Fallout 76 undoubtedly brought about significant changes to the Fallout formula. It shipped without any human NPCs, overhauled perks, and allowed players to enjoy the game with their friends. One of the things that also sets Fallout 76 apart from its predecessors is the inclusion of mutations.
Now, you may be wondering, what exactly are mutations, and how can you acquire them? Additionally, out of the 19 mutations available in the game, which ones are truly worth obtaining? Don’t worry, we’ll provide answers to all of these questions in this article as we list and rank all the mutations in Fallout 76.
Overview of Mutations in Fallout 76
Before we dive into the article, let’s give a brief rundown of what exactly mutations are, how you get them, and what perks to combine them with. Mutations are similar to traits from past Fallout games. They are “perks” (for lack of a better term) that have both a positive and a negative effect. For example, one mutation might give you better damage resistance, but reduce your damage output.
How to Get Mutations in Fallout 76
There are several ways one can acquire a mutation. You have a small chance of getting a random one while taking radiation damage. You can also purchase a specific mutation from the Whitesprings Bunker or from player vendors. And you can craft serums, which are consumable items that you can apply to get a specific one. Plans for serums can also be found at the Whitesprings Bunker.
There is nothing stopping you from having all of the mutations at once on your character (except for Herbivore & Carnivore, those two are mutually exclusive from each other). Of course, whether or not you want all those mutations is a different question.
How to Remove Mutations in Fallout 76
If you decide that mutations aren’t for you, you can get rid of all of them by going to the Whitesprings Bunker and using their contamination chamber. This will remove all of the mutations on you, regardless of what effects you may have.
Alternatively, you can use RadAway or a personal decontimination station at your CAMP to remove mutations. Each time you use one of the options, there is a chance that it will remove a single, random mutation.
How to Keep Specific Mutations in Fallout 76
If you’re happy with your current setup of mutations and don’t want to lose any (or gain any more), you’ll want to equip the Starched Genes perk card. At maximum rank (2), it will prevent you from randomly acquiring a new mutation when exposed to radiation and from losing any of your current mutations when you use RadAway.
All Mutations in Fallout 76, Ranked Worst to Best
So with all that out of the way, let’s dive right into the ranking of every mutation!
Kicking off our list, we’ve got the Chameleon mutation – a stealth-based mutation that can render your character completely invisible. The catch is that you must remain completely motionless and unarmored for it to work.
It’s a high-risk mutation that, in my opinion, isn’t worth the trouble. With the appropriate stealth perks, you can still have a highly covert character without the drawbacks of this mutation. While being stealthy is advantageous, you should still have some armor handy in case you get detected.
Obtaining Unstable Isotope causes your character to occasionally inflict radiation damage on nearby enemies when struck by a melee attack. The catch is that you’ll also take some damage from the radiation yourself.
Personally, I don’t think this mutation is worth the hassle. There’s another mutation called Electrically Charged that achieves essentially the same effect, but with electric damage instead of radiation. Based on my experience, electric damage is generally more effective. Therefore, I’d suggest going for Electrically Charged instead.
Next up on the list is Plague Walker, which deals poison damage to nearby enemies. The amount of damage increases with the number of diseases you have, up to a maximum of four. The obvious downside is that you need to have a disease to deal damage.
I’m on the fence about this mutation. On one hand, it can be an effective way to deal additional damage if you’re a melee user. You can utilize any four diseases to trigger the buff, and many of the diseases in the game are relatively mild. Nonetheless, I don’t believe that this mutation is worth it because there are too many severe diseases in the game that you might contract.
Moving on to Healing Factor, an intriguing mutation that I personally believe is overhyped. This mutation significantly boosts health regeneration by 300%. However, it comes at the cost of reducing the effectiveness of chems, including Stimpaks, by 55%.
The health regeneration only takes place when you’re out of combat, rendering it essentially useless in situations like Daily Ops where combat is constant. The 55% reduction in Stimpak effectiveness is a major drawback. Unless you have the Class Freak perk, I recommend skipping this mutation and relying on manual healing. Stimpaks are abundant, after all.
Coming up next is the Egg Head Mutation! By taking this mutation, your character receives a substantial boost of +6 intelligence. This allows you to level up quicker, obtain more components when you scrap items, and so on. However, you’ll also lose 3 points each of strength and endurance.
This mutation confers the most significant intelligence boost in the game, making it an excellent choice if you want to level up faster. The reduction in health from the -3 endurance may not be a problem if your build is more ranged-oriented.
Moving on to Bird Bones. This mutation causes your character to descend more slowly when falling from high places. Additionally, you gain a bonus of 4 points to agility. However, you’ll take extra limb damage and experience a decrease of 4 points to strength.
If you’re aiming for a VATS-focused build, this is a pretty good mutation to have. The extra action points from the agility boost are a great addition. While slower falling isn’t particularly beneficial, the extra limb damage isn’t often a concern. However, the -40 carry weight from the strength debuff is certainly a drawback.
Now let’s discuss Electrically Charged. This mutation gives you a chance to send an electric shock to enemies when they hit you with a melee attack. However, part of the charge will also damage you.
In my opinion, this is a useful perk to have if you’re using a build with high health or endurance. Being able to deal some damage back to an attacking enemy can come in handy. And if you have a lot of health, the debuff won’t have much of an impact on your health bar.
Moving on to the next spot in this Fallout 76 mutations guide, we have Talons. Talons is a melee-based mutation that causes all of your unarmed attacks to inflict bleed damage. It also gives you a flat damage buff of +25% for unarmed attacks. However, the drawback of Talons is that you will lose 4 points of agility.
Agility is a valuable special stat to have for VATS builds since it increases how many AP points you have, which you consume each time you swing your fists. But if you are solely doing an unarmed build, chances are you won’t be using VATS that often. Overall, the damage buff from Talons is worth the drawbacks, as most of the time, you’ll be able to kill an enemy before running out of AP.
The Twisted Muscles mutation is great for a pure melee build as it increases melee weapon damage by +25% and the rate at which you cripple enemy limbs. However, it comes at the cost of reducing gun accuracy by 50%.
If you aren’t planning on using guns to begin with, then the accuracy de-buff is completely inconsequential to you. Plus, the ability to cripple enemy limbs more often is incredibly useful when fighting certain enemies.
Our next mutation is one that affects only consumable items. With the Herbivore mutation, you can enjoy a boost of +100% to all the bonuses that you receive from consuming fruits and vegetables. However, you won’t be able to satisfy your hunger or gain any benefits from eating meat products.
This is an interesting perk that could work well depending on your CAMP setup. If you have a large garden with plenty of vegetables and water pumps for making soup, then this mutation could be quite useful. However, I prefer not to take this mutation as meat is abundant in the game and generally easy to come by.
With Carnivore applied, all bonuses from eating meat will increase by +100%. Moreover, your chance of getting a disease when consuming meat is reduced to 0! However, this comes at the cost of completely removing all positive effects of eating non-meat items.
I’d say Carnivore is a better mutation to have than Herbivore. In Appalachia, you’ll encounter a lot of animals, so running low on food shouldn’t be an issue. Especially since your hunger bar will fill up twice as fast when eating meat.
Next up, we have the Scaly Skin mutation! It will increase your resistance against both ballistic and energy weapons by +50, making you more durable. On the other hand, you will lose 50 action points as a drawback.
If you are looking to create a tank build that can take a lot of damage, then Scaly Skin is a great mutation to have. However, if you rely on using VATS to take out enemies, the -50 to AP will make it more difficult.
The next mutation on our list is Adrenal Reaction, which increases your weapon damage when your health drops below 90%. The downside of this mutation is that it reduces your maximum health by 50 points. To put this in perspective, if you have an endurance of 5, your health will be reduced to 250.
Although losing 50 points of health might seem like a significant drawback, it’s not that big of a deal in practice. Given how many enemies in the game are bullet sponges, it can only help to increase your damage output. This is an excellent mutation for glass-cannon builds or any build looking to maximize damage output.
Next up is Empath! With this mutation, any other players on your team will take 25% less damage from enemy attacks. The drawback of this perk is that you will receive an additional +33% more damage.
If you are building a tanky support character, I highly recommend this mutation. You can boost your character’s endurance and equip them with sturdy power armor to help offset the increased damage taken. This makes you a valuable asset to any team.
For those of you who are into VATS sniper builds, we have a mutation that might interest you. This next mutation will increase your perception by 4 points and your critical damage by exactly +50%. However, it also has a downside: you will lose 4 points of strength, resulting in a -40 to your carrying capacity.
I really like using this mutation, as my own build is very focused on critical hits in VATS. The +4 perception is a nice bonus as well. Losing 4 points of strength isn’t too big of a deal if you aren’t running a melee build. However, as previously mentioned, the loss of carrying capacity can be a pain.
Next up in this ranking of all mutations in Fallout 76 is Grounded. This mutation increases your resistance to energy attacks by a massive +100 points! However, the downside is that all damage done with energy weapons is now halved.
If you’re not using an energy weapons build, Grounded is a no-brainer. It’s essentially a free +100 energy resistance with no drawbacks. But if you are relying on energy weapons, then you should obviously avoid this perk.
Up next on this Fallout 76 mutations guide is my personal favorite: Marsupial. This mutation grants players an increase in jump height and +20 carry weight. However, it comes with a drawback: players will lose 4 points of intelligence, which noticeably reduces their XP gained.
Having the ability to jump higher is not only cool but also really useful. It allows you to reach hard-to-get places, bypassing areas you need to traverse. You can also get a better position for shooting enemies and avoid getting hit by melee attackers. If you’ve reached the point where you’re not concerned about leveling up, you should definitely try out this mutation.
Next up is Speed Demon, easily one of the best mutations in Fallout 76. Once applied, it increases both your movement and reload speed by +20%. However, this comes at the cost of increasing the rate at which your thirst and hunger bars go down by +50% while you move.
The ability to move and reload faster is a game-changer for any non-melee build. The debuff isn’t a huge issue, as food and water are easy to find in Fallout 76. It’s a small price to pay for the significant boost in speed and efficiency.
In first place, we have the mutation Herd Mentality! With this mutation, you gain +2 points to every single one of your SPECIAL stats when you are part of a team. The drawback is that you lose 2 points from each of your SPECIAL stats when you travel solo.
This is a great mutation to have for all kinds of players, even solo ones, because you don’t actually need to be near another player to get the benefits. You just need to be on a team. You can join any random casual team in a public session and still get the +2 to your stats.
Join The High Ground!
We hope you found this guide to all the mutations in Fallout 76 useful! What are your thoughts on this list? Do you think one of the mutations deserves to be ranked higher (or lower)?
Be sure to let us know your thoughts down in the comments section below. And while you are at it, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more regular content on Fallout 76.