Starfield: The 5 Best Combat Skills

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Starfield: The 5 Best Combat Skills

Starfield‘s five skill trees each offer a unique selection of character perks designed to alter or enhance the way you play the game. In some cases, they do this by providing flat bonuses to buff your damage or other attributes. In other cases, skills can actually unlock whole new mechanics or features. Since there is no way to respec in the game, you will want to put some thought into how you spend your skill points. With that in mind, we’ll be going over the best Combat skills to take in Starfield.

The Best Combat Skills in Starfield

The Combat tree focuses on skills that improve your effectiveness with weapons and grenades. Most of the skills in this tree affect a particular weapon or damage type, but some have broader applications, like the Targeting and Rapid Reloading skills.

This guide will list some of the best skills in the Combat tree and what they have to offer for your character build. We’ll work our way down to the best one.

Rifle Certification

Rifle Certification - take advantage of the most common weapons.
The Rifle Certification skill. (Image: Bethesda Game Studios via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

There are skills to buff every weapon type in Starfield, but the most useful of these is Rifle Certification. Rifles are very common and have a good mix of precision, power, and range. This skill is good for a sniper who wants to use a rifle with a scope, as well as anyone who plans to blast their enemies with automatic fire.

Ranks 1-3 of this skill each increase the damage you do with all kinds of rifles. Rank 4 speeds up your reloads if you stand still for a moment. Even if rifles aren’t your primary weapon, this can be a good skill to put a few points in if you’re trying to get to the higher tiers, as you can always just keep a rifle on hand as a backup weapon.


Sharpshooting - boost your critical damage by a stupid amount.
The Sharpshooting skill. (Image: Bethesda Game Studios via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

This skill is all the way in tier 4, so you’ll need to spend at least 12 skill points in the Combat tree before you can reach it. For your trouble you get some tremendous bonuses to your damage.

Rank 1 alone increases your headshot critical damage by 50%. If you’re able to make headshots a lot, that’s a huge buff. Rank 2 increases critical damage to legs, and rank 3 increases all critical damage even further. Rank 4 causes critical hit kills to increase your chance to crit again for 20 seconds.

All told, this skill can make you a total crit machine. True to it’s name, Sharpshooting is especially strong for a sniper build since you’ll be looking to make headshots and maximize the damage of every shot. That being said, it’s also a great skill for any other type of gun.


Demolitions - Starfield Best Combat Skills
The Demolitions skill. (Image: Bethesda Game Studios via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Here we have another skill that unlocks a whole new gameplay feature. Rank 1 of the Demolitions skill allows you to visualize the trajectory of grenades when you throw them. You’ll be able to see exactly where they’ll go, which will help you to aim better and maximize their damage.

On top of that, each rank enhances your affinity for explosives in some way. Rank 1 increases the explosion’s radius, rank 2 increases its damage, and rank 3 reduces the damage you take from all kinds of explosives. Rank 4 doubles all of these bonuses.

None of this will be particularly useful if you never utilize throwables, but if you do, it’s an excellent skill to invest in.


Incapacitation - Starfield Best Combat Skills
The Incapacitation skill. (Image: Bethesda Game Studios via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

EM weapons offer a means to deal non-lethal damage to your enemies, taking them out of commission while keeping your conscience clear. This is an approach that will appeal to many peace-minded players. If that’s you, you’ll want to take this skill.

Ranks 1-3 of the Incapacitation skill simply increase the damage you do with EM weapons, speeding up the process of incapacitating your targets. Rank 4 gives your EM weapons a chance to do a whopping 300% increased damage.


Ballistics - Starfield Best Combat Skills
The Ballistics skill. (Image: Bethesda Game Studios via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Old-fashioned bullets may not be flashy, but they get the job done and make up the vast majority of the weapons you’ll encounter in Starfield. If you’re not sure how you want to build your character just yet, you can’t go wrong with the Ballistics skill. It will give you a solid foundation for any type of ranged weapon you choose.

Ranks 1-3 of the Ballistics skill each increase the damage you do with bullet-based weapons by an additional 10%. Rank 4 increases the range of these weapons by 30%. That last rank makes this skill especially powerful for sniping, but it can be useful for any other type of gun as well. Shotguns have a particularly short range by default, so a shotgun specialist may also want to invest in this skill.

Ballistics is a tier 1 skill, so you can put points into it right away, and it’s a great way to unlock the higher tiers in the Combat tree.

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Thanks for reading! We hope this guide has helped you choose the best Combat skills for your character in Starfield. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!

Happy gaming!


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