Last updated on November 26th, 2018
In this Fallout 76 Power Armor Build Guide, we’ll be showing you the basics. This means we’ll show you the Stats, Perks, Weapons and Armor that you’ll need in order to pull off a successful Power Armor Build. Please keep in mind while reading this that you will be unlikely to create this exact Build, and that this should be what you are, more or less, working towards. The reason for this is that you often don’t get the exact Perk Cards that you need as you Level Up. A level 50 Build Guide is great, but if you can’t use it until level 50, then it doesn’t have much use along the way.
Fallout 76 Power Armor Build Guide (Heavy Gunner)
Power Armor Builds focus on using Heavy Guns to deal massive damage to their enemies, while remaining safely protected in their suite of Power Armor. Power Armor provides absurd amounts of Damage and Energy Resistance, making you nigh unkillable while wearing it. This Power Armor Build Guide is all about optimizing your setup if you plan to use Power Armor on the regular.
Fallout 76 Heavy Gunner Build Stats
The first thing we’re going to cover in this Guide is Stats, and how they affect Power Armor Builds. Something many players are not aware of, is that each Stat adds a passive bonus. For example, each point of Endurance increases your Max Health by 5% and your Sprinting AP drain is reduced by 5%. The 3 main Stats you need for a Power Armor Build are: Strength, Intelligence and Luck.
Unfortunately none of these Stats, with the exception of Strength, really benefits a Power Armor Build in any direct way. Strength will increase your Melee Damage if you use Melee Weapons, but the only reason these are the Stats you need is because of the Perks you gain by selecting them, which isn’t ideal. Whereas many Builds benefit from the Stats they select, Power Armor Builds really do not, at least not in a direct manner. Many of the bonuses you gain from these Stats are just nice to have on any character.
Fallout 76 Power Armor Basics
The fun begins when you first find your first set of Power Armor in Fallout 76, and you have to figure out how it “works”. Power Armor is made up of 7 pieces: the Chasis, Torso, Helmet, Left Arm, Right Arm, Right Leg, and Left Leg. Any player can use the Chasis, but the rest of the pieces are level locked to the specific type of Power Armor it is. This means that you cannot add actual “Armor” to the Chasis until minimally Level 15, as that is the lowest level you can use Raider Power Armor (which is the lowest level Power Armor).
In addition, each Power Armor uses a Fusion Core to Power it, and cannot run without one. This means that you need a steady supply of Fusion Cores so that you can continue to operate your Power Armor. You can find Fusion Cores in other suits of Power Armor, you can find them in Fusion Core Generators, or you can Craft them. The exact amount of time that you can operate Power Armor on one Fusion Core is not currently known, but their power is consumed faster by Sprinting and moving about. Estimations range from about 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on gameplay. This can be increased by taking the Perk Power User once you reach Level 50.
Players wearing Power Armor will also have their Strength automatically increased to 11 on their Stat sheet, although this will not allow you to slot more Perk Cards. It does, however, increase your Melee Damage and Carry Weight if you have less than 11 Strength. Unfortunately many of the best Heavy Guns Perks are in Strength, meaning that this benefit is wasted at later levels of the game (when your Strength is higher than 11) for this Build.
Fallout 76 Power Armor Stations
Power Armor Stations in Fallout 76 allow you to Craft piece of Power Armor to attach to your Power Armor Chasis, as well as Repair and Modify existing Power Armor pieces. You cannot build a Power Armor Station at your C.A.M.P. until you have learned the plans to do so, and the best way to do that is by completing the quest: Miner Miracles. You can obtain this quest by clicking on a poster in the Charleston Fire Department.
You must be level 25 to complete this quest, and it requires a lot of materials, including Black Titanium. Black Titanium can be gathered quickly by killing Mole Miners and scrapping the suits that they carry. Until you reach level 25, and can craft your own, you will have to use Power Armor Stations around the map. The easiest ones to get to are at Morgantown Airport Terminal and the Gorge Junkyard Workshop.
Fallout 76 Heavy Gunner Build Perks
Perks for a Power Armor Build are not overly complicated to choose, but many of them are not unlocked until much later in the game. Unfortunately, this means that you will not really be playing a Power Armor “Build” until you reach about level 30, even if that is your goal from the beginning of the game. Since you only need 37 Perk Points for this Power Armor efficient Build, I strongly advise using your early leveling points to select things that you wish to play with in the meantime. This means for the first 20 levels of the game or so, just play how you like, making sure to put the majority of your points into Strength, Intelligence and Luck. The good news though, is that if you are already playing the game, and you want to “convert” your Build to a Power Armor Build, it is not hard to do, since there is a lot of wiggle room.
Power Armor Build Strength Perks
Heavy Gunner – This Perks becomes available at level 30 and increases your Non-Explosive Heavy Gun damage. Take all 3 ranks.
Bear Arms – This Level 35 Perks makes your Heavy Guns weigh much much less. Take all 3 ranks to get that weight as low as you can.
Lock and Load – At Level 37 you can get this Perk that allows you to reload Heavy Weapons faster, which is always good. Take all 3 ranks.
Expert Heavy Gunner – Take this one when you get to Level 40 to further increase your Non-Explosive Heavy Gun damage. Take all 3 ranks.
Master Heavy Gunner – This Perk unlocks at level 50, and once again increases your damage with Non-Explosive Heavy Guns. Take all 3 ranks.
You can see from looking over the Strength Perks that you don’t begin to get anything for a Power Armor Build until you reach level 30, which means you will have to use other Strength Perk Cards until you get there, and even then some will be wasted. You’ll be sacrificing early game play for a Min/Max playstyle later on.
Power Armor Build Intelligence Perks
Stabilized – One of the best Perks there is for a Power Armor Build, this one increases Accuracy and Armor Pen of your Heavy Gun attacks while wearing Power Armor. Take this one at Level 36 and take all 3 ranks.
Power Smith – This Level 41 Perk allows you to Craft more advanced Power Armor, with fewer Materials and with better durability. Take all 3 ranks.
Power Patcher – This Level 44 Perk increases the durability of your Power Armor and makes it cheaper for you to repair. Take all 3 ranks.
Portable Power – This Level 49 Perk reduces the weight of your Power Armor, making it much easier to lug around, particularly when you are not wearing it. Take all 3 ranks.
Power User – This Level 50 Perk increases the lifespan of your Fusion Cores all the way up to double. Take all 3 ranks if you can.
You can see that most Intelligence Perks are quality of life Perks for Power Armor users, with the exception of Stabilized. Much like Strength Perks you won’t get them until much later in the game starting at level 27. This means you will have to substitute other Intelligence Cards earlier on in the game until you get there.
Power Armor Build Luck Perks
Scrounger – This Level 3 Luck Perk allows you to gather much more ammo, which you will need to stockpile as you level up for the Heavy Guns you will use later. Take at least 1 rank.
One Gun Army – An amazing Perk for this Build, this one becomes available at level 31 and increases your Stagger and Cripple chance with Heavy Guns. Take all 3 ranks.
Ricochet – This Level 40 Perk allows you to reflect damage that is fired at you. It’s a great Perk for Builds that are big targets and high Damage Resistance, like those wearing Power Armor. Take all 3 ranks.
Bloody Mess – This Level 42 Perk will increase the damage your deal by an additional 15% at rank 3. There aren’t too many ways to boost damage with this Build so take this one to max.
Much like Strength and Intelligence, you can see that you don’t really get the Perks you need until Level 30. This means for the better part of the game you will want to take other Perks to use in the interim.
Heavy Gunner Build Mutations
In Fallout 76 players can gain what are called Mutations, and gain extra bonuses, that more often than not come with some side effects. Mutations are obtained by gaining a significant amount of Radiation, which is not hard to do at all in the Wasteland. This is important for all Builds, because can make your Build go from good to great very easily, but remember that you will need Starched Genes rank 2 in order to be able to remove the Radiation and maintain these Mutations, so they will most likely come into play later in your build. There are really many Mutations that can work well for a Power Armor Build, so I’ve listed the table of them below.
Heavy Gunner Build Weapons
In this section we’ll take a look at the Weapons and Armor you should be looking for when making a Power Armor Build. Because you cannot really effectively use Power Armor until Level 30 ish, and when we do we’ll be using a Heavy Gun, it’s a good idea to look out for one as you play through the game. I strongly suggest using something else in the meantime, as they use tons of Ammo, and Ammo is much more scarce in the early going. In addition, Heavy Guns tend to be locked at higher levels anyway, making it nearly impossible to find one you can use immediately.
I strongly advise using a Shotgun or Melee Weapon until such time, because you can get Perks for them in Strength early on, and Strength increases Melee Damage itself. Power Armor will set your Strength to 11 when wearing it, so you will immediately do increased Melee Damage when wearing even just the Chasis. Since you can find these rather early on, this is just win win.
When you do start getting Perks pertaining to Heavy Guns, you will want to use something that does regular Ballistic Damage, as we have not accounted for Energy Weapons in this Build. A Mini Gun, Gattling Gun or .50 Cal Machine Gun are ideal choices. These fit the bill of being Non-Explosive Weapons, and benefit from our Perks.
Legendary Weapon Effects (Heavy Guns)
Once you know what type of Weapon you’re looking for you’ll want to try to get one with as many Legendary Effects as possible on it, up to a max of 5. While these are very much random, and you cannot control what you get, knowing which ones to have will help you decide if what you got is what you need. Effects that work well with Heavy Guns are as follows:
- Double: Doubles magazine capacity
- Furious: Damage increase after each consecutive hit on the same target
- Mutant’s: Damage increased by 10% if you are Mutated
- Quad: Quadruples ammo capacity
- Vampiric: Periodically heals you after hitting an enemy
Power Armor Build (Armor)
Power Armor Builds don’t really need to worry much about Armor because their Power Armor will replace it when they are inside it. Therefore, in this section I’ll be focusing on the different types of Power Armor you can get, and which ones are the best to look out for. Though you can find some Power Armor that is higher level than the one you are wearing, and it might be better, there is definitely a hierarchy of Power Armor. It is as follows:
- Raider Power Armor : Earliest Level 15, weakest
- Excavator Power Armor : Earliest Level 25. Completed suit increases Carry Weight by 100
- T-45 Power Armor : Earliest Level 25
- T-51B Power Armor : Earliest Level 30
- T-60 Power Armor : Earliest Level 40
- Ultracite Power Armor : Earliest Level 50, most Damage Resistance
- X-01 Power Armor : Earliest Level 50, most Energy Resistance
Much like regular Armor, you can Modify the parts of these Power Armors to give yourself added benefits. They range from things like increased Carry Weight, to burning melee enemies. Each Power Armor has its own unique set of Mods so you will need to find them in order to Craft them. Currently X-01 Power Armor is considered the best in the game because it’s Mods are easier to come by (purchased), whereas the Ultracite Power Armor Mods drop from Scorchbeasts with a small drop rate. In addition, the X-01 has higher Radiation Resistance, allowing you to stay inside the blast zones where Nukes have been detonated longer.
It’s a great idea to grab a Power Armor Chasis early on in the game in order to increase your Melee Damage. You do not have to be Level 15 to use one, and the Chasis itself still provide 60 Damage Resistance itself. Remember that you will still need Fusion Cores to power the Chasis, so keep an eye open for them as you explore.
You can craft Fusion Cores at any Chemistry Station using the components: Pure Cobalt Flux (1), Pure Crimson Flux (1), Pure Fluorescent Flux (1), Pure Violet Flux (1) and Pure Yellowcake Flux (1). These can be difficult to come by because you must harvest them from plants after a Nuke has dropped in that area, so you will not have too many opportunities to harvest them. Still it is an option, so keep your eyes open with in Nuked areas.
Playing as a Power Armor Build really allows for you to use any other type of weapon outside of Power Armor, so picking which you want to use is up to you. I’ve made my recommendations above, but if you want to use Non-Automatic Rifles or Pistols, or whatever you want, there is room to make that happen. You can even drop a few Perks from the ones I’ve listed and become sort of a “part-time” Power Armor user, specializing in another type of combat as well. If you decide to do this, drop the Strength from your Stat spread because Power Armor will give you 11 anyway.
Power Armor costs a ton of Materials to make so it is recommended that you keep the Level 25 Excavator Power Armor, that you gain from the Miner Miracle quest, until you reach Level 50 and then just upgrade to X-01. If you are trying to upgrade often you will have to grind like mad, and you won’t have what you need when you reach Level 50.
You cannot leave your Power Armor(s) in your Power Armor Station at your base, or it will be returned to your inventory. For this reason, it is advised that you only use one suit of Power Armor and Scrap the rest. They are too heavy to lug around the Wasteland, unless you have all 3 ranks of Portable Power. Make a decision about which you wish to use, and stick with that one, or store the others in your Stash (if you have room).
Do not put multiple Fusion Cores in your Power Armor, because they will disappear. Either store additional Fusion Cores in your Stash or your own personal inventory, but you don’t want to lose them by making this mistake. You can thank me later!