So, my main and highest level character has been running a nice tank build and it honestly has been very effective for PvE stuff (like raiding the Nuclear Silos and fighting the Scorchbeast Queen head-on). So, wanted to share it and see what others think. Now personally, this is a melee tank build but it can be adjusted if you wanna use Heavy Guns, Shotguns, or Pistols (This build uses 15 Strength and 15 Agility).
Oh. This is VERY VERY LONG. I went into a lot of details. So be prepared for a long read.
~SPECIAL and Perk Cards~
Obviously for a melee tank build, you need as much Strength as possible but there are two extremely helpful cards you may want to maximize your actual DR while outfit of Power Armor to even be arguably better than Power Armor.
The first and most obvious one is Blocker (3). This is literally a flat 45% DR to everything that doesn't use a gun… Which is basically everything except for Humanoids and Robots. Do I need to say more?
Barbarian (3)… This is the first, of three, armor related perk cards I recommend using. It gives you a maximum of 80-0 DR based on your Strength, and it does require higher than 15 Strength to reach that max so you will be need +1 Strength effect on your armor to max this or two pieces with Enclave under armor with +3 Strength, but combining this with two other cards and two mutations is very helpful to give you much needed base armor rating (I'll go into detail about this later).
Perception is useless for this build unless you're running shotguns. Then you need 3 Perception for Skeet Shooter so that you have actual range on your shotguns.
If you're not running shotguns, this will be at 12. If you are running shotguns, then this will be 10. Endurance is honestly not the most needed stat for tank build so you don't need that much health (though I recommend having over 300 health).
However, I do recommend running Ironclad (5) for 50-50 DR. (Again, will explain later). And Adamantium Skeleton to be immune to limb damage. Being immune to cripples helps a lot since you will be in the middle of fighting a lot and don't want to ever be crippled just in case you need to back out somewhere and use a stimpak in a safer spot.
You do not need Charisma at all, even if you're in a group. It's not your job to support the group as a tank. It's your job to run in first and get the enemies shooting you.
This is a standard thing. Every build, in my opinion, should have 5 intelligence for one reason: Makeshift Warrior or Gunsmith. You can also swap it out with other cards while repairing armor, weapons, etc. For the record, repairing your armor and giving it 200% health also increases the ballistic resistance. For example, your body piece can go from having 86-86 armor to 106-86 with doubled health. So I highly recommend getting that perk at one point in time to use.
For tanking, I recommend White Knight (3) and Evasive (3). White Knight is amazing and allows your armor to basically last much longer and it costs nothing to repair. You will never be in need of junk to repair your armor while your pathetic power armor friends will constantly have to repair theirs needing like 20+ of each materials per piece! White Knight is honestly a must have for any non-power armor build in my books.
Evasive is the final armor related perk you want as it gives 45-45 armor rating if you have 15 Agility. Hence why you wanna max out Agility. However, Agility has a lot of amazing perks you can run. If you're not running a pistol tank, you can Adrenaline (5) and Action Boy (3) which are both amazing for damage output that increases and stays consistent.
Lucky number 7, huh? Anyways, for this build. You need mutations. Which means, you need Luck up a bit. The two big cards are Class Freak(2-3) and Starched Genes(2). I recommend Class Freak at 2 so that you can have Bloody Mess at 3. Bloody Mess is gonna be needed since you may not be able to run all 9 levels of your damage cards but instead only 3 (first level of each) for 30%, instead of 9 for 60%. Bloody Mess will help make up for some of the damage lost… Simple as that.
This is pretty simple… There are two main mutations you want while running this tank build. Grounded for 0-100 DR and Scaly Skin for 50-50 DR…
Now, if you've gotten all of the perks I mention, these two mutations, 20 Strength, and 15 Agility. You will get a flat bonus of 225-245 armor rating. This is BEFORE wearing any armor at all. If you only have 15 Strength though (no boosts), it will be 205-245. This is a really nice and impressive base to have, because it means you are instantly tanky as hell against Glowing Ones while doing nuke runs/grinding (since you will be using a Hazmat suit for 1,000 radiation DR). That alone makes this build worth doing if you wanna farm nukes, but that's just me…
~Armor (and Legendary Effects~
And with that in mind… BEFORE even discussing Legendary effect. A full set of Heavy Combat Armor with the BOS upgrades and at 200% health (due to that armor perk I mention earlier)… Your armor rating is gonna be over 500-500. Energy alone will be a consistent 538, since you will lose ballistic as your armor loses health (you will go slightly below 500). This is almost as good as power armor itself… And we didn't even take into account of Legendary effects… This is just base normal armor rating.
But this is also when I'm gonna get a bit… Hated on. A lot of people here are gonna think I will suggest Vanguard or Bolstering to boost that armor rating beyond 600-600, which sure. You can do that but I think that's a bit useless due to how Fallout 76 is balanced and how Armor DR works. Your Armor DR applies a simple % DR based on the formula of "X == Y?" X is your armor rating while Y is the damage you're taking. If they are both the same, then you have 50% DR against that attack. If X is greater than Y, then your DR is above 50% and how high is based on how high X is greater than Y. Vice versa if X is less than Y…
After taking that into account, then we can talk about balance… The vast vast majority of weapon attacks from AI enemies… Are gonna be less than the total health that a player can actually have… This is assuming IF there is a single enemy that hits harder than that. Which, btw, the Maximum health a player can have one without boosts is 365. With boosts, it's really not that much more. It's 5 more health per Endurance point. So you can get a maximum of 25 from armor, 15 more maybe from under armor (if it exists)… So your maximum health with boosts will be 405 maybe? I can't think of any enemy that does truly over 400 damage and can one shot a naked max health player. Maybe Scorchbeast Queen melee attack and Glowing Deathclaws but Blocker's 45% DR is taking care of that. I can't think of a single ranged attack from an AI enemy that will do this much damage…
So after taking into that account… Your 500-500 base DR is already reducing pretty much everything by 50% or more unless they have Armor Piercing Rounds, which only level 52 Mr. Gutsy Robots do as far as I know. So, you do not need any more armor rating… No Vanguard, no Bolstering… No Mutant's. None of that is gonna do much. They probably will only add around 1% to 8% more DR depending on the attack we're talking about.
So what I recommend as your main prefix effects? Two Zealot's, Two Troubleshooter's, and One Mutant Slayer's. Now, why this type of prefix? Because they are applied after your armor rating DR and will further reduce damage from them. Same thing with your Blocker perk. Which is why we're doing these three specific effects… Scorched, Robots, and Super Mutants are the only enemies that uses guns, grenades, etc… Which Blocker will NOT effect. Blocker does a clear 45% DR to pretty much everything else that the other 15% DR prefixes does, so you really only need these three specifics…
Now, you maybe asking… Why only one Super Mutant and two the others? Super Mutants are very rare to encounter in end game, simply put. You rarely need to kill them… However, Scorched and Robots? They are end-game. You have to fight dozens of robots just to launch a nuke, and the final zone of Fallout 76 is FILLED with Scorched variations of enemies and Scorchbeasts… Which btw, Zealot's does effect anything that is Scorched. Not just the Scorched humans. This also makes Zealot's super amazing at the Scorchbeast Queen fight, which is the ultimate end-game goal right now in the game…
So, on top of your 500-500 armor rating… You will have further 30% DR to all end-game common enemies and 45% DR to all melee attacks thanks to Blocker… You're basically officially a walking tank already and you're not even using power armor… We also not taking into account that the minor 3rd effect can be 15% more DR to everything while standing still/sprinting, which is just more icing on the cake. So ye'h, the prefixes I mention with the secondary effect being +1 Strength/Endurance and final effect being even more DR…
Ye'h… You're a tank and you do not need to worry about wasting junk repairing power armor, using fusion cores, and all of that nonsense. Just be a walking tank and have fun…
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