Discovering the hidden player classes in Cyberpunk 2077 -- a theorycrafting exercise

Table of Contents

  1. Idle curiosity
  2. Attribute relationships
    1. Summary
    2. Reasoning
  3. The four core classes
  4. Black Widow: the fifth class
  5. I demand a recount! 6 classes
  6. No way dude

Idle curiosity

I enjoy watching video game walkthroughs during downtime at my computer chair – for example, when I'm half-napping or cleaning my glasses. It's nice to see masterful execution of something light and entertaining, yet complex. I feel that mastery and attitude is a good influence on how I approach my work. It also gives my hominid brain a jolt of the ancestral environment, a sort of false context to help process whatever unnatural real work I'm doing.

I just started watching Cyberpunk 2077 walkthroughs. Pozz levels are low enough that even the cutscenes are mostly tolerable – thanks based Poland! I'm watching Major Slack and Centerstrain's playthroughs. The former has better strategy, the latter better tactics. Switching between them prevents me from growing annoyed or bored, and provides interesting contrast.

It's a beautiful game, and fun to watch. I've never played it, nor do I intend to.

So of course I know I don't understand the game, and can't intelligently analyze it. Trying to do so would be silly.

However, when I get an inkling of a pattern, it bugs me until I search it out. I could sense a pattern in Cyberpunk 2077's main attributes, but couldn't articulate it. I figured the easiest way to answer my question would be to Google the main builds, which would show what's optimal. Here's how my search started:

I wonder what the main builds of cyberpunk 2077 are?
one to take each attribute to max (20?) I suppose.
[2021-02-16 Tue 01:55]

googled cbp guides
specialization is definitely rewarded.
[2021-02-16 Tue 02:13]

But I wasn't satisfied. The itch only got worse. The builds didn't reveal any sensible laws about attribute tradeoffs. What I was seeing didn't make sense with what little I understood about the attributes.

So I went to the wiki and read the pages on the attributes, and a few more besides. I read about perks, checked some weapons. And I saw the pattern.

Attribute relationships


Body or Reflexes, pick one. Bulky or lithe.

Tech Ability or Intelligence, pick one means of battlefield control. Hacker or tinker.

Cool: Tinkers are loud and cold-blooded to counter the rush. Hackers are stealthy and attack without line of fire. Only the Weaver is both stealthy and cold-blooded.


Body or Reflexes offers a main damage source: Brawler/Annihilator or Blades/Pistols/Assault. You only need one Main Damage Source (MDS). Your secondary will come from the same attribute. For example, a Brawler can still use an Annihilator's shotgun or machine gun if he needs a ranged attack. Assault would be a waste of time for him, though.

Once you have adequate damage per second, you need battlefield control. Grenades are one method of crowd control and debuffs; quick hacks are another. Tech Ability and Intelligence both offer lots of mage-like abilities that offer something other than being a good main damage source. Trying to do both Tinker and Hacker stuff in combat interferes excessively with tactical movement and MDS application. Thus it's better to specialize.

When either Tinker or Hacker is tertiary, then the combat rhythm becomes much smoother. For example, with the short Quickhack list of a tertiary hacker, it's easy to remember to Ping or whatever, while still throwing grenades and firing tech weapons at the appropriate times. One only needs the hacks that support a Tinker.

Cool is the odd man out. I like to think of Cool in the center, like this:

Body <-> Reflexes | Cool | Tinker <-> Hacker

Usually stealthy and cold-blooded are a tradeoff. One is for slow bloodless 1v1; the other for quick bloody 1 v all.

The exception to the above rules is the Monowire. It's a viable alternative MDS, even without investing in Body:Brawler. That's because the Monowire charges when equipped. This makes Stealth's delays contribute to MDS, even during multi-melee. Hence the Black Widow class.

The four core classes

Yep, I'm introducing classes to Cyberpunk 2077. I couldn't find any good info on player classes via a quick Google. It was only stuff from the paper RPG or NPC classes. So if this is bullshit, it's at least original.

Good builds fall within a class:

  • Metalmonk: max body athletic street brawler, stealth, hacker
  • Artillery: max body annihilation, cold blooded, tinker
  • Hitman/Ninja: max reflexes pistols OR blades, stealth, hacker
  • Riflemaniac: max reflexes assault, max tinker, cold blooded

It's pistols OR blades because the Skippy AI smart gun can auto-headshot any threat in melee range, rendering blades unnecessary for the Hitman. Likewise, the Ninja can stealth almost every foe, rendering investment in pistols mostly superfluous, especially with Skippy to auto-headshot distant snipers.

Black Widow: the fifth class

I looked for good classes outside the core four, but found only the Black Widow. She is built on Cool and the monowire as MDS. This allows her to avoid the necessity of maxing either Body or Reflexes for an MDS.

The monowire charges over time, favoring delay, which the Black Widow achieves via hacking and stealth.

The class: max Cool with cold-blooded AND stealth, max hacker, some Body for brawler and athlete, dump Reflex and tinker.

Thematically, the Black Widow hacks the net and wields what looks like a Bolas spider's line. She's the player version of a netrunner, a weaver of death.

I'm proud of this one.

I demand a recount! 6 classes

After I created Black Widow, I tried to make an equivalent Tinker class. But I just couldn't. Tech Weapons still need the relevant firearm skill, which means maxing Reflex.

But wait a minute… maybe I already did? Aren't there actually FIVE "core" classes? Hitman and Ninja aren't the same thing, really.

That would make Riflemaniac the Tech Ability class. He only needs to invest perks in 1/3 Reflex categories. He doesn't need Blades for melee, since he can use a smart automatic weapon to spray even the most annoying melee opponents. Or just draw Skippy if he's feeling totally lazy.

That leaves lots of perk points for either Cold Blooded or Tech Ability. With his sniper standoff ability, his odds of being swarmed are low. This makes Tech Ability more important than Cold Blooded. Strong grenades also help deter foes from closing under his ideal medium engagement range. He can toss a flashbang in the path of charging meleeists.

Why am I disagreeing with my own numbering system? Well, I wanted to keep the four core classes simple at first to show their relationship to the attributes.

No way dude

So are these builds good, or am I a theorycrafting fool? I will never know unless someone tells me.

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