn’t like Bethesda’s previous open-world RPGs. While those single-player adventures were somewhat forgiving campaigns that let you build your character however you wanted, the multiplayer spin-off is full of bullet sponge-y enemies that require you to focus on a particular skill set in order to survive the wasteland’s dangers. Two of the most popular builds are “stealth commando” and “heavy gunner PA.”

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Unlike other RPGs in which you take a linear upgrade path through a sequential skill tree, Fallout 76’s leveling system revolves around baseball card-like perk packs. Every level up from level four to 10 gives you a new pack of random cards. After that, you get new packs at every five levels. Every time you level up you also get to choose one “SPECIAL attribute” to increase. The higher the attribute, the more perk cards of that type you can have equipped at a given time.

This system makes it easy to become a jack of all trades and a master of none, which is why, like when progressing through any good roguelite, you want to make sure you’re choosing every new attribute and card with a particular build in mind. For purposes of survivability and being strong enough to more easily take down enemies and bosses, the key is to pick just one weapon type—melee, pistol, shotgun, automatic, heavy—and focus just on that. Nukes and Dragons is a great tool for planning out builds ahead of time.

This is where the stealth commando and heavy gunner PA (power armor) builds come in. Stealth commando focuses on automatic guns, being sneaky, and utilizing VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). The Commando cards are key, as they slot into the perception attribute and raise damage by 20 percent each. Agility cards like Sneak and Escape Artist help you stay in stealth while Covert Operative gives you a 2.5 damage multiplier for sneak attacks.

A screenshot shows perk cards for the Commando build.

Screenshot: Nukes and Dragons / Kotaku

Other key stealth commando build cards include: Concentrated Fire, Tank Killer, Ground Pounder, Critical Savvy, Better Criticals, Tormentor, and Gun Fu. Here’s a full build to use as a starting point that you can tweak as you level up. It works beautifully with the railway rifle unlocked at level 30 and purchased at Berkeley Springs Station.

Heavy gunner PA is a bit more difficult because it requires obtaining both heavy weapons and a power armor suit but is the Fallout fantasy most players probably envision when they first decide to start playing Fallout 76. This build prioritizes the strength and intelligence attributes with cards like Heavy Gunner, Blocker, Power Patcher, Fix It Good, and Stabilized. The last of those increases accuracy and ignores enemy defense, and is the key to unlocking the build.

A screenshot shows perk cards for the Heavy Gunner build.

Screenshot: Nukes and Dragons / Kotaku

Other perks, like Power Smith and Scrounger, can improve quality-of-life by making it easier to scavenge for ammo and supplies. Here’s a good heavy gunner PA guide to work off of. Two-handed weapons like the chainsaw and auto axe also work great with power armor builds. Other players swear by Holy Fire, a legendary flamethrower obtained from the Beasts of Burden event. That one requires level 30 as well.

These are just two of the most straightforward builds to help you explore the wasteland without flinching everytime you hear a Scorchbeast or spot a deathclaw. You’ll still need to do the hard work of rummaging for scrap, crafting gear, and staying healthy. But if you stick to one of these builds or settle on another, it should make your time in Fallout 76 less of a slog.


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