There’s a wide variety of perks, mutations, and weapons for you to play around with in Fallout 76. With all of the changes that Fallout 76 brought to the franchise – increased SPECIAL stats, multi-star legendaries, etc – you’ll never run out of possibilities for some new builds. But whether or not those builds are viable enough to take on the challenges ahead is a different question.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of our best and favorite builds in Fallout 76. We will be ranking them based on what we think are the most effective to use and the most enjoyable to play with.
We’ll be giving you just a basic introduction to these builds, discussing the needed SPECIAL stats and a few essential perks to get you started.
Overview of Builds in Fallout 76
Before we dive into our ranking, let’s first briefly go over how builds work in Fallout 76. In this section, we will be discussing some of the different stats and things about your character you can tweak in order to make the most out of your play style. If you are new to Fallout 76 and don’t know how things work, you are not going to want to skip over this section.
First and foremost, we have the SPECIAL system. SPECIAL stats are attributes, which you are probably familiar with in order RPGs. There are seven of them in Fallout 76, and each one governs a certain set of stats. Additionally, the perk cards you can use (more on that later) are determined by your SPECIAL stats. The seven SPECIAL attributes and their effects are as follows:
- Strength: Affects damage done by melee weapons, as well as carrying capacity.
- Perception: Primarily affects your chance to hit a target when using VATS.
- Endurance: Determines your health, as well as your resistance to diseases and action point drain rate.
- Charisma: Affects the prices of items when you trade with NPCs, and “allows you to share higher point perk cards.”
- Intelligence: Determines your experience points earned as well as the condition of weapons and armor that you craft.
- Agility: Higher agility grants you more action points, which affects how long you can sprint and how much you can use VATS.
- Luck: Primarily affects your critical hit recharge rate in VATS, as well as the quality of the items you find in the wasteland.
Next up, we have perk cards. These are special abilities that will boost your stats and can even give you special abilities. You can swap these in and out, allowing you to experiment with different play styles.
Each perk card is tied to a different SPECIAL stat, and how high a SPECIAL stat determines how many perk cards you can have equipped in that category. For example, the Nerd Rage perk is tied to intelligence and requires you to have at least 3 Intelligence for its max rank.
That is more or less the basics when it comes to your character’s stats. There are other things in the game that affect your play style–weapons, armor, mutations, etc–but we won’t be going into depth on those in this guide.
7 Best Builds in Fallout 76, Ranked Good to Best
So without any more delays, let’s hop right into this article for the top 7 best builds in Fallout 76.
Adrenaline Gunslinger Build
First up on our list, we have the Adrenaline Gunslinger. If you never bothered to do a Gunslinger build in Fallout: New Vegas or Fallout 4, then here’s your chance to try one out in Fallout 76! While pistols are definitely one of the weaker weapons in Fallout 76, they can become incredibly strong and as viable as any of the other weapons in the game with the right perks and builds.
If you do this build, you’ll be mostly using lightweight pistols to quickly run into a room, wipe out all enemies with VATS, and then run out before anything knows what hit them. To make this build work, you will need to level up your Agility and Luck primarily. Get both of them up to the max rank of 15 as soon as possible if you want to get all the best perks for this build. Speaking of which…
Gunslinger is the most important perk card for this build, increasing all damage with non-automatic pistols. Gun Runner is another great perk card, as it will increase your running speed by 20% if you are carrying a pistol. Lastly, the most important perk I will recommend to you is Adrenaline. With this perk, you’ll gain increased damage for a short period of time after getting a kill. This damage can reach +60% at max rank, so you can easily put out a lot more damage than most would expect.
Explosives Specialist Build
Moving onto our next choice, we have the Explosives Build! Explosives builds have always been very fun to play in any Fallout game, and that’s just as true in Fallout 76. If we were just ranking this list off of fun factor and nothing else, then this build would definitely be in spot number 1! Unfortunately, this build isn’t something that many players are using, which is a real shame. If you want to try it yourself, here’s what you’ll need.
With this play style, you’ll be using a lot of explosive weapons. Grenades are a common weapon choice for this build, but so are Explosive Heavy Guns. Those will be your primary weapons, but I do recommend you keep an automatic rifle (or something similar) as a backup in case you run out of ammo for your main weapons. To make this build work, invest your attribute points into Intelligence and Strength, getting both of them to max rank.
Demolition Expert is the first perk you’ll want to get. It’s found under the Intelligence tree and will increase your explosives damage significantly. Ammosmith is another great perk card to get, allowing you to make more ammo when crafting at a workbench. This is immensely useful, as this build does burn through ammunition. Third and finally, I recommend that you get the Stabilized perk. If you’re wearing power armor with this perk, your heavy weapons will ignore some of your enemy’s armor AND gain a nice boost to accuracy.
Stealth Commando Build
For the next one on this ranking, let’s talk about the Stealth Commando. This was one of my favorite play-styles in Fallout 4, but do I think it’s worth doing in Fallout 76? Yes! Stealth Commandos are one of the most underrated and underused builds in Fallout 76. They’re definitely not meta-defining, but they’re still fantastic if you enjoy a PvE style of play.
If you choose to play a Stealth Commando, you’ll mainly be using automatic rifles to deal high DPS to enemies. Naturally, you’ll use stealth to stay in the shadows, allowing you to avoid damage while also dealing sneak attack damage to enemies. For this build, I recommend you level up your Perception, Agility, and Luck in that order. Get your Perception and Agility up to max rank, and get your Luck up to about 12 or so.
The Commando perk increases your damage with automatic rifles and is a must-get for this particular build. After that, you’re going to want to acquire the Ground Pounder perk card for a noticeable increase to your reload speed and hip-fire accuracy with automatic rifles. The third mandatory perk for this build is the Covert Operative perk. With this, you’ll deal increased sneak attack damage to enemies with all of your ranged weapons.
VATS Stealth Sniper Build
Up next is my personal favorite build on this list. This is the one that I did for my first playthrough of Fallout 76, and I still use it on my main character to this day. I am of course talking about the VATS Stealth Sniper build! It wouldn’t be a Bethesda game unless you could do a sneaky ranged build, right? Stealthy sniper builds are not as popular in Fallout 76 as they were in past games, but they’re still just as fun to play.
With this play-style, you’ll be using primarily single-shot long guns to deal high damage to targets at a distance. You’ll be in VATS more often than not, using your critical hits to deal massive damage to anything unfortunate enough to cross your sights. This sniper build in particular specializes in Perception, Luck, and Agility in that order. Perception and Luck should be at 15, and you can level up your Agility based on what perks you decide to get.
The first perk card you’ll want to get is the Rifleman, which will level up the damage done with non-automatic sniper rifles. Another great perk to get is Better Criticals to increase the damage done with your critical hits, which is a must-have since this build is very VATS-focused. You should also get the perk card, Critical Savvy. With this, each time you do a critical hit it will consume less of your meter. Meaning that you can recharge it and have another critical hit ready much faster!
One-Handed Melee Gladiator Build
Taking the next spot on this list, let’s discuss the One-Handed Melee build. This is one of several different melee weapon builds, and this one is in my opinion the best there is. Melee builds are something that I’ve usually neglected in Fallout games of the past, but recently I’ve learned just how fun they are to mess around with. If you’ve been sleeping on melee builds as well, then this is the perfect one for you to test the waters with.
This is a very up-close-and-personal build that sees you using one-handed weapons to deal high DPS to enemies. Your attacks will be pretty fast, which is important for quickly finishing off your targets. This build is typically paired best with power armor, as you will likely be taking a lot of damage when you charge into situations head-on. For the SPECIAL stats, you need to have high Strength and Endurance, as well as decent Agility. Get these stats to 15, 15, and 10 respectively.
For perks, the Gladiator is the first and more important one. This will increase your damage with one-handed melee weapons, allowing them to become more effective. Lifegiver is another great perk, as it increases your maximum health. I also recommend the Agility perk Action Boy/Action Girl to increase the rate at which your action points regenerate. This is important to have as this is a fairly AP-hungry play style.
Any Bloodied Build
And coming up next on this list, we have any bloodied build. This isn’t really one build, but something that you can adjust and apply to some of the other builds that we have mentioned on this list. Bloodied builds are one of the most popular things to do in Fallout 76 and have been the meta basically since the game was first released. Despite several nerfs to the weapons used in these kinds of builds, they’re still incredibly popular.
This is a high-risk, high-reward glass cannon play-style. A bloodied build is any build centered around using a weapon that has the bloodied modifier. With this modifier, your weapon will do increased damage to enemies, dealing more damage the lower your health is. While it allows you to deal very high damage, it also limits how much damage you can take yourself. You can turn almost any build in this game into a bloodied build with the right perks. Speaking of the right perks, why don’t we go over some?
The first perk that I recommend you grab is Nerd Rage. This is an Intelligence-based perk card that increases your damage resistance, action-point regeneration speed, and damage output when you are below 20% health. Next up, we have Serendipity. If you take this Luck-based perk, you will have a chance to negate damage when your health is below 30%. Last but not least, Dodgy is another great perk to have. This will make it so that you will take less damage with each hit, at the cost of your AP.
Heavy Weapons Tank Build
And finally, in first place on our ranking, we have none other than the Heavy Weapons Tank build! This is without a doubt one of the most popular builds in all of Fallout 76. In literally every public event that I’ve ever been to in recent memory, there has been one, if not several other players running this build. And they aren’t using it just for fun: this is one of the meta builds. If you’re looking to maximize your survivability and damage, I highly suggest this build for you.
With this play-style, you will be an absolute tank, able to take any and all damage that is thrown your way. You’ll also be able to deal large amounts of damage as well, making you incredibly strong in all situations. This is a great play style for both PvP and PvE situations. For this build, you should get high Strength, high Intelligence, and high Luck. Get your Strength to 15, your Intelligence to at least 10, and your Luck to around 10 as well.
The Heavy Gunner perk card is the first one we recommend. By taking this perk, you will do increased damage with all of your heavy non-explosive weapons. Another great perk is Bear Arms, which will make your heavy guns weigh significantly less. Finally, get Stabilized. At max rank, your heavy guns will gain increased accuracy and ignore almost half of your enemy’s armor! Just keep in mind that you need to be wearing Power Armor for it to work.
Join the High Ground!
We hope that you enjoyed reading this article on the Top 7 Best Builds in Fallout 76! What are your thoughts on our picks for the best builds? Be sure to let us know your favorite down in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more content!