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Shadowrun Trilogy: Best Street Samurai Builds

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  • Primary Stats
  • Hybrid Options
  • Cyberware

When does a samurai not use a katana? When they use guns. In the cyberpunk world of Shadowrun, Street Samurai is the term given to fast-shooting deadeyes who put all their focus on marksmanship. Forgo the silly swords – those are actually the intended tools of the Physical Adept. Instead, pick up a gun or three.

This doesn't mean a Street Samurai is totally restricted to guns, though. There's considerable room for hybridizing in the Shadowrun Trilogy and doing so can lead to some of the most rewarding character builds. Here are some pointers to get you started.

This guide presumes that you're looking for a gun-using Street Samurai. While you can follow the same general idea for a melee weapon user, Physical Adepts are simply the far better option for that style of play.

Primary Stats

The main stats for a Street Samurai will usually be Body and Quickness. Body provides your HP pool, and Shadowrun is full of enemies who can put the hurt on you. You'll want to boost this more if you intend on using shorter-range guns or dabbling in melee attacks. Quickness, on the other hand, dictates ranged damage and should be your main offensive stat. Dodge is pretty useful for all characters and you'll want as many ranks in Ranged Weapons as you can muster – it's your main source of damage, after all.

It'll be important early on to choose which guns you want to specialize in. It's not really efficient to put points into all varieties and you have plentiful access to all gun types thanks to merchants. Since this is a particularly important decision for a Street Samurai, we'll provide a breakdown of all four weapon types:

Gun TypeDescription
PistolsWhile pistols are usually fantastic to have as a backup, Shadowrun guns have infinite ammo and pistols are pretty lackluster in the damage department. Not recommended.
ShotgunsShotguns are fantastic in Shadowrun thanks to their ability to damage multiple enemies at once. This will come up a lot, so Shotguns are well worth considering.
SMGsSMGs are great when they hit thanks to their ability to hit multiple times per turn. With good critical hit luck, they're fantastic.
RiflesRifles are geared towards long-range combatants and are worth considering for that reason alone. You'll be able to reliably hit enemies before they get close enough to reliably hit you.

Picking two guns and focusing on them is a good way to stay versatile. This way, you can swap weapons in situations that call for it and you have a third weapon slot available for anything else you might want to bring to your build.

Hybrid Options

While the Strength stat is largely reserved for Physical Adepts – the antithesis to the ranged Street Samurai – it may be worth investing a few points to boost your Throwing Weapons skill. Grenades can be extremely helpful in certain situations and they're cheap. Making them more accurate is nothing but a boon.

Additionally, it may be worth putting a few points into Charisma. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, you'll unlock new Etiquettes, which are great for unlocking new dialogue options that may net you better rewards or let you bypass puzzles, as well as learn some interesting lore about the world. Secondly, you may wish to dabble in Shamanism. Shaman spells, which are generally support-oriented, are less useful for a Street Samurai, but being able to summon spirits puts more bodies on the field and can make for a great distraction tactic.

Intelligence is a pretty good backup for most builds. Making healing items more effective with Biotech is a decent use for spare Karma and both Decking and Rigging have their benefits. Decking is mostly useful in the first Shadowrun campaign, Dead Man's Switch, as it lets you access some Matrix encounters that you wouldn't otherwise be able to take on since you don't always have access to a dedicated Decker as in the other campaigns. Additionally, Decks let you use Mark Target, which will increase your hit rate – a fantastic setup for a gunner.

Rigging, on the other hand, is not a bad option for a Street Samurai. Drones are very useful in the same way as Spirit Summoning, and they come with less cost and less risk. The loss of an AP per round is negligible, too, since Street Samurai should be good at attacking from range and not need to move every turn.


When it comes to outfitting your Street Samurai with some chrome, you have a lot of options. While expensive, these tech additions can significantly boost your combat prowess, so it's worth the investment.

Remember that installing cyberware will decrease your Essence stat, which will make you worse at casting spells. If you've decided to create a spellcasting hybrid character, you might want to limit or completely avoid cyberware.

Most of the cyberware available will provide great bonuses to a Street Samurai looking to excel. Of particular note are any increases to hit rate, especially if you're using Shotguns or SMGs.

While they're less vital, cyberware that boosts health or armor is always worth the investment if you have enough spare nuyen.

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