Every few years, I think about escaping the vault and exploring the vast open-world of the Commonwealth all over again. Fallout 4 is the most expansive of the Bethesda Fallout games, giving you more options than ever before. You can rebuild civilization one settlement at a time with a huge crafting system that’s never been more complex. Throw all the DLC and mods on top, and you’ve got endless combinations of content that most of us will barely touch.
That’s what these 20 builds are all about. Instead of replaying the same old sneaky sniper, why not do something different? There are plenty of ways to break the game or challenge yourself in Fallout 4, and sometimes you’ll have to get creative to do it. Whether you’re a veteran or a casual player, we’ve broken done some of the biggest builds fans have been sharing for years. Fallout 4 is evergreen, and there’s no better time to experience the wasteland with a fresh perspective.
Want even more weird build ideas? Check out our 20 Best Skyrim Builds list!
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#1: Luckiest Shotgunner Build
- Requirements: Double-Barrel Shotgun, High LUCK, Critical Banker, Grim Reaper’s Sprint, Four Leaf Clover
The simple Double-Barrel Shotgun might not look it, but this baby can become one of the deadliest weapons in the game if you pick the right perks. Customize the Double-Barrel Shotgun with a Sawed-Off Barrel and Calibrated Receiver to gain a +300% Critical Damage bonus. Boost your LUCK to unlock Critical Banker, and you can stock up four insta-crits! Then there’s even more perks that give you a chance to earn extra crits instantly. Combine the right perks (and gear, etc) and the Double-Barrel can unleash +700% Critical Damage or more. The Double-Barrel is a critical machine, and finding a Legendary version will make you into even more of a killing machine.
Grab the Richochet perk too. This causes enemies to (rarely) kill themselves with ricochet shots. Since everyone is shooting at you all the time, this lucky boon triggers way more often than you’d think.
#2: Stealth Shooter Build
- Requirements: Any Silenced Weapon, Sneak, Ninja
If you’ve never played Fallout 4 with the Sneak + Ninja skill, you owe it to yourself to give this incredibly simple build a try. All you need is any Silenced Gun (I prefer the Deliverer) and lots of perk points put into Sneak and Ninja. Ninja increases the amount of damage you deal when landing an attack from stealth, while Sneak increases your ability to sneak. Once Sneak is fully ranked up, you’ll be able to hide anywhere when crouched, and can even disengage enemies already in combat. Almost any gun can score enough damage for instakills, but the Gauss Rifle with a Suppressor attachment is the definition of overkill.
For an unbeatable Legendary Gauss Rifle, grab The Last Minute from the Castle. This thing comes with a Suppressor! So you’re already set to stack stealth attack bonuses sky high.
#3: Syringer Only Silliness Build
- Requirements: Syringer + “Syringer Overhaul” Mod
One of the weirdest unique weapons in Fallout 4 is the Syringer. Eventually, you’ll be able to unlock multiple weird, wonderful syringe ammo types that cause chaos — like the Bloatfly Larva Syringe, which causes bloatflies to spawn from dead bodies. You can paralyze targets, blind them, or poison them with the Syringer. You can even cause Frenzy, causing everyone to attach each other. If that isn’t enough, try using the “Syringer Overhaul” Mod which adds even more ridiculous functionality. You can turn enemies into Ghouls, disarm them, or reprogram a robot. And the mod makes crafting plenty of ammo easier by adding bonuses to the Chemist perk. Each rank multiplies the amount of Syringer ammo you’ll craft, making this a much more viable playstyle.
#4: Full-Time Minuteman Build
- Requirements: “We Are The Minutemen!” Mod
The Minutemen are the default faction you’ll join early in Fallout 4, but their civilization-spreading methods can get pretty annoying the further you get into the game. To change things up, try downloading the “We Are The Minutement!” mod — the mod completely revamps the Minutemen Faction, making them more powerful and way less aggravating. Immediately, this mod reduces the amount of Minutemen Radiant Quests you’ll get, increase the range of Flare Guns, and gain more control over your faction with the special Command Table at the Castle. From here, you can create new Minutemen NPCs and send them to defend your settlements all across Boston. No more rushing to defend your settlers from bandits! And you can even acquire Power Armor Minutement to back you up in battle.
#5: Spray n’ Pray Crippler Build
- Requirements: Spray n’ Pray SMG, Demolition Expert
Want to cripple everything you meet? Get the unique Spray n’ Pray SMG from Cricket the travelling merchant. Cough up the caps, because the Spray n’ Pray has a unique effect that causes each bullet to explode. Explosions deal crippling impact damage, busting heads, arms, and legs ridiculously fast — and its even faster if you rank up your Demolition Expert perk, which benefits the Spray n’ Pray. Don’t forget to take off the Suppressor that’s naturally attached to the SMG. This is one gun that’s best used outside of stealth.
#6: Final Judgement Minigunner Build
- Requirements: Final Judgement Laser Minigun, Nuclear Physicist Perk
Want to just spit an endless stream of deadly lasers at your enemies? Want one of the most powerful weapons to do it with the cheapest ammo-to-cap ratio in Fallout 4? Then you’ll want to acquire the Final Judgement. This end-game weapon can only be acquired from Arthur Maxson, so you’ll have to use console codes or fight the Brotherhood of Steel to get it. The Final Judgement is an insanely powerful laser minigun that uses Fusion Cores for ammo — each Fusion Core gives you 1,000 shots. To really get the most bang for your buck, customize the Charging Barrels to deal x4 damage. It’s a weird little quirk of the way damage is calculated that makes this thing so strong.
Get the Nuclear Physicist Perk to Rank 2 — now you’ll get even more bullets out of each Fusion Core.
#7: Idiot Savant XP Sponge Build
- Requirements: Idiot Savant Perk
Here’s a fun way to earn fast XP — just pick-up all three ranks of the Idiot Savant perk. This perk randomly rewards you with x3 / x5 XP from any action, or x3 XP from any kill. The bonus can even trigger on quest completion. The lower your Intelligence stat, the more likely you’ll get the reward — but the XP bonus still triggers, even if your Intelligence is top-tier. The XP is boosted even further if you’re Well-Rested! Unlock these skills, and you can level up multiple times from a single quest completion. If you want to level up even more, just save before turning in a quest then reload until the x5 XP bonus triggers. You’ll be swimming in extra perk points!
#8: Super Sledge Slammer Build
- Requirements: Super Sledge, Yao Guai Roast
Going for a melee build is pretty straightforward in Fallout 4. Grab yourself a Super Sledge and go nuts with Strength. There’s one extra wrinkle you can use to obliterate literally everything in the game with melee attacks — Yao Guai Roast. This seemingly simple +10 Melee Damage buff recipe is actually bugged. Instead of giving you +10 Melee Damage, it gives you +500% Melee Damage. Learn how to cook the roast here and stock up, because everything will die in a single hit when you use the Super Sledge + Yao Guai Roast combo.
#9: Biggest Boy Build
- Requirements: Big Boy Mini-Nuke Launcher, MIRV Launcher Mod
Want to irradiate the wasteland all over again? Like making ridiculously big explosions? The Biggest Boy is for you. Start by buying the Big Boy Mini-Nuke Launcher from Arturo in Diamond City. This weapon has the Two-Shot effect, so it fires two mini-nukes for every one. Add the Mirv Launcher Mod to the Big Boy, and you’re now shooting a grand total of 12 Mini-Nukes for every 1 ammo unit. If you think indiscriminate destruction is the only way to live, this is the weapon you’ll want to grab ASAP.
#10: Mind Control Expert Build
- Requirements: Animal Friend, Robotics Expert, Syringer
Want to play like an Illusion Mage in Skyrim? Mind Control everything you meet with some of the game’s ridiculously powerful perks. Animal Friend can be used on any animal in the game to gain an ally — yes, that includes Deathclaws. Robotics Expert makes fighting robots trivial. You can hack them, make them passive, set them to self-destruct, or take control. Humans are a lot harder to mind control, so you’ll need the Syringer to help with that — one of the Syringer ammo types induces Frenzy. The Automatron DLC includes a full-time robotic companion you can customize, if you’re also into having your allies do all the work for you.
Reach Rank 3 of Ghoulish, and even some Feral Ghouls will become friendly NPCs. Bonus!
#11: Chem Fiend Build
- Requirements: Chemist Perk, Chem Resistant Perk, Jet, Psycho, Buffout, Jet Fuel
Enjoy the wonderful world of drugs as a Chem Cooker in Fallout 4! In your first settlement, you can build a Chemistry Station to start crafting all those weird, wonderful chems that give you bonuses in combat. Chems are ridiculously super-charged in Fallout 4 — instead of giving you more AP, Jet just slows down time. Now you can just act more often! Combine with Psycho and Buffout to become an unstoppable destroyer that moves like the Flash. Any weapons work here!
Just remember to get the Chemist Perk to double the chem’s effective time. Chem Resistant makes you completely immune to addiction, so you can take as many chems as you want without any of the nasty side-effects.
#12: Rad Ruiner Build
- Requirements: The Gamma Gun, Ghoulish, Nuclear Physicist
Spread radiation like the plague with the extremely powerful Gamma Gun. This gun can be acquired by the Children of the Atom faction in the Far Harbor DLC. That makes ammo a little rare (something that can be fixed with crafting / cheating) but this is one of the most fun, simple quick builds you can unleash on the world. Due to the way rad damage is calculated, the Gamma Gun cuts through armor and kills tough enemies as fast (or faster) than weak enemies. All enemies die if they reach 1000 rad damage, and with the right perks and weapon mods, the Gamm Gun can deal 400~ rad damage per shot. And rad damage cuts right through Legendary enemy health regeneration.
Add the Deep Dish weapon mod and the Electric Signal Carrier Antennae weapon mod to make the Gamma Gun even more versatile. With Ghoulish, you’ll heal from any rad damage — just make sure to NOT take Rad Resistant. Ghoulish and Rad Resistant don’t work well together. For even more rad-related fun, get the Atom’s Judgement Sledgehammer to deal direct melee rad damage.
#13: Power Pugilist Build
- Requirements: Furious Power Fist, Iron Fist Perk
If you want to punch things, there’s no better combo than the Furious Power Fist and the Iron Fist perk. Grab the Furious Power Fist from Swan’s Pond — the Furious effect deals +15% damage after each consecutive hit, with no upper limit on the amount of damage you can do. The counter only resets if you don’t hit an enemy for 10~ seconds, or if you hit a different enemy. It doesn’t reset if you miss. Combine that with Strength and Iron Fist, and you’ll becoming a punching powerhouse that only becomes more powerful with each haymaker.
#14: Weaponry Willy Wonka Build
- Requirements: Wasteland Workshop DLC, Contraptions DLC, Vault-Tec Workshop DLC
Sick of wandering? Why not focus on the most ridiculously elaborate, in-depth systems in Fallout 4. Build your factory-of-the-future in the Vault 88 and build Weapon, Armor, and Ammo manufacturing stations. Throw materials into hoppers and create a wild automated factory, constantly producing some of the most valuable (or useful) stuff you’ll need in the game. And you don’t even have to leave! You can devote points to INTELLIGENCE and build up your crafting, creating even more powerful stuff. Then you can sell it at the vendors you’ve plopped down in your own settlements. If you haven’t delved into the wild world of these DLCs, I highly recommend giving it a shot — even if they’re ridiculously buggy.
#15: Power Armor Mechanic Build
- Requirements: Armorer Perk, Heavy Gunner Perk, Nuclear Physicist Perk, Science! Perk
Rely entirely on Power Armor! Don’t bring small arms or melee weapons — stick to the most powerful Heavy Weapons, and make sure your character doesn’t have the Strength to use them on their own. The goal of this build is to give yourself a challenge — you’re just a weak scientist / mechanic, using your smarts to build and upgrade a suit of Power Armor. When it comes to battle, you’re a walking tank with a Minigun, but without those precious Fusion Cores, you’re toast. Get Nuclear Physicist to increase the duration of Fusion Cores, and slowly upgrade you Power Armor piecemeal as you progress — and don’t forget to paint it up in the gaudiest color combos for maximum rag-tag energy.
#16: Brotherhood of Steel Soldier Build
- Requirements: Join the Brotherhood of Steel
Ignore the Minutemen, ignore the Railroad, and go straight Brotherhood of Steel for this themed playstyle. Use the BoS HQ as your main base, only trading with the Brotherhood, and sticking to only their uniforms / Power Armor. It’s surprising how little time I spent with the Brotherhood — and this time you can conquer the rest of the Commonwealth without wasting time with settlements. To delve even deeper into the Brotherhood mindset, check out the “Ad Victoriam Brotherhood of Steel Overhaul” Mod. The mod completely changes almost every aspect of the BoS, enhancing and refining the faction to make it even more powerful.
#17: The Institute Courser Build
- Requirements: Join the Institute
Another roleplaying path players can choose that aligns you with the bad guys — just join the Institute as quickly as possible after starting the game. Throw on a Courser uniform and go hunting down Synths while cutting a swath of unstoppable destruction across the Commonwealth. Rely on the Institute only, and only use gear acquired from Synths — wear a cool armored coat, destroy the Railroad, and secretly hunt down Synths while completing radiant missions from the Institute. Playing this way surprisingly limits your options and makes you feel like a true villain. I never messed around with the Institute for too long, so here’s a way to completely flip how you explore the Wasteland for second playthroughs.
#18: Kellog’s Gunslinger Build
- Requirement: Kellog’s Pistol
What to become a quickdraw master? Get Kellog’s Pistol — available early in the game — and slowly build your character into an unstoppable VATS aimbot. Max out Agility, Luck, and get all the Luck perks. Give yourself Lone Wander, Gun Fu, Penetrator, and Concentrated Fire. Hit VATS, and you’re like John Marston in Red Dead Redemption… just tag your opponents and watch them melt. This build is a little boring, but you can switch things up by using other Western-themed weapons. Anything that’s a bolt-action rifle or a small revolver will work. Put on a cowboy hat and a duster, and get to righting wrongs in the Wasteland.
#19: Metro Survival Build
- Requirement: “Gas Masks of the Wasteland” Mod
Want to spice up your experiences in the wasteland? Try downloading the “Gas Masks of the Wasteland” mod for Fallout 4. This mod makes everything in the Commonwealth deadly — kind of like the Metro series of games. You can only survive on the surface if you maintain a gas mask. You’ll need to repair and upgrade your gas mask as you progress through the game. It seems like a small change, but this completely changes how you’ll play. You’ll have to think about where you’re going, and if there are any suitable scavenging spots on the way. Enemies will die if they’re not equipped with masks, so you can loot those to repair. You can use a Holotape to drastically alter almost every aspect of this mod, so why not give it a try? This doesn’t turn Fallout 4 into a hardcore survival game, it just makes the wasteland a little more dangerous.
#20: Procure-On-Sight Build
- Requirement: None!
Want a real challenge? Play Fallout 4 without purchasing anything. Don’t upgrade your weapons. No crafting whatsoever. You can only use what you find. It’s best to play this style on the hardest difficulty — that way you have to pick and choose what ammo you’re carrying, and you’ll constantly have to change your playstyle as you won’t have easy access to any additional ammo for your specific build. This playstyle forces you to be creative and use everything you find. Give it a try! Trust us!
Fallout 4 doesn’t have as many options as Skyrim, so we really had to dig deep to find them all. What are your favorite playstyles? I always stuck with the Stealth Sniper — but there are so many other ways to play, and you don’t have to play perfectly to still crush almost everything in the Wasteland. Do you prefer challenging playstyles, or would you rather go OP right from the start? Whatever the case, we’re always looking for more ways to play one of our favorite games in the series.