Cyberpunk 2077 Best Builds Guide for Patch 2.0 - Outfitting V for Phantom Liberty and beyond

Cyberpunk 2077 is back in the news in 2023, mainly for its highly anticipated Phantom Liberty expansion. But even players who don't plan to to visit Dogtown soon will come away with something new to play with in the base game. That's because just ahead of the launch of Phantom Liberty, the game will receive the patch "2.0" update, a major overhaul of the core character progression in Cyberpunk 2077.

These changes are retroactive throughout the whole game, and touch every aspect of how a player builds their V. From their initial Lifepath choice up to Phantom Liberty itself and beyond, the experience of building and outfitting your character has had a comprehensive revamp. That means the best Cyberpunk 2077 builds from before patch 2.0 will need tweaking or rethinking. Characters you have in old saved games will also need a respec when you load in. And for fresh players, older best builds guides won't be as applicable as they used to be.

To make coming to grips with the overhauled system smoother, we've come up with this quick guide to understanding character progression in the 2.0 era of Cyberpunk 2077, as well as a few build suggestions for your game and Phantom Liberty.

Understanding Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Builds: What do Attributes, Perks, and Skills do?

The essence of your character in Cyberpunk 2077 is defined by three things: Attributes, Perks, and Skills. Each is intertwined and related to the others:

  • Attributes represent V's five core abilities with a minimum score of 3 and maximum of 20. Investing attribute points as you level up grants general stat benefits, and at certain thresholds unlocks new tiers of Perk for that attribute. Certain actions also require a threshold of attribute points, such as hijacking an occupied vehicle or opening a locked door. Allocating Attribute Points is important, as you can only "respec" your attribute points freely one time.
    • Body represents physical power. V gains +2 maximum health per point of Body. A high Body score allows V to force open doors, carry mounted machine guns, and hijack occupied cars.
    • Reflexes represents speedy movement and agility. V gains +0.5% Critical Chance per point of Reflexes. Reflexes points also affect dialog choices somewhat.
    • Technical Ability represent's V's technological know-how. V gains +2 Armor per point of Technical Ability. Technical Ability points allow V to steal parked vehicles, open certain locks, and make tech-savvy comments.
    • Intelligence is all about Netrunning. V gains +1 Max RAM per 4 Intelligence points. Every Quickhack costs RAM to execute, making RAM the key limiting resource on a Quickhacker. Intelligence points allow V to hook up to access points, open other types of locks, and make comments related to the net and technology.
    • Cool is an attribute related to subtlety and stealth. Improving Cool adds +1.25% Crit Damage per point of Cool. Cool also unlocks various dialog options.
  • Perks are special benefits tied to an Attribute. Each Attribute's Perk "family" affects a certain aspect of combat, such as a category of weapon or a play style. Perks have dramatic effects on your abilities, and essentially define your playstyle. You're also free to change your playstyle, as Perks can be refunded freely and reallocated, so if you feel up to it, you can tailor your build to different encounters. You can unlock new tiers of Perk when you've invested 4, 9, 15, and 20 Attribute Points in a specific Attribute.
    • Body Perks affect health regen, blunt weapons like clubs and bats, shotguns, machine guns, and ramming things in vehicles.
    • Reflexes Perks unlock advanced movement abilities llike Air Dashing and acrobatic exits from vehicles, as well as V's proficiency with assault rifles, SMGs, and bladed weapons like Katanas and Mantis Blades.
    • Technical Ability Perks enhance combat gadgets like grenades or healing stims, as well as Tech Weapons and the Projectile Launch System Cyberware. Notably, this attribute unlocks Perks that enhance all equipped Cyberware, enhancing capacity, stat bonuses, and eventually allowing you to install past your Cyberware capacity cap.
    • Intelligence Perks deal heavily with Quickhacking, the Breaching minigame, and also enhance the effectiveness of Smart Weapons and the Monowire Cyberware. High investment in Intelligence Perks allow you to Overclock, spending health to launch Quickhacks even when you lack available RAM.
    • Cool Perks are all about stealth, evasion, and using thrown weapons like knives, pistols, revolvers, sniper rifles, and precision rifles. Cool Perks enhance your stealth damage, increase your Mitigation (a flat chance to reduce incoming damage), and let you slow down time when aiming. Cool Perks also improve the Optical Camo Cyberware.
  • Skills are a third, passive category of improvement related to what you do in the game. Skills are where CD Projekt Red folded many of the tiny, incremental percentage benefit Perks from the old system. You earn Skills simply by performing actions related to a given play style. As you level up, you unlock small bonuses that further increase your effectiveness in that play style. Some Skill levels even add extra Perk points, allowing you to unlock Perks independently of your Attribute levels. In essence, Skills are rewards for playing the way you want to play. Each Skill category unlocks a new bonus every 5 levels up to a maximum of 60. Some enemies will also drop "Skill Shards", special shards that give you flat bonuses to Skill XP.
    • Headhunter is a skill category related to neutralizing enemies in a stealthy fashion. Getting kills from stealth, using silenced or thrown weapons, performing takedowns, and getting headshots with handguns and sniper and precision rifles will up your Headhunter Skill. Headhunter Skill bonuses include improvements to stealth, and at level 60, you can recharge the Optical Camo Cyberware by killing enemies using Cool-related abilities like Focus and Deadeye modes or with thrown weapons.
    • Netrunner Skills are all about hacking and quickhacks. You gain Netrunner Skill XP whenever you perform a Quickhack or successful breach, or taking out enemies using Quickhacks or Smart weapons. Netrunner Skill bonuses do things like improve your RAM recovery, increase Quickhack damage, and speed up Smart weapon lock-on. At level 60, Overclocking reveals nearby enemies and allows you to quickhack through walls and cover.
    • Shinobi refers to getting kills while highly mobile, such as while sliding, dodging, dashing, air dashing, hovering in mid-air, using the Sandevistan Cyberware, and using melee weapon fast attacks. At level 60 Shinobi skill, having Sandevistan active increases your Crit Chance by 40% and completely removes the stamina cost for movement.
    • Solo Skills are improved by neutralizing enemies in direct combat using heavy weapons, blunt weapons, fists and Gorilla Arms, using strong melee attacks, killing with melee abilities in the Body category like Quake and Savage Sling. Solo Skill bonuses improve health and carrying capacity, and at level 60 the Berserk cyberware efects last longer, give you back more health from Finishers, and make finishers easier to perform.
    • Engineer Skills get bonuses from using the crafting system. Upgrading gear, disassembling weapons, using combat gadgets like grenades and explosives, and using Tech Weapons and Technical Ability-related perks like EMP and the Fury mode from the Edgerunner perk. Engineer Skill bonuses improve your armor, the effectiveness of combat gadgets, Tech Weapon added effects, and Cyberware capacity. At level 60, you'll occasionally release an EMP blast when in Fury mode.

Regarding the Relic

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty also introduces a 6th "Attribute" with its own Perk tree: The Relic. Your initial encounter with Songbird, a key character from Phantom Liberty's story, will "optimize" the weird Arasaka tech stuck in V's head and unlock a new set of exotic abilities. These abilities focus on juicing up specific pieces of Cyberware, and introducing a few useful twists to your scanner and the Optical Camo item.

Relic Perks are earned by receiving special points while exploring Dogtown and participating in Phantom Liberty jobs. They don't really interact with the core of Cyberpunk 2077's 2.0 character progression. For builds, consider the Relic perks "nice to have" but not incredibly essential.

How Should I Build My Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Character?

Only you can really answer that question, and it'll depend on how you like to approach combat. If you're new to the game, figuring out your preferences over time is the best way to find out your favorite playstyle, which is why we recommend starting a new, fresh game, even if you're just here to mess around with Phantom Liberty.

The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is remembering that it's not easy to reallocate your Attribute Points, but it's absolutely free to rearrange your Perk selection. You can even change Perks in the middle of a fight by hitting the character menu.

With that in mind, you should decide your general approach to the game early. Generally speaking, your preferred playstyle will probably emphasize one or two Attributes above the others. Stealth characters that like to snipe from high places will want to spec into Cool and Reflexes, unlocking stealthy, sniping-related Perks in the Cool family and accessing high-end movement abilities from the Reflexes family. A stealthy melee "assassin" type of build will probably also spec into Cool and Reflexes, but instead will prefer Perks to boost their blade handling from Reflex and have a few points dedicated to improving their knife-tossing. 

Perk tiers unlock at points 4, 9, 15, and 20, so invest points into Attributes with the goal of hitting those break points.

You don't need to worry too much about specializing, though. While committing to a single approach helps in the early game, you'll have plenty of room to flex and try out alternative play styles in the same game.

With the Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 maximum level cap set to 50, you'll earn enough Attribute Points to max out at least 3 Attributes and unlock the first tier of Perks in the remaining two trees. If you install Phantom Liberty, the level cap will be raised to 60, giving you the points needed to either unlock 3rd-tier Perks in one more Attribute or 2nd-tier Perks in two more. That's plenty of points to go around and will give you some room to flex this way or that in your preferred build. And, if you absolutely regret your decisions and want to rethink from the ground up, you'll have access to a one-time respec that will refund every single Attribute Point you've earned to date.

The Best Builds for Cyberpunk 2077 Patch 2.0 and Phantom Liberty

Keep reading for some of our best builds for Cyberpunk 2077 patch 2.0.

All of these builds are set for level 50, but will have notes on what you can do once you've installed Phantom Liberty and unlocked the expanded level cap and the special Relic submenu.

For your convenience, we'll link each build in the official Cyberpunk 2077 Build Planner, a special online tool from CD Projekt Red that allocates you a bunch of Attribute and Perk points to play with and give you an idea of the heights you can reach in-game.

Finally, each build will have a few notes on its general play style, which points and perks to prioritize in the early- and mid-game, and suggested gear items to equip. These builds won't be centered around specific Iconic Weapons, so you won't need to worry about having to acquire specific items just to make them work. Like the Relic perks, though, they do help.

Stealth Hacker/Sniper Classic

  • Attributes (Level 50): 4 Body, 4 Reflexes, 20 Intelligence, 20 Technical Ability, 20 Cool
  • Preferred Weapons: Pistols, Revolvers, Sniper Rifles, Precision Rifles, Quickhacks
  • Recommended Cyberwear: Cyberdeck, Optical Camo, Kiroshi "Sentry" Optics, RAM Upgrade, Memory Boost, Bioconductor, RAM Recoup, Atomic Sensors, Synaptic Accelerator, Clutch Padding, Fortified Ankles
  • Build Planner Link

This build is almost entirely focused on maximizing the potential of a hacking and Quickhack-focused playthrough, coalescing into that staple of the open-world RPG: The stealth archer sniper. In essence it replicates the powerful hacker builds from the previous version of the game, the ones that could clear an entire building full of enemies without ever stepping through the doorway. This version of V will spend most of their time behind cover, peeking out to tag an enemy with their scanner and then watching that enemy and all their friends have the worst headaches of their lives. Using Overclock and Queue Mastery, the build can stack multiple Quickhacks on a single enemy as well as cause Quickhacks to spread to their allies. They'll boost the output of their combat Quickhacks (like Short Circuit) by hitting enemies first with Covert or Control Quickhacks like Reboot Optics or Cyberware Malfunction. And they'll do it all from far away, after hacking the nearest surveillance camera to do it from.

Similarly, their Cool expertise means that enemies will barely detect them. Even a detected V will be extremely hard to hit thanks to the ability to crouch-run while in stealth, and thanks to high mitigation. Finally, in straight combat this V prefers sniper rifles and silenced handguns, scoring boosted headshots from the time-dilated Deadeye ability. The pistol and stealth expertise will also help V stay alive in the early stages of the game, when Quickhacks are less deadly and RAM is slower to recharge.

In Phantom Liberty, this build should push Reflexes up to 15, unlocking extreme maneuvers like Dash and Air Dash, the better to get V to places unreachable or undetectable by foes. In the Relic tree, the build should unlock the Emergency Cloaking and Vulnerability Analytics Perks, revealing enemy weakpoints to snipe, as well as boosting Optical Camo to turn this V into a complete ghost.

An alternative melee-based approach to this build could also unlock Data Tunneling in the Relic tree as well as Siphon and Finisher: Live Wire, plus the Proximate Propagation sub-Perk. Data Tunneling allows the Monowire to channel an assigned Quickhack into enemies it hits for a free hack with no RAM cost. You can then upload combat hacks into any enemies in melee range, stacking them up and softening foes before finishing them off with the Monowire.

The A-OK Boomer

  • Attributes (Level 50): 20 Body, 20 Reflexes, 3 Intelligence, 20 Technical Ability, 8 Cool
  • Preferred Weapons: Explosives, Shotguns, LMGs, HMGs, Melee, Projectile Launch System
  • Recommended Cyberwear: Sandevistan or Berserk, Gorilla Arms or Projectile Launch System, Kiroshi "Doomsayer" Optics, Blood Pump, Dense Marrow, Scar Coalescer, Kinetic Frame, Microgenerator, Ballistic Coprocessor, Kerenzikov, Reflex Tuner, Biomonitor, Heal-on-Kill, Carapace, Shock-and-Awe, Jenkins' Tendons or Fortified Ankles or Reinforced Tendons
  • Build Planner Link

The build as linked leans heavily on gadgets and explosive damage, using close range and heavy weapons like shotguns and LMGs, and using high-mobility powers from the Reflexes Perk tree to get in every enemy's faces. This build is also very heavy on Cyberware, and can install huge, costly upgrades that will whittle down their maximum health. Hence, the points in Technical Ability that enhance the use of healing items and increasing Armor.

But that said, this bruiser build is surprisingly versatile. You could focus fully on melee blunt weapons simply by shifting your perk selections to the other side of body tree. Or if you prefer hopping around like a maniac with automatic weapons, rededicate some of those shotgun points to the Reflexes tree's Assault Rifle and SMG skills. Just about the only things this build can't do are sneak or hack things easily.

In Phantom Liberty, this build should unlock Relic abilities affecting their arm cyberware of their choice (like the Gorilla Arms), and then spend the other points unlocking the Vulnerability Analytics abilities. The extra levels should be dedicated to the Cool Tree. That way you'll be able to learn crouch-sprinting or improve the effectiveness of thrown weapons.

Studied the Blade

  • Attributes (Level 50): 7 Body, 20 Reflexes, 9 Intelligence, 20 Technical Ability, 15 Cool
  • Preferred Weapons: Bladed weapons, Mantis Blades, Smart weapons, Thrown weapons, Smart Weapons
  • Recommended Cyberwear: Sandevistan or Berserk, Mantis Blades, Kiroshi "Stalker" Optics, Newton Module, Dense Marrow, Scar Coalescer, Kinetic Frame, Smart Link, Kerenzikov, Reflex Tuner, Biomonitor, Heal-on-Kill, Nano-Plating, Shock-and-Awe, Reinforced Tendons
  • Build Planner Link

This build is the kind of melee build that only whips out a gun when absolutely necessary. Most of its perks are fully focused on high damage at melee range using a bladed weapon like a Katana or the Mantis blades. Even thrown weapons like knives are a little bit off-limits for this blade-centric "street samurai" build. The trade-off, though, is that there's nothing you can't cut or blast apart at melee range. Enemies will be lucky to even land a hit before they're cut apart, and the high-end Cyberware this version of V can equip will keep the merc safe, even when their lower-than-average health won't.

In Phantom Liberty, this build becomes much less vulnerable, once more points are put into Cool to maximize throwing weapons, as well as unlocking Relic abilities like Jailbreak and Spatial Mapping, which turn the mantis blades into even more of a mobility-enhancing tool. Further points can also be put into Body for more health, intelligence to improve the use of Smart weapons or into buying Cool perks to improve V's proficiency with pistols.

Those are just a few of the build possibilites present in the revamped edition of Cyberpunk 2077. Even developer CD Projekt RED shared a few builds endorsed by individual members of the team to introduce players to the new system. In a series of video presentations, the company promoted three new Cyberpunk 2077 patch 2.0 builds based on the new abilities in Phantom Liberty. You can check those out here, here, and here.

Cyberpunk 2077's Patch 2.0 update is available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The Phantom Liberty expansion launches on September 26, 2023. Check out RPG Site's full review of the expansion.