Best Starfield Build: Unarmed

Discover the best Unarmed Build in Starfield and how to create a powerful character with recommended skills, background, traits, weapons, and armor.

Starfield Power Attack

This build was updated for game version Starfield Update 1.11.33 – May 2024.

Unarmed Build Introduction in Starfield

Unarmed builds have long been famous for players who enjoy getting into the thick of battle. In Starfield, unarmed builds are more viable than ever, thanks to the game’s skill tree system. This build excels at aggressive close-range unarmed combat without the need to modify weapons or worry about ammo. With enough skill investment, it becomes incredibly resilient. The best part is that no ammunition or weapons are required to do significant damage. This guide will walk you through how to set up the Best Starfield Build Unarmed.

Check out our melee build if you want to use melee weapons with Swords and Knives. The Unarmed version uses just a fist, zero weapons, and Neurostrike’s skill to stun enemies and disarm their weapons. Similar to other Bethesda games like Fallout 4, unarmed builds can do incredible damage while surviving, and it is a fun, unique way to experience Starfield.

Unarmed Build ProsUnarmed Build Cons
High DamageSkill Point Dependent
No Ammunition RequiredNo Range
Crowd Control StunsAid Items Important

Features and Mechanics for Best Unarmed Build in Starfield

Starfield Best Unarmed Build

The following list presents all the essential Unarmed Build Mechanics and Features in Starfield:

  • Damage: Unarmed
  • Range: 3 meters
  • Weapon: Fist
  • Best Skills: Neurostrikes, Martial Arts, Boxing
  • Starborn Power: Phased Time
  • Background: Bouncer
  • Traits: Alien DNA, Extrovert
  • Companion: Vasco

Starfield Unarmed Attacks Explained

Unarmed attacks in Starfield have three mechanics: basic attack, power attack, and blocking. These are identical to melee but do not require a weapon and can do powerful damage with the right skill selection. An unarmed basic attack is the same button as your trigger, while blocking is your aim button. You can perform an unarmed power attack by pressing your melee attack button. This will do more damage but also has a longer animation.

It is best to use a power attack when you can expect no damage incoming for 2 seconds. Your power attack will consume oxygen, so you’ll want a large capacity with skills and traits. In general, combat focuses on sprinting into the action and trying to stun attackers, then unloading them with power attacks. Fellow melee players will attack you, and you can use it to block and stagger them for a second.


Starfield Bouncer Background

The best Background for a Unarmed build is the Bouncer. The Bouncer background in Starfield gives you Boxing, Security, and Fitness skills at level 1. Here’s of the Bouncer Background skills in Starfield:

  • Boxing: Unarmed attacks do 25% more damage. 25% less O2 used when using a power attack.
  • Security: You can attempt to hack Advanced locks, and 2 auto attempts can be banked.
  • Fitness: You have 10% more oxygen available.

Bouncer – You’ve worked the line at the toughest clubs in the Settled Systems. Back then, you learned that most non-lethal confrontations can be solved one of two ways: a strong right hook, or a more strongly secured door.


The best traits for an Unarmed build in Starfield are Alien DNA and Extrovert because they increase your Oxygen capacity. Oxygen is vital to a successful Unarmed build because most of your speed comes from sprinting and unarmed power attacks cost oxygen. Here are the best traits for a Unarmed build in Starfield:

  • Alien DNA: You volunteered for a controversial experiment that combines alien and human DNA. As a result, you start with increased health and oxygen, but healing and food items aren’t as effective.
  • Extrovert: You’re a people person. Exerting yourself uses less oxygen when adventuring with human companions, but more when adventuring alone.

Traits are optional customization options in Character Creation. Players can select up to three attributes from a comprehensive list of traits to further shape their protagonists. The May 2024 update allows players to change their traits on a New Game + (Unity). Thus, you can change them both in the game and in a new game, which keeps your progress but starts the universe over.


Starfield Neurostrikes Skill

Neurostrikes, Boxing, and Martial Arts are the best skills for an unarmed bulid because they increase your damage of melee builds. Moreover, the Neurostrikes skill can stun and disarm enemies. This gives you the upper hand while controlling enemies. Moreover, you will need mobility to close the distance and get away, so Boost Pack Training is recommended. Carry weapons with you early on until you can progress the Physical skill tree to higher levels.

You should try to rank up skills by completing their requirements. For example, Boost Pack Training hits Boost Pack constantly in combat to level it up very quickly. Leave one enemy alive, continually boost the pack as you have fuel, and you can complete the progression in one encounter.

Level Progression

The main focus for leveling an unarmed build is the Physical skill tre with Martial Arts and Neurostrikes. Moreover, your oxygen capacity and overall health pool can be increased while leveling this tree and aid with survival. Don’t forget science and tech trees because science aids in crafting, while tech helps with mobility via Boost Pack training. You can forgo these skills to gain Neurstrikes faster, but it will overall limit various aspects of Starfield.

Starfield leveling progression system gives you three skills at level one via your background, then one skill per level without a level cap. You will need several skill points in each tree to move to the next level and pick higher-tier skills. Unlike other Bethesda games, Starfield requires you to use or complete specific objectives with your skills to take a higher rank. For instance, in Boost Pack Training, hit Boost Pack constantly in combat to level it up very quickly. Leave one enemy alive, continually boost the pack as you have fuel, and you can complete the progression in one encounter. This is why we jump from tree to tree, giving you time to level up your skill ranks. Come back or take another skill in the progression if you haven’t reached the level.

Levels 1 – 10

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 1 – 10 with the Unarmed Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 1: Boxing, Security, Fitness
  • Level 2: Boost Pack Training
  • Level 3: Medicine
  • Level 4: Stealth
  • Level 5: Astrodynamics
  • Level 6: Wellness
  • Level 7: Boxing Rank 2
  • Level 8: Gymnastics
  • Level 9: Boost Pack Training Rank 2
  • Level 10: Medicine Rank 2

Levels 11 – 20

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 11 – 20 with the Unarmed Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 11: Astrodynamics Rank 2
  • Level 12: Spacesuit Design
  • Level 13: Boxing Rank 3
  • Level 14: Wellness Rank 2
  • Level 15: Pain Tolerance
  • Level 16: Martial Arts
  • Level 17: Fitness Rank 2
  • Level 18: Boost Pack Training Rank 3
  • Level 19: Spacesuit Design Rank 2
  • Level 20: Boxing Rank 4

Levels 21 – 30

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 21 – 30 with the Unarmed Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 21: Nutrition
  • Level 22: Neurostrikes
  • Level 23: Concealment
  • Level 24: Martial Arts Rank 2
  • Level 25: Wellness Rank 3
  • Level 26: Boost Pack Training Rank 4
  • Level 27: Gastronomy
  • Level 28: Shield Systems
  • Level 29: Martial Arts 3
  • Level 30: Neurostrikes 2


Starfield AA-99 Rifle
AA-99 Rifle
Starfield Combat Knife Weapon
Combat Knife Melee

Unlike other builds, the Unarmed build doesn’t need weapons to do damage. You keep your weapon slot unequipped and do damage with your fist. At the start of the game, you won’t be able to do much damage because you need skills ranked up, like Boxing, Martial Arts, and Neurostrikes. Keeping at least a couple of weapons on your person is recommended when melee is simply impossible due to bugs or range.

For this build, I recommend using a rifle like the AA-99 for range situations where you cannot reach a target. The Combat Knife also makes a great choice especially when used from stealth. You can sneak up on targets and kill them outright if undetected. Once you level up to 15+, you won’t be reliant on weapons, but it comes in handy in certain situations.

Weapons can have up to 8 modifications depending on the type. Each mod requires materials or resources and the Weapon Engineering skill from the Science skill tree. You will also have to research mod upgrades via a research station, and it can take some time to unlock the full potential of the gun and weapons. Weapons have four qualities: white, blue, purple, and legendary yellow. If a weapon is blue or greater in rarity, it comes with a perk or a trait. These add additional effects in addition to modifications.


The best armor for Unarmed Build is a Navigator spacesuit, power pack, and helmet. The Navigator armor has a low mass, which allows you to carry more materials. The most important consideration when selecting armor is mass (weight), perks, or extra effects. Your goal with this build is to be quick, not bogged down with heavy armor. Mass is the most important consideration, and aid items like heart+ are used to reduce damage.

Here are the recommended armor perks and traits for a Unarmed build in Starfield:

  • Acrobat: -50% fall damage.
  • O2 Boosted: +20% oxygen capacity.
  • Reactive: 10% chance to stagger nearby attackers.

Armors are available in four distinct qualities: white, blue, purple, and the legendary yellow. If an armor piece holds the rarity of blue or higher, it boasts an accompanying perk or trait. These augmentations introduce supplementary effects alongside any modifications. For instance, the “Beast Hunter” perk reduces damage from Alien enemies by 15%. Inspect each blue or greater armor mod and see if the trait and perk align with your build.

Starborn Power

Starfield Phased Time Power
Starfield Phase Time Starborn Power

The best Starborn power for Unarmed Build is Phased Time because it slows everything around you, allowing you to close the distance and avoid damage. You want to be the fastest blur to dash up and destroy enemies. Two other powers are Reaction Shield for heavy incoming weapon fire and Anti-Gravity field, which renders targets vulnerable.

Starborn Powers are earned through the main story campaign. You will encounter artifacts early on and acquire more of them as you progress. Using Vlad, located in the eye, and the Constellation group, located at the Lodge, to find more. Spend time discovering and exploring Temples to progress this power.


Starfield Best Companion Vasco

The best companion for the Unarmed Build is Vasco because the robot can access three high-powered Starship skills that the Bouncer Background lacks. Here’s a list of Vasco’s skills:

  • EM Weapon Systems: EM ship weapons have 10% increased damage and cost 15% less to use in Targeting Mode.
  • Shield Systems: Your ship has 40% increased shield capacity.
  • Aneutronic Fusion: Ship reactors produce 1 extra unit of power.

You can also play solo, but it requires a heavy investment in your social skill tree. In the second skill level, you find isolation, which increases your damage and reduces damage when playing solo. This would be the ultimate goal later in the game, post-level 50, with abundant skill points.

Build Summary – Unarmed Best Build for Starfield

Background – Bouncer

Traits – Alien DNA, Extrovert

Primary Weapon – Fist

Armor – Navigator

Companion – Vasco

Starborn Power – Phased Time


  • Neurostrikes
  • Boxing
  • Martial Arts
  • Boost Pack Training
  • Wellness
  • Concealment
  • Stealth
  • Spacesuit Design
  • Gymnastics
  • Pain Tolerance

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