Think what you will of Fallout 76, the bottom line is that through the cavalcade of bugs and quirky design decisions, they certainly played to their strengths concerning the bestiary of irradiated horrors that haunt the Appalachian countryside.
The most interesting and widely praised decision in this department is far and away the decision to include cryptids, creatures based primarily on the real world myths, folklore and urban legends of West Virginia. They folded into the Fallout universe pretty nicely, rounding out and beefing up the already considerable enemy roster of Fallout 76.
While some of them might prove underwhelming to a veteran survivor of the post-nuclear wasteland, just as many of them are hard as nails and twice as sharp. And I mean, they have to be, considering they need to pose a challenge to entire groups of Vault Dwellers foaming at the mouth for their shiny piles of loot and valuable wealth of experience.
But have you ever wondered which ones are the toughest? We certainly did. So we decided to round up a list of twenty-five of the strongest critters, creatures and mutants that we’ve had to face down in Appalachia, and rank them from almost easy to near impossible. We’re pretty surprised at where some of them wound up! What do you think? Did your favorite beast not get paid the proper respect? Let us know down in the comments.
25 Mole Miners
Kicking off our list at the bottom are the mole miners. Reclusive, stocky, and less than enthused to take visitors, their powerful physiques can take a beating but they’re generally easy to outrun and outsmart.
Mole Miners, as you might guess, generally haunt the mining areas around Ash Heap.
However, their bullet sponge endurance tends to pay off in dividends towards higher levels, as they’ll start to lug around high end equipment like rocket launchers to dole out as much punishment as they can take. Which is a lot, for the record. Combine that with their tendency to hang out in numbers and you’ve got a recipe for one hairy situation.
24 Bloated Glowing One
While you'll definitely encounter a few of these unsightly ghouls throughout the course of your wasteland adventures, venturing into a nuclear blast zone will quickly show you just why they've made the list here.
This is particularly evident in Whitespring, where an incautious step might bring actual dozens of these irradiated baddies tirelessly chasing after you. Though they're a bit beefy and have a tendency to fill up your radiation meter faster than you should be comfortable with, they don't tend to be much of a sweat on their own. But the sheer weight of numbers involved here makes them more than a problem.
If you've ever wanted to take on a miniature tank powered by a human brain, well, Fallout's got you covered. They aren't exactly new to the series, but they're definitely a memorable encounter.
Just get a load of that freaky brain aquarium. Are you going to forget that anytime soon?
They definitely put their brainpower to good use, utilizing a smoke screen every few moments to mask their movements while continuously unleashing red hot bolts of laser fire in your direction.
22 Cave Crickets
They might seem like unlikely candidates at first glance, being little more than oversized crickets in appearance. But anyone that's had to deal with a group of these annoyingly well-armored baddies will know exactly why they've earned their position here.
They're quick, difficult to hit, and take entirely too much of a beating for what they are. Seriously, cave crickets boast an insane pool of hitpoints and damage resistance, easily making them one of the most frequently underestimated enemies in the entirety of the game. My advice? Cripple the legs! They're way less difficult when slowed down.
A true Fallout classic, these carapace-armored monstrosities pack a poisonous stinger and a permanently bad case of the Mondays. They're generally best dealt with at a distance due to said stinger, and they're really good at making you rethink the validity of your melee build.
In what is perhaps their most frustrating behavior, they have the ability to burrow underground to avoid your marginally effective hail of bullets and pop back up once the gap is closed, treating you to the nicest surprise poison party you never actually wanted. Face it, you had too many Stimpaks anyway.
The Snallygaster is probably the most commonly encountered cryptid featured in Fallout 76, though it's more based in Maryland folklore than West Virginia. Nonetheless, these creepy creatures are easily found in small packs around Toxic Valley and the Savage Divide.
Unfortunately, they're just as dangerous at range as they are up close. The only difference is whether they're mauling or spitting globs of acidic goop at the player. They aren't very smart though, so utilizing tight enclosures and doorways to your advantage can make experiencing an encounter way less costly.
Salamanders are cute, cool, and all around awesome amphibians. But all you have to do is introduce a little nuclear radiation into their diet and they become the precise opposite of all three of these things.
One thing these overgrown lizards have got going for them is speed, so running is usually a futile effort. If you just absolutely need to find a pack of them, one sure bet is to go exploring the Mire once you're sufficiently leveled for the area. Just mind their ferocious melee attacks and try to establish a kiting pattern to take them on.
Yeah, because angler fish weren't completely and utterly spooky to begin with. Just imagine them growing massive, muscular arms and legs so they can stalk man-sized prey on land. Thanks for the nightmare fuel, Bethesda.
On the bright side, they're wonderful sources of adhesive if you've got mods to make or guns to fix.
That pretty much sums it up for the positives, though. If you're having trouble with these guys, they're like most melee attackers in the sense that they're easy to cheese if you use the environment or terrain that is difficult to navigate against them.
17 Honey Beast
Making up one of the more unique, fresh monsters that Fallout 76 is bringing to the table on its own is this horrendously massive, mutated bee that doubles as a weird sort of aircraft carrier. Except, you know, for bees, on account of the massive bee hive it lugs around on its back.
They're tough, but a bit on the slow side. It's been suggested that they have a particular weakness to fire and cryogenic weapons, finally providing you with a good reason to dig that flamer out of your stash.
Speaking of nightmare fuel, these guys exist. The Wendigo is a cryptid that looks like something straight out of a horror movie, an unnervingly agile, pale and disfigured humanoid with long, spindly limbs that enjoys feasting on people.
If you want one more reason to not sleep tonight, check out the real world legends surrounding this one.
And when you inevitably encounter one, you're in for it. They're tough, difficult to hit, and close the gap quickly to strike with their lengthy, sharp claws. They can also release ear-piercing shrieks during combat that are known to attract nearby ghouls to the location.
15 Mirelurk King
Not the most dangerous mirelurk on this list by a long shot, but definitely formidable enough to earn a mention. Largely unchanged from iterations in previous Fallout games, the Mirelurk King resembles an amphibian where the rest of the mirelurks seem more related to crustaceans.
They're strong, fast, and can unleash a damaging sonic attack at range if you're trying to play hard to get with them. As with most of the faster adversaries, crippling limbs will go a long way towards leveling the playing field if you find yourself outmatched.
One of the most infamous of robotic foes, the Assaultron desperately needs to become a priority target whenever they become involved in any sort of encounter. If you're planning on raiding a missile silo to launch a nuke, come prepared to deal with a lot of these.
All Assaultrons possess an incredibly dangerous laser weapon embedded into their faces, that's the one you really want to avoid. If at all possible, take them down before they get the chance to use it. Note that they're just as capable of beating you senseless in melee, and the higher level models can utilize a stealth field that renders them invisible. Oh yes, they're all kinds of fun.
13 Yao Guai
For some reason these lumbering, yet all too surprisingly fast moving beasts have a bad habit of turning up when I least expect them. Am I the only one that has that issue? These mutated bears can really kick out the damage by unleashing flurries of staggering blows very quickly.
Needless to say, you don't want these dudes to get the drop on you.
If you do manage to bring one down though, don't forget to snag the meat off of it if you're fond of melee weapons. Cooking it up won't just fill your stomach, you'll snag a hefty bonus to your melee damage for a while.
12 Grafton Monster
This hulking, headless brute of a cryptid obviously skipped leg day. And head day, if that's a thing. Given the fact that its arms are several times bigger than actual tree trunks, it probably goes without saying that you don't want to get smacked around by this one.
They'll also sling toxic sludge at you from range, though this is fairly easy to avoid. Their big, burly physiques are also quite cumbersome, meaning you can outmaneuver them pretty easily or fight them from elevation. If you want a guaranteed look at one of these, just wait for the "Grafton Day" event to pop up around Grafton and head that way.
11 Sentry Bot
You probably still have memories from your Sentry Bot experiences in Fallout 4, so I won't bother you with too much of a lavish introduction here. Featuring a multitude of heavy weapons, a staggering charge attack, and an impressive pile of hitpoints protected by a thick layer of armor, these things are the whole package when it comes to having a bad time.
Luckily, the Sentry Bot has to stop and "vent" its built up heat after a while, giving you a window to deal as much damage as you can before it goes on the hunt again. Just be careful after you've brought it down, as they'll explode with all the force of a mini nuke once they've been terminated.
10 Mega Sloth
Definitely a bizarre selection, the Mega Sloth is another newcomer to the Fallout universe. The name goes a long way here, as you get exactly what you're promised - a gigantic, mega strong sloth.
If you're wanting to go sloth hunting, the swampy depths of the Mire are a good place to start.
These big guys don't tend to be hostile at first, but keep your distance if you'd like them to stay that way. Otherwise you'll be dealing with potent melee attacks, thrown boulders when they're at range, and an area-of-effect attack unleashed by the small colony of mushrooms infesting its back.
9 Flatwoods Monster
The West Virginian folklore behind this cryptid paints it as an alien, so he ended up fitting in really nice with the Fallout universe since we already had the Zetans. Assuming that they hang out and play poker together on the weekends is probably a pretty safe bet.
On occasion he'll appear as a random encounter and simply teleport away in a flash of light when interacted with. But when he means business, he'll teleport around while firing lasers and is capable of regenerating lost health between bouts.
8 Hermit Crab
If you're a normal person and you hear someone say "hermit crab," you might be tempted to reflect fondly on learning the responsibilities of pet ownership, or shopping around for neat new shells to home your little crustacean friends.
But if you're a Fallout player, you probably only think one thing in response. "Run."
These things are outrageously hard to bring down, probably owing largely to the cargo trailer or RV it has decided to inhabit as a "shell." Keep well out of range and hammer it with explosives or armor piercing weapons, as you really don't want to be caught within reach of its claws.
The legendary Mothman was probably one of the most hyped cryptid additions to Fallout's menagerie of irradiated creatures, being included in quite a bit of the promotional material for the game. He can be randomly encountered in a couple of different incarnations, but for this purpose we're focusing on the more hostile type.
His eyes will glow different colors depending on what mood he's in. If they're glowing red, he's ready to dance. He's primarily ranged, utilizing rapid sonic attacks and an area-of-effect blast that you're sure to see coming.
And here we are with the original ferocious beast of the Fallout series. They're faster than you want them to be, stronger than they need to be, and every bit as tough as they should be.
As you might expect and remember, the Deathclaw is a brutally strong melee attacker that is capable of unsettling and staggering you with every powerful swipe of its claws. Hunting them down is understandable though, since their meat provides a strength bonus and they tend to haul around rare crafting materials, for some reason. Check out the appropriately named "Deathclaw Island" in the river on the western side of the map if you fancy meeting one.
5 Fog Crawler
Another holdover from Fallout 4's Far Harbor DLC, the Fog Crawler is no joke. They're tougher than a Deathclaw on average, possess an arsenal of painful melee attacks and absorb a ludicrous amount of punishment. Oh, and to top it all off they just love to travel in groups.
Their damage resistance is pretty top notch all around, but you'll have a little better luck with energy weapons. Take advantage of their massive size and below average speed to keep your distance and avoid letting them get close enough to lay down the hurt.
4 Super Mutant Behemoth
If you've played the past couple of Fallout games, then you're probably well aware of what to expect here. They're big, ugly, they like fire hydrants and collecting rocks. They'll beat you with the fire hydrant up close, and throw the rocks at you from a distance. Well, they're more boulders than rocks, but you get the idea.
You honestly don't want to get hit by either attack, but you'll want to opt for the ranged option. It's much easier to project where the boulders will hit and dodge them. There's a guaranteed spawn for one of these big boys towards the southern side of Savage Divide, in the Twin Lakes area.
And playing the role of the big bad, we have these things. Gigantic, mutated bats that act suspiciously like dragons. Wait, we didn't happen to start this game with our hands bound in the back of a cart, did we? Just checking. You can never be sure when you're talking about the company that managed to release Skyrim five times.
Anyway, they fly. They utilize ranged attacks that can ignore cover in a volume best described as "withering," and are radioactive.
Not to mention their area-of-attack arsenal and the punishing array of melee attacks they employ when grounded. Speaking of grounded, they're much easier to hit that way. Focus on crippling their wings to keep them pinned, but remember they're far from helpless afterwards.
2 Mirelurk Queen
The Mirelurk Queen beats out the Scorchbeast because I've watched them fight one another, and that's how it tends to play out. It's not totally one sided, but believe me, the Queen is just insanely powerful in terms of the available enemies in Fallout 76.
This towering behemoth constantly spawns minions, is devastating in melee, spews ridiculously potent poison attacks at range, and shrugs off bullets like they're raindrops. I don't think you can ask for a worse date in this reality or the next one over.
1 Scorchbeast Queen
And sealing up the top two spots we have not one, but two queens. The Scorchbeast Queen is essentially Fallout 76's final boss fight, available only once a player nukes the primary fissure site in Cranberry Bog.
For the entire fight players are assaulted by a variety of Scorched enemies, and the fight will likely attract other Scorchbeasts. So that's nice. The Queen herself acts like any other Scorchbeast, but with tons more damage and a mountainous pile of hitpoints that will scale based on the number of players present at the event. This can be a major issue if you've got a lot of lower level players hoping to score some sweet loot. Oh, and you've only got twenty minutes to down her. Have fun.