Best Explosives Build - Atomic Nukes

Best Explosives Build - Atomic Nukes - Fallout: New Vegas (FNV)

By zanuffas
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This post will cover the best Explosives build for Fallout: New Vegas. I will be going in-depth on the main attributes, skills, and gear. Moreover, for many Fallout players, some roleplaying background is necessary and I will also include that, which is totally optional.

Explosives Build

The build idea is simple, creating a menace on the battlefield that uses a wide array of explosive weapons. Fallout New Vegas gives a really good selection of options. The main concern for any of them - do you have enough caps? This will be a limiting factor until you start raking in some valuable loot to the vendors.

explosives build showcase fallout new vegas

Roleplaying

Max, a grizzled veteran of the wasteland, is known for explosive expertise and love for chaos. Growing up in a raider-infested territory, he learned the art of survival through cunning and firepower. The obsession with explosives began when Max stumbled upon a cache of pre-war military ordnance, unlocking a passion that would shape the future.

fallout new vegas explosives build explosions

Specializing in explosives, Max embodies destruction. His deep understanding of explosive devices, from crude frag grenades to devastating mini-nukes, marks him as a formidable presence on the battlefield.

Max is eager to fund your passion, which is expensive in terms of grenades, mines, and medicine. No treasure trove or valuable loot can escape your grasp as you scour every nook and cranny, eager to acquire more explosives to fund the passion. As a skilled lockpicker, Max possesses a knack for unraveling the secrets hidden behind locked doors and safes.

fallout new vegas explosives build looting

Repair is another skill Max honed to perfection. By fixing and modifying his explosive weapons, it ensures they remain in pristine condition, maximizing their destructive potential. Additionally, his knack for repairing allows you to sell refurbished equipment for a handsome profit, which is reinvested into the explosive arsenal.

Surviving the harsh wasteland and aftermath of your explosive encounters demanded Max to be proficient in the field of medicine. This way even a broken limb does not stop his exploration. Just inject a Stimpak and continue...

While explosives are Max's true passion, you understand the importance of versatility. When the supply of grenades dwindles, gun proficiency comes to the forefront. From a trusty revolver to a reliable rifle, his marksmanship ensures he is never left defenseless amidst the wasteland's perils.

And so Max wanders the wasteland...

Starting the Game

In this section, I would like to go through some recommendations for the Explosives build. This covers only the start of the game, so read the next section on how you should progress and how the end game build should look like.

SPECIAL

Attribute Value Description
fallout new vegas strength attribute specialStrength 7 This is an important attribute for a few reasons. It will allow us to carry some of the craziest weapons in the game. We will not be able to equip them yet, but with implants, this will be possible. Moreover, grenades and explosives weigh a lot so you will need strength to carry them.
fallout new vegas preception attribute specialPerception 5 Overall, perception is not extremely useful for us. It does not give any VAT accuracy bonus, making it the weakest out of all the attributes. However, the ability to detect enemies is quite useful and it will boost Explosives and Lockpicking skill levels.
fallout new vegas endurance attribute specialEndurance 9 You will need a lot of HP due to the constant risk of explosions radius affecting you. Moreover, this will also allow the maximum number of implants from New Vegas Medical Clinic.
fallout new vegas charisma attribute specialCharisma 1 We will not rely too much on these stats. It impacts companions' effectiveness and we use them as a distraction to enemies. However, they still pack a punch and are always good to have
fallout new vegas intelligence attribute specialIntelligence 8 Intelligence will be useful for obtaining more skill points and will give a decent boost to Repair and Medicine.
fallout new vegas agility attribute specialAgility 9 This attribute plays an important role, it increases the maximum amount of Action points for VATS, improves gun efficiency and increases reload speed which is very useful for Missile Launchers and Grenade Rifles.
fallout new vegas luck attribute specialLuck 1 Unfortunately, Luck does not provide critical chance bonuses to Explosives (they cannot crit). It is still useful as a way to make money from casinos if you prefer to explore

Tag Skills

These are the ones that you choose at the beginning of the game. Here is what I recommend:

Skill Description
explosives skill fallout new vegasExplosives The main skill that improves explosives damage. You can switch it with Guns because you will still use them mostly in the early game. However, then you may not be able to obtain Heave Ho at level 2
lockpick skill fallout new vegasLockpick I think this is a very important skill for this build. it will allow you to scavenge a lot of places for additional loot. Use it to make more caps and purchase explosives. I recommend reaching 50 as soon as possible
repair skill fallout new vegasRepair This allows for repairing your gear, especially armor which will break fast due to explosive shrapnel. Moreover, it will allow to improve the gear quality increasing its value.

Traits

The traits are definitely optional and just recommendations.

  • Wild Wasteland - gives some unique in-game encounters. I would generally recommend taking it, especially if you are playing for the first time.
  • Skilled - boosts all skills by 5. The 10% negative effect can be counteracted by resting in a safe bed and getting the well-rested bonus. Very valuable trait, that saves a lot of skill points down the road.
  • Kamikaze - if you are playing this for the first time, it's hard to say how effective this is. But more action points will allow you to use VATS more. In the late game, the damage reduction is not as severe.

Early game tips

The start of the game is particularly rough for this build. You do not have many caps, vendors don't sell lots of explosives and if your limbs are damaged each stimpak is very valuable. Here are some tips that I would like to share:

  • Loot everything that you can find, sell it, and start accumulating bottle caps. Spend them to buy stimpaks, dynamite, and grenades
  • Use normal guns - shotguns, pistols rifles. They are readily available and there are lots of ammo lying around. As you progress you will slowly switch them out for Grenade Rifles, Missile Launchers, etc.
  • Powder Gangers. They are a good source of dynamite early on. Of course, if you decide to befriend them, then this is a bit harder. They can be found around NCR Correctional Facility
  • Throwing Grenades can be tricky. For this, you can start using VATS.
  • For especially difficult encounters you can use Mercenary's Grenade Rifle. For now, the ammo is quite expensive and scarce, but later on, you can buy tons of it (if you have the caps)

Progression and Final Explosives Build

Now I would like to go through the progression for the build and how it should look once "it is done". I will also share some tips and directions to get the most out of it.

explosives build showcase 2 fallout new vegas

SPECIAL

Here is how your attributes should look like when they are maximized and you obtain most of the stuff in the game.

Attribute Value Description
fallout new vegas strength attribute specialStrength 10
  • +2 - Get Reinforced Spine in Old World Blues DLC
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic
fallout new vegas preception attribute specialPerception 6
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic
fallout new vegas endurance attribute specialEndurance 10
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic
fallout new vegas charisma attribute specialCharisma 2
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic
  • +1 - Divide Survivor, obtained with Lonesome Road. Will make your companions stronger
fallout new vegas intelligence attribute specialIntelligence 9
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic
fallout new vegas agility attribute specialAgility 10
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic
fallout new vegas luck attribute specialLuck 2
  • +1 - Purchase the implant from New Vegas Clinic

Skills

In this section, I will go through the skills for Explosives build. I would outline 5 main skills to concentrate on with this build. Generally, you will be able to maximize most of the skills to 100 by level 50. However, to make builds distinct and what to prioritize I outline these 5

Priority Skill Description
Highest explosives fallout new vegasExplosives Your main ability will unlock most of the needed perks. I recommend getting it to 70 by level 12 and then slowing down
Highest lockpick fallout new vegasLockpick Leveling this as fast as possible will allow the unlocking of most of the doors and containers for valuable loot. Generally, try to get 50 as soon as you can for average-difficulty skill locks.
Medium guns fallout new vegasGuns When explosives end or you just want to finish off the enemy use your guns
Medium medicine fallout new vegasMedicine Healing from the radius of your explosions (believe me this will be necessary)
Low repair fallout new vegasRepair Repair armor and rifles and improve weapons for higher value

Other skills

Once you have the core skills covered you can further improve the build by putting your points here.

  • Barter - allows to sell items for more and unlocks some dialogue checks
  • Science - crafting and terminal unlocks
  • Speech - always worthwhile as it unlocks more options for roleplaying

Perks

Although I list the perk in level order of when you should get them, I recommend assuming that this is a list. Different players will prefer getting different skills first, so some of the perks might be available later/earlier.

Level Perk Details
2 heave ho fallout new vegasHeave Ho Quite an arm you've got there. All thrown weapons fly farther and faster for you.

Requirements:
  • Strength - 5
  • Explosives 30
4 educated fallout new vegasEducated With the Educated perk, you gain two more skill points every time you advance in level. This perk is best taken early on, to maximize its effectiveness.

Requirements:
  • Intelligence 4
6 demolition expert fallout new vegasDemolition Expert With each rank of this perk, all of your explosive weapons do an additional 20%/40%/60% damage.

Requirements:
  • Explosives 50
8 Toughness fallout new vegasToughness With the Toughness perk, you gain +3 to the overall Damage Threshold. This perk may be taken twice, with the second rank granting an additional +3.

Requirements:
  • Endurance 5
10 grunt fallout new vegasGrunt Just good, honest infantry work! You do 25% more damage with 9mm and .45 Auto pistols and SMGs, service rifles, assault and marksman carbines, light machine guns, frag grenades, grenade rifles and launchers, and combat knives.

Requirements:
  • Guns 45
  • Explosives 20
12 strong back fallout new vegasStrong Back With this perk, you can carry an additional 50 lbs. of equipment.

Requirements:
  • Endurance 5
  • Strength 5
14 splash damage fallout new vegasSplash Damage When you're deep in enemy territory, you just start chucking grenades and hope for the best. All Explosives have a 25% larger area of effect when they detonate.

Requirements:
  • Explosives 70
16 hit the deck fallout new vegasHit The Deck Your extensive familiarity with Explosives allows you to ignore a portion of their damage. Your Damage Threshold is increased by 25 against any and all Explosives -- even your own.

Requirements:
  • Explosives 70
18 Adamantium Skeleton fallout new vegasAdamantium Skeleton With the Adamantium Skeleton perk, your limbs only receive 50% of the damage they normally would.
20 rapid reload fallout new vegasRapid Reload Rapid Reload makes all of your weapons reload 25% faster than normal.

Requirements:
  • Guns 30
  • Agility 5
22 demolition expert fallout new vegasDemolition Expert (2) With each rank of this perk, all of your explosive weapons do an additional 20%/40%/60% damage.

Requirements:
  • Explosives 50
24 demolition expert fallout new vegasDemolition Expert (3) With each rank of this perk, all of your explosive weapons do an additional 20%/40%/60% damage.

Requirements:
  • Explosives 50
26 Toughness fallout new vegasToughness (2) With the Toughness perk, you gain +3 to the overall Damage Threshold. This perk may be taken twice, with the second rank granting an additional +3.

Requirements:
  • Endurance 5
28 bloody mess fallout new vegasBloody Mess With the Bloody Mess perk, characters and creatures you kill will often explode into a red, gut-ridden, eyeball-strewn paste. Fun! Oh, and you'll do 5% more damage with all weapons.
30 life giver fallout new vegasLife Giver With the Life Giver perk, you gain an additional 30 Hit Points.

Requirements:
  • Endurance 6

Equipment

This section will cover some gear recommendations for Explosives build

Weapons

The explosives build a wide array of options - grenades, mines, grenade rifles, rocket launches, etc. The only limiting factor at least at the start of the game is ammo. However, once you pass that, feel free to use your preferred choices. Let me share what I like to use the most:

Weapon Description
thump thump fallout new vegasThump-Thump 40mmG rifle that has one ammo clip but deals sustainably high damage. This is my usual go-to weapon as you can easily control the explosions
Annabelle fallout new vegasAnnabelle A more powerful version of the Missile Launcher
esther fallout new vegasEsther A crazy powerful weapon that will take out anything it targets. There are a few cases in the game where I think it is crucial to have it (Old World Blues DLC)
Mercy fallout new vegasMercy A machine gun that uses grenades? Probably nothing much to add, as it is crazy powerful and the screen will not stop shaking.
25mm grenade APW fallout new vegas25mm grenade APW (GRA) Uses smaller grenades compared to other rifles but the radius is easier to control and you can avoid hitting yourself.
Mercenary's Grenade Rifle fallout new vegasMercenary's Grenade Rifle An early grenade weapon that you get from the start. Quite useful and probably the best thing you have until you unlock other weapons. Just be sure to not waste ammo too much
mfc grenade fallout new vegasMFC Grenade(GRA) As you will not use any energy weapons, MFC will be free. Use them to craft this grenade. You need Mad Bomber perk for this
frag grenade fallout new vegasFrag Grenade The main grenade weapon that you will use. They are readily available in the world

Especially, early in the game, use whatever you find, and don't be picky. Dynamite will be readily available

Armor

With armors it is fairly simple, get the ones that have the highest Damage Threshold (DT) stat.

Armor Description
t51 power armor fallout new vegasT-51b power armor Requires Power Armor Training. Gives +1 Strength and substantial radiation resistance. Moreover, it is very sturdy and does not need repairs as other otions
Remnants Power Armor fallout new vegasRemnants Power Armor This has the highest damage threshold value out of all armor. However, it may be difficult to obtain
Gannon family Tesla armor fallout new vegasGannon family Tesla armor A unique variant of Remnants Power Armor. It is a medium type with the highest damage threshold and provides some radiation resistance.
elite riot gear fallout new vegasElite Riot Gear One of the strongest medium armor in the game, and also looks cool
Combat armor, reinforced mark 2 fallout new vegasCombat armor, reinforced mark 2 The reinforced version of basic combat armor provides even more defenses
combat armor fallout new vegasCombat armor Probably the strongest early-game armor you can get. Provides a decent damage threshold

Helmets

There are plenty of helmets to choose from, particularly at the end game.

Armor Description
T-51b power helmet fallout new vegas.T-51b power helmet The helmet gives bonus charisma and +8 radiation resistance. Moreover, it has second highest Damage Threshold
Remnants Power helmet fallout new vegasRemnants power helmet This one has the highest damage threshold in the game of 8. However, it decreases charisma by 1 (which is not as important for us).
Elite Riot Gear Helmet fallout new vegasElite Riot Gear Helmet Has a Damage Threshold of 6, looks cool, gives sneak sight (better vision when sneaking), improves Perception by 2, and gives a bonus 5 Speech. Truly a remarkable helmet.
Combat helmet, reinforced mark 2 fallout new vegasCombat Helmet, Reinforced Mark 2 Reinforced combat helmet that comes with 5 damage threshold
Space Suit Helmet fallout new vegasSpace Suit Helmet Provides a 4-damage threshold which is quite high. It is also easily obtained as you progress with the main story quest. But for some, it may look silly

Other

Armor Description
Atomic-valence tri-radii-oscillator fallout new vegasAtomic-Valence Tri-Radii-Oscillator Can be worn together with many helmets. Gives health regeneration and Endurance +1. Moreover, it provides an additional Damage Threshold. Requires Old World Blues DLC
Valence radii-accentuator fallout new vegasValence Radii-Accentuator Can be worn together with many helmets. Gives health regeneration and Endurance +1. Moreover, it provides an additional Damage Threshold. The weaker version of the Atomic-valence Tri-Radii-Oscillator. Requires Old World Blues DLC

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this post on Explosives build in Fallout New Vegas. I covered the most important aspects like the start of the game and how to progress with your perks. This should give you a guiding hand not get lost in this huge game

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments

Discussion

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Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!