Do you want to enjoy hacking in Cyberpunk 2077 without stealth? Did you see the Militech Canto Mk. 6 and wish you could find a good build that makes use of it?
This combat hacker build is for you, then. Note: If you don’t know what the Militech Canto Mk. 6 is and want to avoid Phantom Liberty spoilers, I’ll have a specific section at the end focusing on what the cyberdeck is and how to use it; This build can use other cyberdecks (and pretty much has to for the early game), but it is important to note: If you want to make full use of this build, you will have to make a VERY specific choice during Phantom liberty in order to ensure you get the Militech Canto Mk. 6. I’ll note that in that section.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about attributes.
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Combat Hacker: Attributes
This build focuses on 3 attributes, and you’ll want to max each: Intelligence, Technical Ability and Body.
To start out, I suggest you place just 3 in reflexes and cool, 4 in body and tech, and the rest in intelligence. If you opt to start using the Phantom Liberty start (great if you’ve played the main game before, and it gets you past Act 1 which can get old the more you play it), perform a reset and get Intelligence to 15, and put the rest into Tech and Body.
Either way, I suggest you get Intelligence to 15 first: Once you’ve got that, alternate between body and tech until both are 9. After that you’ll start working on maxing everything out: Intelligence first, then tech, and finally body.
This build is HEAVILY dependent on cyberware, so just as an aside you’ll want to make sure you do plenty of side gigs (including car thefts and air drops) in order to get lots of Cyberware Capacity Shards.
Next up? Skills.
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Combat Hacker: Skills
For Intelligence you’ll be grabbing everything from the left and middle trees minus Finisher: Live Wire, Warning: Explosion Hazard, Siphon, Shadowrunner and Subordination.
I also recommend grabbing Carhacker just for general usefulness.
In Technical Ability, grab everything on the right tree minus Ambidextrous; you’ll want to wait on some (like Cyborg) until you’ve got your cyberware loaded up, however. You’ll also want to grab the following from the left tree: Glutton For War, First Aid, Health Freak (max this), Borrowed Time, and the first point in Pyromania.
Under Body, just grab everything down the middle.
As far as WHEN to grab items, you’ll want to have a healthy spread. You’ll be less concerned about quickhack damage – even early on – and will want to ensure you have plenty of health regen and recovery of cyberware and health item usage.
For Intelligence skills, prioritize Overclock over the queue. The queue itself is of very low usefulness except with bosses.
Let’s talk about cyberware.
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Combat Hacker: Cyberware & Equipment
Cyberware makes this build what it is, and given that it can take a while to get everything you want with hefty cyberware requirements, I’m going to focus on the most critical pieces.
In the Frontal Cortex, you’ll want to focus on RAM: the RAM Upgrade is necessary, and you can go with either the Ex-Disk or Memory Boost (I personally use Memory Boost). The final slot is for the iconic Axolotl; You want the cyberware cooldown it offers.
For Cyberdecks, until you’re ready to start using the Militech Canto I suggest you use the Biotech Σ; it’ll provide you more damage and duration for your quickhacks giving you a little more early-game viability. As a bonus, if you start with the Phantom Liberty start, you’ll begin the game with it. Also, just a reminder: we’ll talk about the Militech Canto later.
For Arms, grab the Monowire (and don’t forget the Relic perk that lets you load up a quickhack into the Monowire – I suggest Cripple Movement there).
In the face, Kiroshi Sentry is good until you have enough capacity for “The Oracle”.
Under Skeleton, RAM Recoup is a must, and Epimorphic Skeleton is a good late-game addition.
Hands-wise, use whatever you want, but I stuck with the Smart Link since it also boosts your RAM at later tiers.
In the Nervous System, grab the Reflex Tuner; don’t bother with Revulsor just because it requires too much capacity and isn’t that critical.
Circulatory System is another area that demands some specifics: You MUST have Biomonitor, Blood Pump and Heal-On-Kill. These are non-negotiable for this build, which you’ll understand more about in the gameplay portion.
For Integumentary Systems nothing is absolutely critical; Optical Camo and Subdermal Armor are fine.
With Legs, grab Reinforced Tendons for the boost in mobility.
As far as gear goes, guns don’t matter; use whatever you like, and you most likely won’t be using them at all in the late game.
Otherwise, wear a netrunner suit for the boosts and whatever else tickles your fancy.
Let’s talk about the gameplay next.
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Combat Hacker: Gameplay Strategy
Early on, you’ll be playing this a lot like a stealth hacker most likely; you’ll pretty squishy before you get all your cyberware & body boosts, but feel free to supplement with smart weapons until you do if you’d rather still be loud and proud.
Before you get the Militech Canto Mk 6 you’ll be using Cyberware Malfunction, Contagion, Overheat and Short Circuit most likely. Feel free to also make use of Sonic Shock for stealthy takedowns.
Contagion works well here for regular enemies; just drop it on a few folks and let it circulate through the group., and trigger Overclock to make use of the DOT reset of the cyberdeck used until you have the Canto.
Also: Just because you’re not being stealthy doesn’t mean you can’t utilize cover. Trigger your quickhacks and get behind it! Additionally, don’t worry too much about enemy Netrunners tracing you: Once you do get traced, you’ll be able to back-hack them thanks to your perk investments.
With that said, let’s talk about the Militech Canto: Note that we’re going into spoiler territory!
Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Combat Hacker: How to get & use the Militech Canto Mk. 6
First off: In order to get the Militech Canto, you’ll want to make sure to betray So Mi (Songbird) by using the ICE that Reed supplied you when you’re in the Firestarter quest. This sets in motion the ending needed in order to be able to get the Militech Canto; as far as what you do during that ending, your choices are up to you, just make sure you visit the Experimental Prototyping room during Somewhat Damaged (you’ll get access to it when you’re supposed to disable the Neural Network, Datafort, and Thermic Control).
It’s not the “good” ending, but you can recover it a bit down the road to be an “OK” ending.. And honestly, Phantom Liberty’s “good” ending is more relative than anything (which is one of many reasons why Phantom Liberty is such a good DLC).
Once you’ve grabbed the blueprint, make sure you also grab the Behavioral system component from the dead bot. That’s needed for crafting.
You’ll later get a message which starts the questline to get you crafting it.
Anway, we’re primarily here to talk about how to USE this cyberdeck.
The Militech Canto Mk. 6 only has 4 slots for quickhacks, but trust me: That’s plenty here, because we’re going to make liberal use of the Blackwall Quickhack that comes with this cyberdeck.
I use Synapse Burnout, Short Circuit, Sonic Shock (swap for Cyberware Malfunction as-needed) and.. Tier 2 reboot optics.
Reboot optics at tier 2 only costs 2 RAM; By dropping it first, you’ll reduce the cost of Blackwall Quickhack (which should be second or third) by 1 (Queue Hack_Root) AND increase the upload speed by 30% (second point in Hack Queue).
While 3rd in the queue has 60% upload speed (Queue acceleration), that’s not worth it in my opinion for regular foes given it requires another queue’d hack and 30% reduction is enough to make the Blackwall Quickhack upload quickly enough.
After you’ve fired off that, trigger Overclock.. You’re going to need it.
As Blackwall Quickhack spreads, you’ll be relying on all the Circulatory System cyberware to keep you alive and keep feeding RAM thanks to Overclock. If you make use of cover you should only end up triggering your Biomonitor once per deployment of the Blackwall Quickhack in the late game.. And once you’ve got Body maxed? Adrenaline is definitely your friend!
Toss on the tier 5 Synapse Burnout to keep Overclock running; If Overclock has already ended, it’ll also help you restore it quickly assuming you’ve got the RAM for it. At this point it’s going to be a one-hit-kill quickhack for the regulars.
This playstyle is going to be a little stunted in the early game, but once you hit around level 40 you should be doing well enough here that you’re just wrecking everything with ease and rarely have to worry about your actual RAM in most cases.
Also: The Blackwall Quickhack doesn’t insta-kill bosses, but it does a SIGNIFICANT amount of damage. This is where Cyberware Malfunction and Synapse Burnout are also useful. If you want to use it on bosses, use Reboot Optics -> Cyberware Malfunction -> Blackwall Quickhack -> Synapse Burnout to make RAM usage more efficient (assuming you’ve got Queue Mastery).
This isn’t going to be a “super awesome best build ever” style of build; Stealth hacker builds still rule the roost, but this build IS something that’s fun to play, and the art direction and gameplay experience of the Blackwall Quickhack is both attractive and disturbing, if you’re into that sort of dark weirdness.