In the world of Cyberpunk 2077, netrunners use their onboard cyberdeck to manipulate the world around them, shutting down their enemy’s cyberware before lighting them up with a damaging quickhack like Synapse Burnout.
There are a ton of great ways to build out a netrunner, but the best builds maximize the inherent advantages that runners have over their enemies. Since they can easily attack from a distance, some runners prefer to be stealthy, taking down everyone in an entire base without ever leaving a trace of their existence. Others prefer to click on their Overclock and trade in their own HP for excruciating bursts of damage. There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s just you, your enemies, and the power of the net.
The 2.0 update made some big changes to the way that traces work in Cyberpunk, but that just changed the way that a stealth runner needs to approach big combat situations. Now maintaining stealth as a netrunner is all about lowering the trace percentage with a quickhacks and takedowns. Luckily, the core of the build is pretty streamlined, so there’s a ton of room for personalizing your stealth runner.
To get the build up and running, start by focusing on getting these core skills:
- 20 Intelligence – Maximize your running abilities
- 20 Cool – Gain access to key stealth perks and boost critical damage
- 15 Reflex – Get some added mobility to escape from danger
Likewise, you can mix and match what perks you take to make your stealth runner play in a way that’s fun for you, but the most important perks are:
- Encryption – Reduces the traceability of all your quickhacks
- Shadowrunner – Allows Takedowns to reset trace progress to 0
- All queue perks – The entire left side of the Intelligence tree is a must for any netrunner
- Feline Footwork – Faster crouched movement speed
- Ninjutsu – Crouched sprinting
With those baselines established, you can look at personalizing the build. Reflex and the associated dahs perks should be a focus, so you can get yourself out of a tight spot. Technical Ability will up your cyberware capacity and potentially your defense. Body will increase your total HP and make Overclocking more of a possibility.
Finally, it’s time to focus on your cyberdeck and quickhacks. Arasaka decks are going to be a stealth runner’s best friend, and the legendary Mk. 4 model will help you massively reduce the cost of all your stealth quickhacks. When it comes to actually queueing them up, the most reliable but expensive combo is Memory Wipe, Optic Reboot, and Tier 5 Sonic Shock. That order will knock enemies unconscious immediately. In a pinch you can use a Tier 3 or higher Sonic Shock to isolate enemies from the network before unloading on them with combat quickhacks.
In a worst-case scenario, you’ll get discovered and find yourself in a tense firefight. You should build into at least one weapon option in case that happens. Since your Intelligence will already be maxed, spending some perk points on Smart Weapons is probably your best bet. But there should be enough points left over after establishing the core of the build that you can focus on knives, swords, pistols, SMGs, or whatever else suits your fancy.
Stealth runner is the more flexible of these two builds, but the aggro runner definitely dishes out the most damage. Thanks to Overclock, more health means more RAM, so this build is all about boosting your HP to unleash massive damage with your quickhacks.
Dealing 10,000 points of damage or more is no small order. You’ll need all your ability points to synergize, so start building them out in this order:
- 20 Intelligence – Maximize your running abilities
- 20 Body – Maximize your HP regeneration to boost Overclock potential
- 18 Cool – Boost your critical damage with the attribute points
- 20 Technical Ability – Chrome up for maximum efficiency
This build sacrifices the fun of the Reflex tree’s dash perks, but you won’t need to fly around the battlefield when you can stand in place and watch your enemies drop around you. For your perks you want to focus on queues, Overclock, cyberware boosting, and health boosting. Here’s what you’re looking at:
- Entire Intelligence tree – Alright, the Monowire and Smart Weapon perks are optional
- Most of the Technical Ability tree – Everything the boosts your cyberware or your health items
- Painkiller – Also get the associated health regen perks
- Adrenaline rush – Massively boost your HP for big Overclock potential
Chroming up is a fairly straightforward, but important, part of the build. You want as much armor as possible. You also absolutely need the Blood Pump, which is found in the Circulatory System cyberware section. When it comes to your cyberdeck, the best option is the Tetratronic Rippler Mk. 5. It boosts quickhack damage by 40% when you follow-up a combat quickhack with a non-combat quickhack.
After all that is in place, you’re off to the races. The key to maximizing your damage is to go into Overclock and completely fill the quickhack queue on every enemy you can see. Your queue order is going to be very important. Thanks to the Embedded Exploit Intelligence perk and the Ripple cyberdeck, you need to sandwich your biggest damage dealer between two non-combat quickhacks. Start with something like Cyberware Malfunction, then queue up two Synapse Burnouts, and end with your choice of non-combat hack. You’ll be dropping battalions of MaxTac officers without breaking a sweat.