In Night City, you are your own boss. How you complete your gigs and earn your reputation is ultimately up to you — want to sneak around and assassinate, or take opponents out non-lethally? That’s up to you. Now, if you are willing to throw all subtlety out the window and have some fun… well, this build is for you.
If you like the feeling of grenades detonating at your feet and thrive flatlining groups of enemies explosively, we are about to show you how to make your craziest dreams come true. Get ready to blow all of it up, like the mad choom you are.
Since this build revolves around the use of grenades and the Projectile Launch System Cyberware, most of your points are going to go into Technical Ability. However, there are some Perks in the Body and Intelligence trees that can prove useful to the build.
Technical Ability (20) – Is where the character will get all of their improvements for explosives. This includes improving grenades and the Projectile Launch System in just about every way possible.
Body (up to 20) – The playstyle of this build requires you to get close to the enemies, and even encourages you hurting yourself with your explosions. Because of this, you’ll want at least some survivability, and Body Perks can help with that.
Intelligence (15) (Optional Hybrid Build) – If quickhacking is your thing and you are willing to miss out on Sandevistan or Berserk (which we recommend you use with your Level 20 Tech Perk), this tree is excellent for boosting the damage of your explosives against quickhacked targets. Note that you will need to commit to this option as a hybrid if you go along with it.
As mentioned above, most of your points should go into the Technical Ability Tree as a foundation for the build: this will greatly increase the effectiveness of all explosions at your disposal (as well as your Healing Items). On top of that, Tech will get you several Cyberware upgrades, allowing you to equip more and boosting stats of what you have already equipped.
After you get a bit into your Tech tree, you can go into Body (specifically the middle section of the tree) to improve your survivability — we will list the specific Perks you will want later in this guide.
Intelligence gets a special mention as a dedicated way to make your Explosives Build into a hybrid, since quickhacking is a separate gameplay system. However, Intelligence hybrid not your only option! Let’s go over some of the others.
Expanding on Full Explosives Build (& Hybrid Builds)
Explosives is a surprisingly versatile build, since most of your damage come from explosives and their Perks, which won’t take too much effort to maximize. So, it’s up to you what tree you want to lean into beyond our recommendations in this guide.
Leaning more into Tech tree is fun if you are a fan of Tech Weapons. You will already be getting bonuses for this weapon type from the Engineer Skill.
Leaning into the left side of the Body tree is great for shotgun weapon family, which is useful for general supplemental damage because of how close-up you will tend to be to the opponents.
The right side of the Body tree is going to be a great companion to the Berserk Operating System (one of three choices for Ticking Time Bomb, which we recommend you pick up), if you aren’t a big fan of ranged weapons.
We will also make dedicated Intelligence Perk recommendations in this guide if you like quickhacks, which will massively boost your explosives damage. But you will need to commit if you intend to use our Level 20 Tech Perk recommendation, since you will need Overclock.
Sandevistan is the most neutral Operating System option for the Ticking Time Bomb Perk, should you go with the first two suggestions on the list, but you really can combine it just about with any other arrangement or even look into other trees. Explosives build maxes out relatively quickly, and how you want to boost it or supplement it is really up to you.
Best Skill for Full Explosives Build
The Engineer Skill synergizes very well with this build, and you will level it up naturally, by simply using your grenades frequently. You could even power level this skill a bit if you are willing to make frequent use of the crafting system, but it will require a bit of an investment.
Engineer Skill also benefits Tech weapons: you will have a lot of wiggle room with Perks, and a lot of freedom with which weapons you can use to supplement your explosives, so there is nothing stopping you from working Tech Weapons into your rotation if you enjoy them!
Technical Ability tree will be the central hub of our destruction: you should give most of your attention to the left and middle sections here. These Perks are what will make your projectiles (from Projectile Launch System Arms Cyberware) and grenades so effective and deadly. It will also boost Health Items for your character to keep them alive after sustaining damage from your enemies, as well as a little bit from yourself (note that Pyromania encourages you to be a little more reckless in this regard).
Tech will also get you more from your Cyberware by improving and adding stat modifiers, as well as getting you new slots and higher capacity so you can equip more. Investing into these Perks can significantly boost your damage and survivability. We will make some Cyberware recommendations later in this guide.
With update 2.0, players can now swap out Perk points whenever they want, so feel free to try out different combinations of remaining Tech Perks, if any of them match your style — there is a plenty to experiment with.
Level 1: +8% recharge speed for health items and grenades.
Level 2: +10% explosion radius for grenades and the Projectile Launch System.
Level 3: +5% movement speed and +10% explosion damage for 12 sec. After hitting an enemy with an explosion in combat. If you take damage from the explosion, the effect adds 2 stacks instead of 1. Effect and duration can stack 5 times.
Projectile Launch System cyberware receives: +1 max charges, +20% recharge speed, +25% additional recharge speed when you have no charges available, +200% additional recharge speed outside of combat, +5% instant recharge after neutralizing an enemy.
It also receives the same bonus as grenades from Burn This City Perk.
Charges powerful EMP that hits nearby enemies after 3 sec. whenever you activate Operating System cyberware (Berserk, Sandevistan) or Overlock. Applies Stun and deal damage proportionate to the quantity and tier of cyberware implants you have installed, –50% incoming damage while charging EMP.
Note that our Level 20 recommendation is Ticking Time Bomb perk. It will be triggered by your Operating System Cyberware, though you will need Overclock to trigger it with a Cyberdeck. You only get once choice for this slot, and the more universal one will probably be Sandevistan. This doesn’t mean that you can’t lean into Body’s right section or Intelligence’s middle section to use either Berserk or your Cyberdeck (with Overclock) for this perk.
Once you get a little bit in with health items and explosives, you can start putting points into Body. We are primarily interested in Perks that boost survivability, so we are going right up the middle of the tree. If Health Item recharge boost from Perks in Tech tree is only barely enough for you to stay alive, you might want to start working on the Body tree earlier.
Investing a little bit into the Body pays a lot, but you only need to invest as much into it as is useful to you. One of the issues with Adrenaline Rush is that it decays relatively quickly without supplemental perks like the Calm Mind, but going all the way up to Pain to Gain will boost both your Health Regen and your Health Item recharge, so it’s worth pursuing.
Level 2: +20% Health Regen bonus to all Health Regen effects from all sources.
Level 3: Unlocks Adrenaline Rush mode.
In addition to their base effects, Blood Pump cyberware and health items now also give Adrenaline equal to 30% Max Health. (up to a max of 50% Max Health). Adrenaline is indicated by a yellow bar and acts like extra health by absorbing damage. It also decays over time. Adrenaline Rush remains active as long as you have Adrenaline available.
When Adrenaline Rush is active: +20% Health Item recharge after neutralizing an enemy.
As we mentioned before, right side of this tree is a good companion for Berserk Operating System, if you prefer using Melee Weapons over guns, and are willing to sacrifice Sandevistan as an alternative option. Between the recommended options and these extra perks, Body tree can make for a viable Hybrid build.
Intelligence (Optional Hybrid Build)
Intelligence Hybrid Build for Full Explosives will have you swap your other Operating System options with Overclock Perk, so you will have to commit 15 Attribute Points into this tree if you decide to go with it. Of course, you are free to keep investing into Intelligence beyond that, if Netrunning is your thing.
However, what you will be getting in return is the Perk Warning: Explosion Hazard, which will make quickhacked enemies take 80% more damage from your explosives, which is an excellent way to take down a tougher group of enemies. The left side of the tree will help you spread this quickhack more easily among your enemies, which will make sure nobody can resist your assault with explosives.
You will also need to proceed with the middle tree to get up to Overclock, which is what you will need to trigger Ticking Time Bomb‘s ability.
If you have a cyberdeck installed, press [E] to activate. In this mode, you can use quickhacks even with insufficient RAM, but each RAM unit over your max costs 1 Health instead. Duration: 14 sec. Cooldown: 30 sec.
Activating Overclock instantly restores Health equal to 5 times your max RAM.
Full Explosives Build Cyberware
Projectile Launch System (Arms) — Is a must. Will be one of your main weapons as it’s essentially a rocket launcher, counting as an explosive, and many of your grenade boosts from Perks will count towards it as well.
Kiroshi “Doomsayer” Optics (Face) — Highlights all explosives nearby and near your crosshair for 60 seconds.
Microgenerator (Hands) — Releases an area electroshock with your next shot after reloading an empty weapon. The electroshock will count towards a Pyromania stack.
Sandevistan is the most generic useful option for the Operating System Cyberware, if you aren’t going with Berserk or Cyberdeck (with Overclock).
Requires Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty expansion.
One of the paths on the Relic tree, Jailbreak, unlocks additional powers for all Arms Cyberware, Projectile Launch System included: note that you can now overcharge it, launching a burst of 5 projectiles over a larger area, which will help you neutralize even the more scattered enemy groups. Very fun to use.
The next logical step, then, is a dedicated upgrade for the Projectile Launch System under this section, the Launch Capacity Override. It will increase the the number of charges by 1, which means you can do an entire rapid fire sequence an extra time.
Increases the number of Projectile Launch System charges by 1.
Best Weapons for Full Explosives Build
Good news — you can use just about any weapon with your Explosives Build, since your main source of damage will be from grenades and the Projectile Launch System.
A shotgun is a great option, since you will be close to enemies most of the time, and you will already be investing into your Body tree (so, if you decide to lean into it, you can invest into the left section).
Another good option is an Assault Rifle to use when your enemies happen to be further away, since your arsenal is optimized for close combat.
We previously mentioned that your Engineer Skill will also offer bonuses to Tech Weapons: it’s not a major part of the build, but if they are your thing, there is nothing stopping you from investing some Perk points into the right side of the Tech tree and using them as your supplementary damage source.
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