• Strength boosts weight capacity and melee damage in
    Fallout 4
    , making close quarters combat deadly for the Sole Survivor.
  • Perks like Iron Fist and Basher enhance unarmed and gun bashing attacks, providing unique combat options based on player preference.
  • Skills like Pain Train and Rooted offer special advantages for players using Power Armor or preferring a stationary combat style.

Strength is a key S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stat in the Fallout series. It affects how much weight players can carry before becoming over encumbered, and the damage done by their unarmed and melee weapon attacks. The more Strength the Sole Survivor has, the deadlier they are in close quarters combat, and the more gear they can carry.


Fallout 4: All Charisma Perks, Ranked

Charisma is an important stat in Fallout 4. The perks associated with it impact dialog, combat, and can help players make money.

In Fallout 4, the game’s Strength perks mostly help players become more effective when fighting enemies up close, although some also aid players who like to use heavy weapons such as mini guns. The versatility of these perks varies depending on the way that players approach their character and combat in general, although some are universally helpful no matter what build they use.

10 Iron Fist

Make Unarmed Attacks Better

Vault Boy stands next to a punching bag with fists held up

Since the Strength stat boosts the unarmed damage done by the Sole Survivor, players can make a Strength-focused character who just uses their fists instead of worrying about finding the right weapons or ammo. The Iron Fist perk is essential for builds like this, as each rank increases unarmed punching damage by 20%.

Higher ranks also add a chance to disarm, cripple, and even paralyze enemies with unarmed attacks. There are even a few weapons players can equip that are still considered unarmed, such as the Deathclaw Gauntlet, although they cannot be used in Power Armor. Unarmed builds, and therefore the Iron Fist perk, are very interesting for a specific niche of Fallout players.

9 Basher

Gun Bashing Gets A Boost

Vault Boy holds a gun with the barrel facing up. A poster in the background says 'Your Overseer Needs You!"

When players have a gun equipped, they can press the melee attack button to bash an enemy with the butt of their gun. While this does not do a lot of damage, it does stagger many enemies, and can give the player enough time to gain some space and regain control of the battlefield.

The Basher perk increases the damage done by gun bashing by 25% for each unlocked rank. At higher ranks, it also adds a chance to cripple enemies, which makes gun bashing much more useful. However, gun bashing is still not as quick at outright defeating enemies as simply switching to a melee weapon, so this perk is highly situational.

8 Steady Aim

Improve Hip-Fire Accuracy

Vault Boy aims a revolver towards the viewer

Many Fallout players use V.A.T.S. to target enemies, although Fallout 4‘s engine improved the gunplay from previous entries so much that using this tactical aid is not as important as it used to be.

The Steady Aim perk is for players who enjoy running and gunning without using V.A.T.S. very often, as it increases hip-fire accuracy with any gun. Players who like to get relatively close to enemies and spray them with bullets from a machine gun get particular use out of this perk. However, players who use long range weapons or V.A.T.S. more often than not should avoid it.

7 Pain Train

Use Power Armor To Sprint Into Enemies

Vault Boy charges at another character in a suit of Power Armor as an old timey train whistle goes off

Power Armor is incredibly useful in Fallout 4. It protects the player from a huge amount of ballistic and energy damage while also insulating the Sole Survivor from radiation. The only major downside is that players need to find a good number of fusion cores to keep the armor functional, although this is not a huge challenge.

The Pain Train perk is the final perk of the Strength tree, and makes Power Armor even more worthwhile. At its first rank, players in Power Armor can sprint into an enemy to deal a large amount of damage and also stagger them. The second rank increases these effects, and the third rank makes the enemy fall down instead of staggering them. This is a very fun and useful perk for any player who tends to wear Power Armor while roaming the Commonwealth.

6 Blacksmith

Modify Melee Weapons

Vault Boy works on a mace at a workbench

Blacksmith is a crafting perk that allows players to craft mods for their melee weapons. Each rank unlocks a new tier of mods, such as adding blades to a baseball bat so that it causes enemies to bleed. This perk is particularly useful in the early game when players have not yet been able to get the best melee weapons.

The perk shines best when paired with the Science! perk from the Intelligence tree, because many of the best melee weapon mods require at least one point in each. For players who want rocket-powered baseball bats or electrified revolutionary swords, this perk is the best way to get there.

5 Big Leagues

Improve Melee Weapon Attacks

Vault Boy is wearing a baseball uniform and holds a baseball bat over his shoulder

Since the Strength stat governs the amount of damage players can do with melee weapons, the Big Leagues perk is a great perk for players who want a Strength-focused character. Each of its ranks increases the damage output of melee weapons by 20%, and higher ranks even add additional effects.


Fallout 4: 7 Best Melee Weapons, Ranked

Melee weapons in Fallout 4 often get a bad rap because they aren’t compatible with VATS, but these close-range weapons prove that sentiment wrong.

Big Leagues grants a chance to disarm opponents, which can help turn the tide of battle when facing multiple enemies at close range. At its final rank, it also gives the player a chance to knock an enemy’s head clean off their body for an instant kill, which is very satisfying.

4 Heavy Gunner

Get More Use Out Of Heavy Weapons

Vault Boy fires a mini gun off screen

Each rank of the Heavy Gunner perk increases the damage done by heavy guns such as miniguns, missile launchers, and heavy incinerators. Each of these guns already does a massive amount of damage, so giving them a buff makes them the easiest weapons to use when killing difficult enemies, such as Deathclaws and Enclave Hellfire troopers.


Fallout 4: Best Heavy Weapons, Ranked

Fallout 4 has more than its fair share of firearms options for players. These guns, however, are the best heavy weapons in the game.

At its higher ranks, the Heavy Gunner perk also adds extra effects to heavy weapon attacks, such as increased hip-fire accuracy and the chance to stagger enemies when they’re hit by these weapons. Players who favor these kinds of weapons should definitely invest in this perk.

3 Rooted

Boost Defense While Standing Still

Vault Boy's bottom half is a tree trunk and he holds up a huge axe.

While many players move around quite a bit during combat, the Rooted perk encourages them to stay in one place instead. With this perk, players gain a buff to damage resistance as well as a boost to damage from their unarmed and melee weapon attacks, but only when they’re standing still.

Each rank increases these buffs, and the final rank also automatically disarms any enemy who attacks the player with a melee weapon, as long as the player isn’t moving. This perk is great for melee builds, and can also be helpful for players that favor using Power Armor, since the armor protects them from taking too much damage while staying still, which makes it easier for enemies to aim at them. If players can overcome the urge to stay on the move when fighting, this perk can be a great boon.

2 Strong Back

Carry More Weight

Vault Boy holds a giant box and bag over his head

Because of Fallout 4’s settlement building system, players are encouraged to pick up every random piece of junk to collect building materials. This, along with carrying too many weapons or armor, can easily lead players to become over-encumbered and then have to make the decision to throw something valuable away.

The Strong Back perk is the best long-term solution for increasing carry weight, although alcohol and Buffout can help in this regard temporarily. The first two ranks of this perk add 50 to the Sole Survivor’s carry weight, but the last two Ranks – using AP to run and having the ability to fast travel while over encumbered – are literal game-changers. Players who have huge amounts of AP can effectively use Strong Back’s third rank to never deal with the effects of being over encumbered no matter how much they’re carrying.

1 Armorer

Modify Armor

Vault Boy stands at an armor workbench with welding goggles and holds a welding torch

While armor mods can be found on enemy corpses or bought from merchants, the most reliable way to get armor mods is to craft them. The Armorer perk is what allows players to do this, and players who want the best armor possible should definitely unlock it.

Each rank of the perk allows the player to craft more advanced mods. From Rank 1 mods like Strengthened, which decreases limb damage taken, to Rank 4 mods like Reactive Plates, which reflects some melee damage back at the attacker, having access to mods can make a big difference in a player’s survivability. Being able to craft mods also means that players can experiment with them to find out which combination they like best. The Armorer perk is a great crafting perk that is nearly essential for any build.

fallout 4 box art

Fallout 4

November 10, 2015


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