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BEST Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build

This Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build guide will teach players how to make the best possible Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build.

If you’re playing Shadowrun Hong Kong as a Street Samurai, you’ll want to know how to optimize your build for the best, most OP shadowrunning action you can get. There are a ton of builds you can make in Shadowrun Hong Kong because of its flexible Karma system.

best shadowrun hong kong street samurai build

Race Selection

Honestly, because of the way we’re dipping into Cyberware Affinity, your race selection doesn’t matter that much. Every race can take Quickness up to 9 except Trolls (who can only go to 8) and Elves (who can go to 11), but we only need 7 Quickness so it’s just not a factor at all.

You might want to avoid Trolls if you’re planning to subspecialize as a Decker or Rigger because they have low intelligence. Human might technically be the best because they get an extra point of Karma but it’s just 1 point.

Stat Allocation

For this build we’re going to be going with Ranged, because melee Street Samurais are mostly terrible. It’s not that they’re terrible, but if you’re going a melee character, Cyberware Melee and Physical Adept Melee are both leagues better than Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Melee, so you should do one of those builds instead.

Here are the stats you’re going to want:
Body 6
Cyberware Affinity 6
Quickness 7 (11)
Ranged Combat 7 (8)
Rifles 3
Charisma 4
Conjuring 1
Spirit Control 3

That costs 118 Karma, which is a little under half the Karma in the game, so you should be able to achieve that by mid-game, leaving you with room to move into a subspecialty like Decking or Rigging.

Actually, Decking and Rigging are kind of your only options because you’re going to totally kill your Essence with Cyberware here in a minute, but you could also subspecialize in Conjuring by making a few tweaks. It’s absolutely not worth it and I don’t recommend it — all you’ll gain is Haste (+1 AP) at the cost of Wired Reflexes (+1 AP) and every other thing you gain from Cyberware.

Some things that might not be immediately obvious:

  • You only ever need 3 points in Rifles to unlock Full-Auto. Further points just give Crit Chance, but Full Auto isn’t capable of crits, so if you’re just using Full Auto, you’re throwing those points away
  • You want 4 Charisma for Etiquettes.
  • If you take the 1 point in Conjuring you can pump 4 points of Charisma up to 7 points of Charisma to be able to pass every Charisma check in the game by picking up the 2 charisma boosting fetishes and installing the 0 Essence Enhanced Pheromones cyberware.
  • You want 3 in Spirit Summoning to get a Totem. You’ll want the Cobra Totem for a ranged Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai (+1 Damage, +5% Accuracy)
  • You want 6 points of Cyberware Affinity so you can go beyond your racial maximum in stats, which has the added benefit of letting you raise dependent stats above the core stat’s level if you have the Cyberware for it.

Street Samurai/Rigger Stat Allocation

If you want to go the Rigger route for this Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build, your final stats should look like this:

Body 6
Cyberware Affinity 6
Quickness 7 (11)
Ranged Combat 7 (9)
Rifles 3
Intelligence 8 (9)
Drone Control 9
Drone Combat 9
Charisma 4
Conjuring 1
Spirit Control 3

That costs 243 Karma which is almost all the Karma in the base game + the bonus campaign, and you have to sacrifice maxing out Ranged Combat for this but it’s worth it.

You get Full Auto, your Drones get Full Auto, you get a total of 10 AP per round. It’s bonkers. If I was going to recommend one build in the game it’s this build. Do this build.

However, I also recommend the Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai/Decker build if you want a more utility-oriented character and less focus on combat. To be honest, the Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai/Decker is just fine in combat and makes the awful, tedious hacking minigame a lot more bearable. Up to you.

Street Samurai/Decker Stat Allocation

This build is very similar to the above build, but you have a little more wiggle room because the ESP line isn’t as integral to Decker as the Drone Combat line is to Rigger (in fact, it barely matters at all).

Body 8
Cyberware Affinity 6
Quickness 7 (11)
Strength 6
Ranged Combat 9 (10)
Rifles 3
Intelligence 8 (9)
Decking 8 (9)
Charisma 4
Conjuring 1
Spirit Control 3

That takes 242 Karma. Honestly, you don’t need to take Decking above 7, which unlocks the Farlight Excalibur, and ESP Control is mostly garbage since ideally, you’re not getting into a lot of serious fights in the matrix that would require the use of ESPs.

You should be able to achieve the main parts of this build before you even hit the bonus campaign if you deprioritize ESP Control and Decking past 7. Do this build if you don’t want to have to take Is0bel with you on missions.

Note the 6 strength there. That’s so you can use Miniguns which can’t flush enemies out of cover, but do ridiculous damage overall. This build isn’t too far behind the Rigger build damage-wise on account of the Miniguns.


There’s a little bit of personal preference you can apply to the Cyberware for your Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai, but I’ll get into that afterwards. Since you have 8 Essence, you’re going to be spending a ton of money on Cyberware. Here’s what you want:

Auto-Loader (1 Essence, +1 Quickness, Free Reloads)
– This lets you Full Auto every turn without ever having to reload
Saeder-Krupp Skillwires (0.25 Essence, +1 Quickness, +1 Ranged Combat)
– Self-explanatory. Gives you bonuses in your core stats.
Note: If you’re going the Rigger build, you may want 2x Skillwires instead of the Auto-Loader; you won’t be reloading as much since you’re giving your turns to drones and your Ranged Combat isn’t maxed, so you may prefer the extra accuracy

Wired Reflexes (1.5 Essence, +1 Movement, +1 AP for 2 turns)
– This gives you your own personal Haste 1 that costs 0 AP to cast. It’s extremely good.

Vision Magnification Eyes (Alpha) (0.5 Essence, +6% Accuracy)
– Full Auto penalizes your Accuracy, so this is a must.

Universal Omnitech Cyberleg (Alpha) (1 Essence, +8 HP, +2 Quickness, +2 Dodge)
– Increases stats you need. Get 2 of these.

Datajack (0.5 Essence, Datajack)
– There are a ton of smartlink guns that require a Datajack, and whether you’re going Decking or Rigging, you’re going to need one.

Encephalon NEXT (1.5 Essence, Intelligence +1, Decking +1)
– If you’re going Decking, get this. Otherwise, get the Cerebral Booster below
Cerebral Booster (Bioware) (0.5 Essence, Intelligence +1)
– If you’re going the Rigging build, get this instead

Tailored Pheromones (0 Essence, +1 Charisma)
– This helps you hit the 7 Charisma milestone for passing all Charisma checkpoints. I’d recommend this because extra health/armor is not super necessary on a ranged character. But if you want it…
Ares Dermal Plating (Alpha) (1 Essence, +1 Body, +2 Armor)
– With this you’ll hit the Armor cap and get a little extra health on top of it. Not bad.

The total essence cost is 5.75, or 6.75 if you get the Ares Dermal Plating. You should be able to cover this with your Cyberware Affinity. Getting this cyberware will vastly improve the effectiveness of your Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build.


There are a number of options here. For the main game, you’ll want the Ares Alpha (Smartlink) until you find the Steyr AUG-CSL in Prosperity Tower, which has 1 less damage, but has Armor Piercing and gives an accuracy bonus.

If you’re going the Decking build I suggested and have access to miniguns, you’ll want to have the Vindicator minigun as well. The idea being if they’re in cover, you flush them with the Steyr; otherwise, melt them with the Vindicator. You can also use the Prototype Sniping laser for a long-range option until you get the Vindicator.

If you’re going the Rigger variation of this Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build, you’ll want 2x Guardian Mk 2 Autos. That only leaves you with one weapon slot, so you’ll want to use the Ares Alpha (Smartlink) until you can upgrade to the Steyr.

In the post-game missions, you can upgrade the Steyr to the Ares HVAR, which adds 2 additional shots to Full Auto at the expense of 2 lower damage. You can also upgrade the Vindicator to the Panther Assault Cannon, which is stupidly powerful (35 damage/shot).

For the Decker build, you’ll also want to get a Farlight Excalibur, ASAP. To sum it up:

Rigger: Assault Rifle, 2x Drones
Decker: Assault Rifle, Minigun, Deck

Either of these Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai builds will plow through the game with ease. Choose whichever one you like.

Conclusion – Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build

Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai builds are a lot of fun, mainly because assault rifles are exceptional in this game. I’ve played through this game and the previous game, Dragonfall, several times as a Street Samurai and it’s always been a blast.

Because the core Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build doesn’t take much karma to effectively complete, you’re able to branch out into another area of expertise, which makes the Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai build incredibly flexible and versatile.

That about covers it for the best Shadowrun Hong Kong Street Samurai Build. Be sure to check out the Games Section for more articles like this and click here for more game guides for Shadowrun Hong Kong.


  • Ryan Night

    Ryan Night is an ex-game industry producer with over a decade of experience writing guides for RPGs. Previously an early contributor at, Ryan has been serving the RPG community with video game guides since 2001. As the owner of Bright Rock Media, Ryan has written over 600 guides for RPGs of all kinds, from Final Fantasy Tactics to Tales of Arise.

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