[Top 10] Fallout 76 Most Fun Builds To Play

Like Manson said: I wanna live, I wanna love, but it’s a long hard road…

Living in the wasteland is a harsh reality. It’s more wild than it is wonderful; you never know if your next meal is going to be a grilled chunk of molerat or a century-old box of Sugar Bombs. Your next trip to get water, wood, or concrete could be met with death from above, horrors from below, or just some psycho-buffed raider with a nervous tick and a missile launcher.

But what if it was all just a game? A cruel joke by some unseen hand? What if it wasn’t about survival… and just about having fun?

Three Things To Do - And a Lot of Ways to Do Them 

Day in and day out, most of your 76 experiences can be described in one of three ways. You’re grinding out daily challenges solo and clearing out small dungeons or single-player events; you’re crafting, building, and designing your C.A.M.P. or Shelter; or you’re in a group with other players fighting through hordes of bad guys in Daily Ops, Expeditions, Public Events, or one of the boss fights.

Truth be told - those experiences all have different demands, and some of those demands may vary based on which Big Bad you’re facing. Dealing with a Resilient mutation event? You need melee. Putting down Earle? You need a heavy DPS build to kill it fast. Farming Seasonal Scorched or building up your C.A.M.P.? Well, you have some other choices.

This list is designed to give you some ideas on how to play that you may not have considered before. Some - like our tied-for-first choices of full-health Heavy Gunner and Bloodied Commando - are more metagame than they are casual game. Others - like numbers 6 and 10 - are more for casual adventuring.

End of day, killing is killing. How you do it? That’s between you, the wasteland, and Vault-Tec.


10. Unarmed

May your luck be better than the Netflix series by the same name. 

I can’t actually believe I’m writing this but I needed ten entries and SOMEHOW, this became a viable fun build in late 2023. While perk cards dedicated to fighting your opponents hand-to-hand have been in existence since the game came out, a recent (per time of this article) to Power Armor has made this viable… in certain situations. 

What Unarmed Combat excels in:

  • You save ammo?
  • You don’t have to repair a weapon.
  • You will probably have to repair your armor.

Build details:

  • Having Unarmed Combat be viable, even for a joke, revolves around three general concepts/perk sets.
  • Glowing Meat Steak (or related) to gain 40% melee damage.
  • Iron Fist (STR perk) and its related family members.
  • Power Armor with Tesla Bracers.
  • Combine those and you get a weirdly powerful fighting build that just allows you to go out and punch things in the face.
  • Apparently, being punched by a walking tank is enough to kill things.
  • I never would have guessed.

Build warning:

  • This is simply for funsies. If you use this in a group setting, you’re not living up to your full potential. You’re possibly even slowing your teammates down.
  • I’ve used it for about two minutes. I laughed. Then I pulled out a shotgun and went back to work.


9. 1-Handed and 2-Handed Non-Auto Melee

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? You’re not? Well, that’s because you’re using 1hs in a FPS.

There are a number of melee weapons in FO76 that don’t live up to their full potential, and some of them are there just for the sake of being part of the world’s flavor. In other games, a lead pipe or a sledgehammer would go a long way; maybe even the Molerat Bat would be a decent midgame weapon. In Fallout 4, the Shishkebab was an insanely powerful sword - and you didn’t get up when a Super Sledge found your face.

Fallout 76 is entirely real-time combat. The game doesn’t pause when you go into VATs, and it adopted a lot of its melee combat straight from Skyrim - so it’s not the most complicated system known to man. You swing your weapon. You hope you hit a thing. That’s about it.

What 1h/2h Melee Excels In:

  • There are some perk cards that award you with stealth hits with melee weapons, and you can approach many locations in 76 in stealth and be able to clear them effectively and quietly. 
  • Unfortunately, a few of those perks rely on the day/night cycle, and that means your DPS will be inconsistent for most of your play sessions - and inconsistency is not a point in your favor.
  • There are also a few ‘special’ challenges that will reward you with Atoms for completing their kill tasks - like destroying robots with a blunt weapon. 
  • You’re not going to be dealing a metric ton of reliable, steady damage with this build. This is more for playing solo when other people aren’t depending on you.

Build details:

  • This is a STR heavy build, and you’ll want the Gladiator series (1h) or the Slugger series (2h).
  • If you go 2h, you’ll want to consider Power Armor.
  • If you do 1h, you’ll want to consider focusing on stealth.
  • There are very few differences between this and our number 3 build.
  • Some fun weapons with this build? Consider the Whacker Smacker hammer for 2h or the Cryptid Knife for 1h. 


8. C.A.M.P.er

Home is where the heart is. But more importantly, it’s where the ammo box is.

A sizable chunk of 76 has you finding, learning, or buying plans to build C.A.M.P. or Shelter items. You do this either for the sake of creation, the sake of meeting the game’s bare-minimum survival requirements, or to assist other players. When you do build in your C.A.M.P., you’re hopefully not worried about combat.

But keep your gun close anyway.

What this build excels in:

  • Building stuff. 
  • Making stuff.
  • Repairing stuff.

Build details:

  • This build is all about your Perks. High INT with a few points in luck and AGI will be enough.
  • Aside from the perks that reduce the cost of C.A.M.P. items, grab ‘Happy Camper,’ to reduce your hunger/thirst in your C.A.M.P., ‘Good With Salt’ to keep your inventoried food from going bad quickly, and ‘Super Duper’ before you craft anything at a bench.
  • Once you have ‘Contractor’ and ‘Home Defense,’ the rest is entirely about building, modifying, crafting ammo/food/chems, or repairing your weapons and armor.


7. Stealth Archer

You’re just like Cupid - if Cupid wanted to make heads detonate with explosive arrows.

It wouldn’t be a Bethesda game if you didn’t have the ability to be a stealth archer at some point. Your time is now. Being an archer is just this weird function in 76 that hasn’t been present in other Fallout games to an extent that I can remember.

Fallout isn’t designed for this but you can’t deny that it doesn’t exist. It goes a long way to bringing that good old ‘out in the wild’ Appalachian experience to your home entertainment system - and I personally, as someone that lives in West Virginia in real life, know people who are very (frighteningly) good at using bows to bring home food.

(Real West Virginia factoid: the urban center five minutes from my town even has ‘urban bowhunting’ for deer season. Yes, you’re granted permission to hunt.. in the city… with a bow and arrow.) 

In the wasteland, it’s not much different.

What this build excels at:

  • Being relatively unique. There is something strangely satisfying about going Rambo with a bow and arrow as you scour the wasteland for food.
  • Single target, stealth kills.
  • Solo playing without boss encounters.


Build details:

  • To my knowledge, there’s only one named bow in 76: the Burning Love, unlocked in the Tunnel of Love public event.
  • You can learn the Compound Bow plans from siding with the Crater, or by spending Gold Bullion when Minerva pops up with them in her inventory.
  • You need the Archer perks in the perception line; just swap the normal Rifleman perks for them and you’re set.
  • You’ll need stealth perks to live through this, and I recommend regular (non-power) armor.


6. Gunslinger

You have no idea how badly I wish this was a viable, ‘all the time’ build.

Ah, the unassuming 10mm pistol. One of the first guns you’ll find in 76, you’ll eventually encounter numerous variants in your travels; everything from pipe pistols to revolvers to black-powder pistols and later, the Crusader or Gauss variants.

Are they any good?

As of February 2024, not really. They’re stronger than bows (in general, and mainly because of the fire rate), and have longer range than melee weapons. Unfortunately, they’re limited in damage output and range - so while it can be fun to sneak through Point Pleasant to hunt down Mothman Cultists or to slip into The Sludge Works to pop off a few rounds - you’re gonna have trouble with anything bigger than a Yao Guai.

Maybe if we can ever Dual-Wield pistols or the Gunslinger perks get a rework to bring their base power up a bit, it’d be viable. For right now…?

What this build excels at:

  • General, all-purpose ‘I want a weapon that doesn’t weigh much’ use.
  • Decent for close-range stealth shooting.
  • It can be FUN with the right weapon, but, you’re not killing a boss with one in most circumstances.
  • Personally? I use a Quad Crusader pistol with Cryo and a silencer. Nothing dies in one shot, but it's quick and simple VATS-assisted killing.

Build details:

  • You need points in Agility for this one - Gunslinger and it’s ilk all reside here.
  • Unfortunately, that probably comes at either a loss of AP regen or stealth perk cards, which hurts the viability of the build.
  • There are two end-game pistols that do a lot of damage. The Crusader pistol with the cryo mod can give your enemies a bad day; the Gauss pistol with Demolition Expert makes big targeted booms; Gunther’s Big Iron is slow and cumbersome but it packs a punch. 


5. Shotgunner


I’ve covered the details of this (and the next four builds) in my article, “[Top 5] Fallout 76 Best Builds in the Game with Legendary Effects,” and the details don’t really change too much. Unlike the first five on this list, this build gives you a few viable weapon choices that you can take to most of the fights in the game.

What it excels at:

  • Crippling limbs. Used in conjunction with VATS, you can damage arms, legs, heads, and torsos with ease.
  • Can be used with either power armor or regular armor and will retain the same value.
  • You don’t need to worry about stealth with this, though it doesn’t hurt for that first shot.

Build details:

  • Shotgunner perks are all under Strength, so you need 9 perks for that.
  • ‘Enforcer’ under AGI adds additional stagger and crippling damage.
  • There are a trio of endgame shotguns that can be used effectively: the Gauss Shotgun is an insanely powerful weapon with outstanding range and explosive ability; the Cold Shoulder can slow down enemies, and the Peppershaker can get a boost from Heavy Gun perk cards - and it can use either fusion cells or shotgun rounds!


4. Non-Automatic Rifleman

This may not be the best rifleman build, but it will pop heads like balloons with the right weapon.

I have this at 4; you can argue it should be at 3 and I won’t put up much of a fight. A good rifle goes a long way in this game, though you won’t find a lot of use for it in a classical ‘Call of Duty’ sniper sense. There aren’t a lot of places where you can set up camp (as it were) and pick off bad guys for an extended period of time while still being useful, so you’ll have to scoot and shoot a lot.

Or just barge in behind your team and fire at will. Either way works.

What it excels at:

  • Rifles are one of the most common weapon types in the game. You can’t go wrong with a good one.
  • Predominantly, you’ll want to be in stealth for this. It mixes very well with most Bloodied builds. 
  • If you want to kill something at range, you want a rifle build. 
  • You can use this in group settings, boss fights, or just out for a solo day of play.
  • I have fun using the Western Spirit + ultracite ammo + stealth perks to hunt down seasonal scorched.
  • Don’t discount the Railway Rifle. It’s a unique spin on the build that can be given powerful Legendary effects with a lot of damage in the long run.
  • The Syringer, on the other hand, gives you funky effects to play with, but it’s not something I’d consider using… except for the Vox Syringer and the daily quest with it.

Build details:

  • Perception is your friend. All of the rifleman perks are under this one, including Tank Killer.
  • There are a lot of great weapon choices for a NA-rifle, including but not limited to The Western Spirit, The Fixer, and the Gauss Rifle. 
  • Stealth is going to increase your DPS significantly. Power Armor won’t be your first choice here.


3. 2h Automatic Melee

No joke: if I could get away with using the chainsaw every day, I would. I think I did for about a month. My carpal tunnel hated me.

As far as 76 is concerned, this is the only melee that matters. There are a handful of automatic melee weapons - from the simple unassuming drill to the endgame, boss-killing flaming chainsaw - and they all solve an inherent problem that regular melee possess:

They kill things nearly instantly.

That aside, there’s some weird math with how these weapons are handled. Don’t get too far into it unless you want to give yourself a headache. In the short term, just understand that when you shove a weedeater in someone’s mouth and turn it on, they bleed.

A lot.

What it excels at:

  • Up close and personal combat. You do have to be in melee range to use these weapons, but most of them slaughter so quickly it won’t matter.
  • If you are dealing with a Resilient mutation in either a Daily Op or a Mutated Public Event, these solve that problem.
  • Defeating the Ultracite Titan requires melee weapons to break his shield.

Build details:

  • While STR is king, the important part is picking which Legendary Effect you use.
  • Make sure the weapon you’re using has ‘Vampires.’ The health regen you’ll earn off of each proc of the weapon will generally offset any damage you take. 
  • You have two real choices - the Auto Ax with the Electric mod, or the Dual-Blade Flaming Chainsaw. The chainsaw is easier to obtain and quite frankly, looks cooler.
  • I prefer power armor with this for the extra damage mitigation and avoidance.


1b. Commando

This thing gets obscenely powerful obscenely fast… and it’s not even the best weapon to use.

Chalk this one up to personal preference for being tied for first - commando builds deal obscene amounts of damage when mixed with certain legendary effects (Bloodied on your weapon and Unyielding on your armor), but it takes a bit of effort to lock things in and I don’t have the general patience for it myself. Most commando builds focus on normal armor for easier stealth and movement, but the damage output is incredible.

What it excels at:

  • Everything except high-damage absorption (toxic mutation fights, robots in daily ops, or the rads from running tunnels in Radiation Rumble).
  • I’ve seen Bloodied Commando builds solo the endgame bosses with the right mutations, foods, chems, and perks.

Build details:

  • While you’ll need the Commando perks in Perception, you’ll want to balance your weapons and armor.
  • Effect mashup: Bloodied (more damage the lower your health) and Unyielding (increased stats the lower your health) are the bread and butter for this build.
  • A trio of end-game weapons: The Fixer (automatic receiver), Automatic Handmade, or the Enclave Plasma Rifle with Flamer attachment. You can also deal some sick damage with the Alien Disintegrator, too.


1a. Heavy Gun, Full Health Power Armor

“CORPORAL! You see that hill over there? I don’t like it.”
“Yessir, deleting the hill, Sir.”

I love this build because I can do anything I want, whenever I want, with limited restrictions. This is, 90% of the time, what I roll with, and it leaves the game trivial in a lot of ways. I can’t get away with soloing Earle or the Ultracite Titan, but I can do just about anything else at all.

As a full health tank with a focus on heavy guns, my daily goal is to show up, flip people off, and then set them on fire and/or annihilate the immediate landscape, and leave. It’s cheap entertainment but it works.

What it excels at:

  • Vast selection of weapon choices.
  • Heavy, sustained damage output.
  • Easily tank almost any situation.
  • When you do have to use a stimpack, it's INSTANT - no animation required!

Build details:

  • Heavy Gun perks in Strength, as well as Demolition Expert in Intelligence are critical.
  • A good suit of Power Armor is a must - Union, T-65, or Hellcat are ideal.
  • I keep four HGs on me at any given time: Holy Fire (flamer), Ultracite Gauss Minigun, Ultracite Plasma Caster, and the Nuka Launcher.
  • I can handle swarms of enemies, I can cripple enemies, or I can just blow everything the **** up. It just depends on my mood. 
  • The ‘sneak’ is purely there for laughs. Getting 2x damage on a first-shot Plasma Caster round or a mini nuke amuses me.


Hopefully these builds give you some ideas on how to bring the pain to the wasteland and something to do when you just want to sit back and crack open a Nuka Cola while enjoying the screams of your enemies.

Born on the outskirts of the Eldritch Mountains of Appalachia, Josh seeks to bring the magic of the (very) old into the minds of those willing to learn fantasy, magic, and the joy of building worlds.
Gamer Since: 1989
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Fallout 76, Cities Skylines 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Cities: Skylines - After Dark, Total War: Rome II