The Best Cyberpunk 2077 Character Builds

The Best Cyberpunk 2077 Character Builds

XBA Staff

Deciding what build you want to create in Cyberpunk 2077 is half the battle. There are a ridiculous amount of choices, whether you want to play stealthy, be more up, close and personal, become a hacker or just run around like a loony with a shotgun, the choice is yours.

Because there’s a ton of choices, you may be asking yourself “what are the best character builds in Cyberpunk 2077?”, especially now since the new 1.5 patch changed a few things. Fear not, folks, we’ve got you covered. Here’s some of the best builds in Cyberpunk 2077, and how you achieve said builds. And these builds are good for even the hardest difficulty!

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The Hitman:

The silent assassin hitman build is perhaps our favourite build in Cyberpunk 2077. Sure, it’s incredibly fun to be a hacker, but running around in the shadows with a silenced pistol doing crazy crit damage is incredibly satisfying, and can make most encounters an absolute breeze. So, what does it take to build the “hitman” build?

Recommended Stats:
The important attributes you’re going to want to invest in for this build are Reflexes, mainly for the Handguns perks, and Cool, for the stealth aspect of the build. Whatever you put the rest of the points in is up to you. Can I suggest either Technical Ability (for crafting and shortcuts) or Intelligence (for hacking if you want to use Memory Wipe to re-enter stealth status). The Technical Ability is more fitting and complementary when it comes to stealth though.

Recommended Perks:
From the handgun (Reflexes) tree:
High Noon (increases crit chance with pistols and revolvers) (3 levels)
Rio Bravo (increases headshot damage multiplier with pistols and revolvers) (3 levels)
Wild West (removes damage penalty from pistols and revolvers when shooting from a distance)
Brainpower (a successful headshot gives you a crit chance boost for 5 seconds)
Desperado (increase pistol and revolver damage) (3 levels)
From Head to Toe (more damage to limbs with pistols and revolvers) (2 levels)
Westworld (increases crit chance by 5% if a pistol/revolver is fully modded)

From the ninjitsu (Cool) tree:
Silent & Deadly (25% increase for silenced weapon damage)
Crouching Tiger (20% movement speed while sneaking)
Sniper (increases headshot damage out of combat) (2 levels)
Ghost (detection time is increased) (2 levels)
Assassin (15% more damage against human enemies)
Strike From The Shadows (7% crit chance increase while sneaking)

Recommended Equipment:
Honestly, the best weapon for this build is quite simply the Overture, a standard hand cannon, which thus makes it one of the easiest builds to get the equipment for. This is because it does decent per bullet damage, and this build is basically based on hitting crits with headshots, while hidden. You can buy the uncommon crafting blueprint for the Overture at a weapon vendor in The Badlands, south of Night City, to the east of the industrial/farming zone. Then all you need is a silencer, the rarer the better. Try Wilson’s gun shop in V’s Megabuilding. This is because equipping one means that damage is multiplied while being hidden (common silencers do x2 damage, uncommon do x2.5, etc.). With the crit damage you have through the perks, this means you’re golden. Is your weapon getting too weak though? Then craft a new one. It’s how this build scales as you go through the difficulties.

In terms of extra equipment, install a Synaptic Accelerator Cyberware (for your nervous system), which slows down time when you’re about to get discovered. And finally, Memory Wipe might be a good back-up, if you want to plunge back into the shadows after being detected, although not essential.

Also, make sure your pistol is always fully modded (to get the extra boost from the Westworld perk), and make sure you always equip armor/clothes and mods for said clothes, that boost your crit chance percentage/crit damage. 

Recommended Playstyle:
The aim of this build is to be able to one-tap everyone with a stealthy headshot. So, in short: rock up on your objective, ping the enemies to get a lay of the land, and then slowly pick off the ones around the outside, who are on their own, and then slowly move in taking out enemies from the shadows, one at a time. If you have two enemies together, then use the Distraction ability (a Quickhack for your Cyberdeck) and/or take advantage of the time slow down because of the Synaptic Accelerator kicking in just before you’re detected. The beauty of the Accelerator is that it’s very obvious when you’re about to be detected too, so when it triggers you can duck behind cover/take out the enemy about to detect you stop the situation escalating. It’s an incredibly powerful build, and the pistol pretty much works during combat too - thanks to the high reliance on crit damage/chance - so it works if the shit hits the fan.

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The Hacker:

While the hitman build is definitely more fun, the hacker AKA Netrunner build, in Cyberpunk 2077 is perhaps one of the most satisfying - and easily most overpowered. Unlike the hitman build which you can potentially use out of the gate though, the hacker build requires a bit more background work and perseverance until you truly reap the rewards, mainly because this build doesn’t really hit its rhythm until you can get the rarer Cyberdecks. And fear not, patch 1.5 has made it slightly less effective, but it's still an absolute beast (well, 1.3 effectively nerfed hacking, but you get the point).

Recommended Stats:
Intelligence is key here, obviously, so whack that straight to 20, and the rest is debatable and entirely up to you. You might want to invest in Reflex for when you have to rely on guns early on in this build; Technical Ability, if you want to go through shortcuts and what not; and maybe Cool, if you want to remain stealthy. But the key one you only really need is Intelligence. The rest is a bonus.

Recommended Perks:
From the Quickhacking (Intelligence) tree:
I Spy (to detect enemy Netrunners)
Daisy Chain (eliminating a target affected by a quickhack reduces the cooldowns on all other active quickhacks) (3 levels)
Forget-Me-Not (eliminate an enemy, recover one RAM unit)
Biosynergy (allow RAM to recover quicker during combat) (3 levels)
Bloodware (quickhacks do more damage) (3 levels)
Weak Link (reduces the required RAM for quickhacks) (3 levels)
Signal Support (increases quickhack duration) (2 levels)
Subliminal Message (quickhacks do more damage to unaware targets)
Plague (quickhacks that spread can jump to more targets) (3 levels)
Critical Error (quickhacks can now deal crit hits)
Diffusion (quickhack spread distance is 2 times larger)
Mnemonic (reduce cost of quickhacks to enemies affected by quickhacks)
Optimization (reduces cost of quickhacks by 1 RAM)
Anamnesis (Cyberware RAM can’t drop below 2 units)

And not essentially, but can come in handy (especially the top 2 which can make you a load of credits) from the Breach Protocol (Intelligence) tree:
Advanced Datamine (more money from access points) (2 levels)
Extended Network Interface (highlights access points)
Mass Vulnerability (unlocks the MV daemon, which reduces Physical Resistance for all enemies on the network for 3 mins) (2 levels)
Mass Vulnerability: Resistances (reduces all resistances for MV)
Mass Vulnerability: Quickhacks (take a bonus 30% damage from quickhacks)

Recommended Equipment:
In terms of weapons, the hacker build actually really doesn’t require any per se, so just choose whatever you want, for if things do kick-off, but the truth is, after more than a few hours, with the right Cyberdecks you’ll be so unstoppable and you probably won’t ever have to shoot a gun.

As I mentioned in the intro though, the problem with this build is that it’s a slow burner, because all the best Cyberdecks are hidden behind a level 40 Street Cred level. The common and uncommon decks are never going to be a one-stop solution, but once you get to Street Cred level 40, and can equip the legendary ones, you’ll be unstoppable. Literally. 

When you start to level up Intelligence and Street Cred (level 12 needed for a Rare deck, level 30 for an epic), you’ll feel this build scale and scale and really come into its own. When you get your first Rare deck, the build will start to take shape. It doesn’t really matter which Rare or Epic deck you settle on, as these will be temporary, but once you reach Street Cred 40, head to Kraviz's Clinic at Charter Hill, Westbrook and buy the Tetratronic Rippler Mk.4, which means ultimate quickhacks can spread once, meaning using the Suicide quickhack will cause 2 people to kill themselves. 

Pre-patch 1.3, the spreading of ultimate quick hacks could literally decimate an entire encampment because you could hack through walls, meaning you were basically a god because you could do everything from absolute safety. These days, less so, as they’ve nerfed it somewhat (you can’t hack through walls now), but it’s still incredibly overpowered in truth. It just requires a bit of effort now, but it's still tons of fun and is rather satisfying.

And finally, before we talk strats, make sure you head to the Netrunner shops around Night City and pick up Suicide, Detonate Grenade, System Reset (available from the Netrunner in Japantown), Short Circuit and Overheat. Sonic Shock and Memory Wipe can be handy too, if you don't want to resort to guns or other weapons, although it is worth carrying a melee weapon to finish off any foes who are in agony on their knees.

Recommended Playstyle:
Okay, let’s talk strats. Like I said, in the early part of the game, the hacker AKA Netrunner is pretty weak, so rely on things like Short Circuit and Overheat, which are readily available and do some solid damage. Once you get to epic levels (Street Cred 30) and legendary level Cyberdeck (Street Cred 40), everything changes. The Rippler Mk.4 basically means that the Suicide and Detonate Grenade quickhacks kill two individuals from the off. Great start. Then, you can use System Reset to render them useless for a short period, and then finally a Short Circuit or even a Contagion or Synapse Burnout. And then the cooldown on Suicide/Detonate Greande should have expired and you can repeat the process all over again. Thanks to the insane legendary Cyberdeck, combined with the perks, it means you should never really run out of RAM. It’s pretty unstoppable, in truth, and is actually incredible fun. Who said being OP was boring? Not us!

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The Brawler:

While the hacker and the hitman were very in the shadows, and very hands-off, the brawler is anything but. Basically, the brawler is a tank, and this build will get you up close and personal with just about every lowlife in Night City. It’s an incredibly fun build that will have you wading into the action and punching people’s faces off like there’s no tomorrow.

Recommended Stats:
Body is obviously the key attribute in the brawler build, not only because it boosts damage with fists and the Gorilla Arms, but also because it boosts your health points as well - which is key in the tank build. Technical ability is a good second best too, as it raises your armor level with every level too.

Recommended Perks:
First things first, to answer the age old question of “do fists count as Blunt Weapons,” yes, they absolutely do.

From the Street Brawler (Body) tree:
Crushing Blows (increases damage from strong attacks) (3 levels)
Flurry (increases damage from combo attacks with blunt weapons (BW)) (3 levels)
Rush (successful attacks with BW generate health) (2 levels)
Dazed (all attacks with BW have a chance to stun (2 levels)
Efficient Blows (reduces stamina of all BW attacks) (2 levels)
Opportune Strike (increases BW damage against stunned enemies) (2 levels)
Payback (increases damage with BW for a percentage of every missing health percent) (3 levels)
Thrash (strong attacks with BW reduce target’s armour for a period of time) (2 levels)
Frenzy (defeating an enemy increases BW damage for a period of time) (2 levels)
Binding Time (blocking an attack with a BW restores 5% of your health) (3 levels)
Reinvigorate (defeating an enemy with a strong BW attack restores stamina) (3 levels)
Relentless (successful BW attacks against stunned enemies restore stamina) (2 levels)
Unshakeable (successful BW attacks against stunned enemies restore stamina and health) (3 levels)

And also, from the Athletics (Body) tree:
Steel and Chrome (increases melee damage by a good percentage) (2 levels)
True Grit (increases max stamina by a good percentage) (2 levels)
Invincible (increases max health by 15%)
Indestructible (reduces all damage by 10%)
Steel Shell (increases armor by 10%)

Recommended Equipment:
Honestly, there are numerous ways you can approach this class, whether that’s using the Cottonmouth (location here) or the Gold-Plated Baseball Bat, which can be retrieved from Denny’s pool during the “Second Conflict” side mission. But in truth, while those two weapons are great, they’re nowhere near as fun as doing this build using the Gorilla Arms (the location of which can be found here).

And then, on top of that, just to make things a hell of a lot easier, you’ll want to equip the following Cyberware (all of which can be bought from Ripperdocs, in various different rarities):

Visual Cortex Support (boosts crit damage) (frontal cortex)
Biomonitor (instantly restores health when you drop below a certain percentage) (circulatory system)
Shock-N-Awe (after taking damage, there’s a percentage chance you electroshock nearby enemies) (immune system)
Subdermal armor (increases armor by a significant amount - the legendary is a 300 boost!) (integumentary system)
Synaptic Signal Optimizer (boosts health) (skeleton)
Microvibration Generator (increases melee weapon base damage) (skeleton)
Microrotors (increases attack speed) (skeleton)

More importantly though, as you won’t be hacking at all in this build, equip a Beserk operating system, which you can pop every so often to increase damage and resistances.

The above aren’t necessary, but the more you have, the stronger your build will become. If you assign all the perks we said, use the right weapon and add all the aforementioned Cyberware, you’re going to be an absolute beast of a tank.

Recommended Playstyle:
The difference between the brawler build and the aforementioned hitman and hacker builds are night and day, in that while the latter two have very specific ways to play, the brawler is a case of wading in and pummeling people’s faces in. There's no real strategy to it, per se. The perks in this build are designed in a way that you can pummell faces and take damage, which in turn, thanks to the Unshakeable perk, along with the Biomonitor Cyberware, means you should regenerate health automatically. Of course, with this build you’re taking fists into a gun fight, so try and not stand in the open and play whack a mole as it’ll really test the build, but if you take out the surrounding enemies first, and then work your way into an encampment, you should have no trouble whatsoever. Plus. it’s super fun, have we mentioned?

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The Ninja:

There’s no doubt about it, the ninja build in Cyberpunk 2077 is an incredibly satisfying build. It’s a mix of mobility, ability, stealth and devastation. It’s definitely more in the mix than the hitman and the hacker build, but not quite as in your face as the brawler build. It’s the perfect balance of stealth and badassery that shows just how good (and completely different) Cyberpunk’s builds can actually be. It’s basically you, a sword, and attacking from the shadows, what’s not to love?

Recommended Stats:
The ninja build is equal parts Reflexes (for the blade perks) and Cool (for the stealth perks), but it’s also worth putting some stats into Technical Ability as well, so you can hack doors and get into the heart of the action as quietly as possible.

Recommended Perks:
From the Blades (Reflexes) tree:
Sting Like a Bee (increases blade attack damage) (3 levels)
Roaring Waters (increases strong blade attacks) (3 levels)
Crimson Dance (attacks can cause bleed) (2 levels)
Flight of the Sparrows (decreases blade attack stamina) (2 levels)
Bloodlust (regenerate health when attacking a bleeding enemy) (2 levels)
Float Like a Butterfly (increases blade damage after dodging) (2 levels)
Deathbolt (defeating an enemy with a blade restores health and temporarily boosts movement speed)
Shifting Sands (dodging while wielding a blade restores stamina) (3 levels)
Stuck Pig (increases bleed duration) (3 levels)
Blessed Blade (increases crit chance with blades)
Judge, Jury and Executioner (increases blade damage against enemies with max health) (3 levels)
Fiery Blast (increases damage by blades for every percent of missing health) (3 levels)
Crimson Tide (bleed can stack 3 times)

From the Ninjitsu (Cool) tree:
Crouching Tiger (increases movement speed while crouching)
Hidden Dragon (allows V to perform non-lethal aerial takedowns on unaware targets)
Leg Up (movement speed is increased by 30% after a takedown for 10 seconds)
Ghost (detection time is increased) (2 levels)
Strike From The Shadows (increases crit chance by 7% while sneaking)
Assassin (deal 15% more damage to human enemies)
Restorative Shadows (while in stealth, health regen is improved by 25%)
Jeepers Creepers (crouch attacks from stealth with melee weapons do 100% more damage and guarantee a crit)

Recommended Equipment:
There’s really only 1 katana you want to be using for this build, and that’s the Satori blade, which can be found on the helipad, before escaping from Yoribobu’s room during the heist at the end of act 1. You don’t want to miss this weapon, as it does insane (500%) crit damage. Once you have it, because you get it early in the game, you’re going to want to make use of the crafting/upgrade system to boost its effectiveness throughout. If you missed it, grab the Jinchu-Maru from the “Play It Safe” side quest, which gives you a 100% crit chance with Kerenzikov active (as well as some good bleed stats).

On top of that, there’s only really a few other things that are essential. Firstly, the Fortified Ankles Cyberware, which means you can hold the jump button and gain some crazy heights with your jump . On top of that grab the Optical Camo (which grants invisibility for a short time - Cyberware for the integumentary system) and the Reflex Tuner (which slows down time by 60% when your health drops below 25%). Finally, you’ll want to get your hands on a Kerenzikov as well (especially if you’re rocking the Jinchu-Maru), as this will slow down time when you initiate a dodge (hold block, then double tap the crouch button).

If you want to be extra mobile, try adding a Sandevistan operating system Cyberware as well, which you can manually use to slow down time. This way you can activate it, fly in, take out two enemies side by side, and get back into cover before anyone spots you.

Recommended Playstyle:
In terms of how to play it, as the name suggests, this build is designed for ninjas… players who stick to the shadows and come out to take down targets. The beauty of this build though is that you can be as passive or aggressive as you like. If you crouch around everywhere, the Jeepers Creepers perk guarantees a crit and does 100% more damage while crouched and hidden, which means if you’re using the Satori, that’s basically a guaranteed chance to do 500% damage, which when you take into account the 100% damage boost, that’s 1000% for every stealth crouched attack. And that’s not taking into account all the other perks that make this even more devastating either! The best way to play though in general with this build is to stealth around, take out enemies, and then move onto the next one. Because you boosted the crouch speed you will move quite quickly while crouched (and be silent), and you can also use the Fortified Ankles to access new vantage points and come in from unconventional angles too. It’s a badass build, it really is, and a ridiculous amount of fun.

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The Triple Threat Sniper:

Sniper builds in Cyberpunk 2077 are a touch tricky to say the least, mainly because Night City isn’t really designed for long distance combat, what with its tight alleyways and cramped buildings. Pre-patch 1.5, the Overwatch sniper rifle was absolutely overpowered, what with its ability to shoot through walls, but patch 1.5 nerfed that, meaning that while the Overwatch is still powerful, it’s no longer the most overpowered sniper rifle in video games (it’s still good though, for reasons we’ll explain). Because of patch 1.5 we have devised what we’re dubbing the triple threat sniper build, a very adaptable build that is tons of fun. Here’s what you should be doing post 1.5 patch to create your triple threat sniper build.

Recommended Stats:
First things first, just to clarify something, as it's not completely obvious, but for the purposes of perks and attributes, sniper rifles come under the “Rifles” description. So, basically you’re going to want to invest in the Reflexes category, pretty much exclusively. The rest should go in Technical Ability (to get access to Draw the Line) and Cool (for the silenced weapon boost and more), with a few points here and there to adapt your build to fit you.

Recommended Perks:
From the Assault (Reflexes) tree:
Bulletjock (increased damage with rifles) (3 levels)
Covering Shot (increased crit chance with rifles from behind cover) (2 levels)
Bullseye (increases rifle damage by 10% while aiming)
Executioner (deal 25% more rifle damage to enemies whose health is above 50%)
Trench Warfare (increases rifle damage when behind cover) (2 levels)
Hunter’s Hands (reduces recoil when behind cover) (2 levels)
Recoil Wrangler (reduces recoil for rifles)
Long Shot (the further you are away, the more damage you do)
Duck Hunter (more rifle damage to moving enemies) (2 levels)
Nerves of Steel (increase headshot damage with rifles) (2 levels)
Named Bullets (increases crit damage by 20%)
Savage Stoic (increases damage by 35% when standing still)

From the Ninjitsu (Cool) tree:
Silent and Deadly (25% more damage with silenced guns)
Strike from the Shadows (7% crit chance while sneaking)
Assassin (deal 15% more damage to human enemies)
Sniper (increases headshot damage while out of combat) (2 levels)

From the Engineering (Technical Ability) tree:
Draw the Line (preview ricochet trajectory if Ballistic Coprocessor cyberware is installed)

Recommended Equipment:
The triple threat sniper build is more about the weaponry than the perks in truth, although the boosts to headshot damage, stealth shots and so on, take the build to the next level. As the name suggests you’ll want three sniper rifles, all of which are absolute beasts and can be used in various different situations.

The first sniper rifle you’ll want to get is Overwatch, a silenced sniper rifle gifted by Panam at the end of the “Riders on the Storm” quest.

Secondly, you’ll want the O’Five, an explosive tipped sniper rifle that you can get during the “Beat on the Brat: Arroyo” (more details on how to get that here) - note, if you don’t have 12 in Body, you might have to get creative to get this weapon!

And lastly, in terms of snipers, you’ll want to get your hands-on the Tsunami Ashura, a smart sniper rifle that can do stupid damage if you get the legendary version from 2nd Amendment in The Glen, Heywood.

Right, now you have your three snipers for the triple sniper loadout, you’ll also want a few other things to assist. As inferred above, because the Overwatch and O’Five are power weapons, you’ll want to install the Ballistic Coprocessor Cyberware for your hands (to ricochet bullets), as well as the Sandevistan Cyberware as your operating system, meaning you can stealth around the battlefield without so much of a care in the world. On top of that, the following Cyberwares are handy:

Visual Cortex Support (boosts crit damage) (frontal cortex)
Limbic System Enhancement (boosts crit chance) (frontal cortex)
Upgrade your optics to the highest rarity you can, and put in crit chance mods
Synaptic Accelerator (slows down time when detected)
Optical Camo (activate and grant invisibility for a short period of time)
Fortified Ankles (grants you a super jump, basically)

Recommended Playstyle:
The foundation of the triple threat sniper build is basically: you have three snipers for 3 wholly different situations. The Overwatch is your starting sniper rifle, what with its silencer, and this should be your opening engagement weapon, so trying to stick to the shadows and not be seen is key. Try and load up your armor and weapon mods with crit chance and crit damage mods. The perks above mean you’re deadly from the shadows. And remember, if you don’t have line-of-sight, you can always use the bullet ricochet to get kills if you're feeling particularly fancy (although this is harder than it sounds). With the Sandevistan equipped, you can stealth in and out of new vantage points with relative ease (it basically invisibility, and if you use that and the Optical Camo, you can be invisible for long periods of time), and when combined with the Fortified Ankles, you can basically keep repositioning yourself. It’s a little tougher in enclosed spaces, but that’s what the Ashura is for. More on that in a sec.

Next up is the O’Five, with its explosive tipped bullets. This is effectively your “uh oh” weapon for when you’ve been detected and before you change to the Ashura. This is a great weapon for group management and setting off explosions in the environment. If you keep it levelled up with some great mods, it’s effectively a mini-rocket launcher. No joke.

And if all else fails, the Ashura (especially if you get the legendary version) makes it useful when all hell breaks loose, because you don’t have to rely on accuracy as much because it’s a smart sniper rifle with homing bullets (make sure the reticule is on the head before you fire though). As I alluded to earlier, the Ashura is your close range and close-quarters combat weapon, and can easily one-tap enemies if you lock on to their heads. It's so, so powerful, and a fun back-up too. And because it's a smart weapon, you can shoot from behind cover, or get your enemy behind cover.

And that’s pretty much it. It’s a tricky build to actually build, but ridiculously fun when you get it working. Just make sure you’re constantly crafting new versions or upgrading the rifles, that way they scale with you as you level up.

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