Deep Rock Galactic – Engineer Build Guide & Class Tips

Last Updated on January 1, 2024 by Samuel Franklin

With a strong engineer build for Deep Rock Galactic (DRG) players can push their limits to challenge the highest hazard levels. Leveraging powerful turrets the engineer is an expert of area control, platforms and damage support although finding the right mix for different mission types can be challenging.

This best engineer build guide and class tips provides multiple build options to customise this DRG class to your preferences with full recommendations for primary weapons, secondary weapons and other equipment selections across different mission types. Intended for the beginner or intermediate dwarf this page helps players develop their game knowledge and then tweak these summary and detailed foundations to mission or personal preferences. With the engineer being my favourite Deep Rock Galactic class this guide has been forged over hundreds of gameplay hours and more than 500 resource hunting cave dives across all hazard levels.

Table of Contents:
Engineer Overview
Engineer Tips
Best Engineer Builds Overview
Primary Weapon Builds
Secondary Weapon Builds
Engineer Equipment
Engineer Throwables

Engineer Overview

The engineer is a reliable teammate who thrives in the co-operative play with his sentry guns ability to defend locations. While defensive in design the engineer is still capable of moving between locations and supports allies by constructing platforms in the terrain that provide both permanent vertical and horizonal movement options. The engineer is a favourite partner of the scout in particular because they can provide high up platforms to help a scout with their grappling hook movement.

With the appropriate engineer build players can still play solo with options for hard hitting weapons and area of effect damage that allow them to solo content with careful turret placement to maximise damage output.

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Engineer Specific Tips

Making smart choices of when to engage and when to hold back while thinking minutes ahead is central to the engineer playstyle with these engineer tips ensuring you optimise your potential:

  • Placing platforms underneath minerals is important for scout grappling hooks and gunner zip lines as it makes retrieving these resources safer. Given the slow placement speed of platforms though they should never be the sole method to acquire these resources though.
  • An advanced movement tactic known as platform jumping allows players to improve their traversing speed by jumping off a platform and placing another platform in front of you. This technique is dangerous though and should be practiced heavily before being used regularly.
  • The engineer should always have a turret active when not moving quickly to a new location as it can defend a path, watch your back while digging or simply maximise your damage output in a fight. With a short build time it can also be used aggressively with some experience of typical combat situations of missions.
  • The engineer has great flexibility compared to the narrow strengths of other classes, if you are playing with friends be sure to co-ordinate your kits and know the mission beforehand so that you have the right engineer build and weapon for your team and mission challenge.
  • Avoid fighting enemies at long range when playing as the engineer as this is one of your greatest weaknesses. Instead players should call in a friend or retreat to a safe location where you can setup an ambush with your turret to conserve ammo reserves and health.
  • Platforms can be used to fill holes in the roof or floor to stop swarm attacks or remove the risk of falling into to the cavern below. Platforms are also a viable way to stop fall damage for yourself and allies in a pinch by placing it underneath them when falling.
  • When reviving allies don’t forget to setup your safety net which depending on your engineer build will include a turret, L.U.R.E, anti-bug platforms or proximity mine to ensure a successful revive.

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-equipment

Best Engineer Builds Overview

This overview section provides a quick reference for beginners to engineer weapon builds and I recommend players use the following combinations for primary and secondary weapons:

  • Warthog & Deepcore: Best beginner loadout to start with and ideal for Mining Expedition, Salvage Operation and Escort Duty.
  • Lok-1 & Breach Cutter: Longer caves and higher enemy counts for Mining Expedition, Egg Hunt, On-Site Refining and Point Extraction.
  • Stubby & Shard: High single target focused damage output for Elimination or Industrial Sabotage.

These are my recommended default weapon configurations when using each weapon, the numbers referenced are based on the left to right position of the modification in game:

Primary Weapon Options:

  • Primary (Warthog): 1/2/3/2/2 – Easy and effective close ranged weapon
  • Primary (Stubby): 1/1/1/1/1 – Fast firing electrocute (slowing) weapon for damage and control
  • Primary (Lok-1): 2/2/2/1/2 – Area of effect damage by focusing on aim lock mechanic

Secondary Weapon Options:

  • Secondary (Deepcore): 3/1/2/2/2 – Balanced explosive area of effect and extra ammo
  • Secondary (Breach Cutter): 1/3/1/2/3 – Improved projectile beam adds forgiveness to usage
  • Secondary (Shard Diffractor): 2/1/1/2/3 – Focus on hard armour piercing single target damage

Other Equipment:

  • Equipment (Platform Gun): 1/1/1 – Optimise ammo and fall damage reduction
  • Equipment (LMG Gun Platform): 2/2/2/1 – Fast to deploy single turret with improved targeting
  • Armour (Owl Rig): 1/2/1/1
  • Throwable: Proximity Mine or Shredder Swarm

Best Engineer Builds Detailed

The engineer has multiple build options depending on your preferences and mission type that allow players to optimise their defensive abilities, prioritise a run and gun playstyle or simply maximise raw damage for boss content. These decisions across primary, secondary and other equipment are detailed below to allow you to achieve the highest damage or acquire critical utility for particular mission types of playstyle preferences.

Primary Weapon Builds

Your primary weapon options as an engineer have reasonable damage output although particularly shine once particular modifications are unlocked. The weapons have vastly different designs and in turn playstyles with the shotgun focused on enemy weak point stuns, the SMG specialises in electric shock chance and your smart rifle provides enhanced automatic targeting.

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-warthog-build

“Warthog” Auto 210: Your base engineer weapon that is easy to use and effective at close range although more reliant on modifications than your other weapons initially. Players that push through these early pains though will be rewarded with a straight forward and trustworthy firearm for most occasions that make it an ideal default engineer weapon. There are many ways to spec this weapon although focusing your Warthog build on direct DPS through damage, rate of fire and reduced reload time plays to the weapons strength. While you can design this weapon with reduced spread for longer range fights this is really not the intended usage of the Warthog Auto 210 given its shotgun archetype.

  • Tier 1 – Supercharged Feed Mechanism
  • Tier 2 – Loaded Shells
  • Tier 3 – High Capacity Magazine or Quickfire Ejector
  • Tier 4 – Bigger Pellets
  • Tier 5 – Miner Adjustments
  • Overclock – Mini Shells or Magnetic Pellet Alignment or Light-Weight Magazines

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-stubby-build

“Stubby” Voltaic SMG: A fast firing primary that adds electrocute status for damage over time and slows enemies for some light crowd control. This SMG allows the engineer to play a run and gun style with the correct Stubby build although this weapon suffers from low magazine capacity, damage per shot and general handling that like your shotgun make it restricted to close ranged combat. This weapon has the benefit of a simple hold down the trigger and spray playstyle option though and I recommend you either invest heavily in damage and magazine size or play into the electrocution theme of this weapon entirely and don’t mix and match these two options.

  • Tier 1 – Increased Calibre Rounds or Upgraded Capacitors
  • Tier 2 – High Capacity Magazine
  • Tier 3 – High Velocity Rounds
  • Tier 4 – Hollow-Point Bullets or Conductive Bullets
  • Tier 5 – Magazine Capacity Tweak or Electric Arc
  • Overclock – Well Oiled Machine or Super-Slim Rounds or Light-Weight Rounds

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-lok-1-smart-rifle-build
Lok-1 Smart Rifle: As an engineer players have developed a rifle with an AI core that assists with aiming at swarm enemies. Despite rifle by name this is another submachine gun with limited range although has the benefit of some area of effect damage and a unique lock on mechanic. While you can aim and fire this weapon by yourself the strength of the Lok-1 is a smart rifle build that utilises this lock mechanic to attack small groups of enemies and capitalise on the associated damage boosts for achieving this full lock status by keeping the max locks low. Supporting this buff to the targeting system with some expanded ammo is often your best path forward for a Lok-1 build and leaves little build diversity options.

  • Tier 1 – Expanded Ammo Bags
  • Tier 2 – CCD Array Add-On
  • Tier 3 – Smrt Targeting Software
  • Tier 4 – Shutter Speed Sensor
  • Tier 5 – Unstable Lock Mechanism
  • Overclock – Executioner or Seeker Rounds

Secondary Weapon Builds

Both of the engineer secondary weapons specialise in dealing with groups of enemies efficiently although they do it in dramatically different fashions. These options pair perfectly with our mostly single target focused primary weapons with swarms unlikely to survive long with this long ranged area of effect options that are some of the best in Deep Rock Galactic.

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-deepcore-PGL-build

Deepcore 40mm PGL: Perfect for obliterating the swarm at range the PGL grenade launcher is deadly although offset by the limited maximum ammo capacity and single shot design that take some practice to use effectively. Be careful when using this at close range or narrow corridors though especially with other dwarves around as it can quickly result in friendly fire accidents. Generally I find a balanced approach to a 40mm PGL build is best as it ensures that it remains relevant in a wider range of situations then specifically focusing down one path. Accordingly, you’ll balance modifications to get a combination of extra ammo, damage and explosion radius in the below 40mm build that reaches key minimum damage thresholds for effective killing power.

  • Tier 1 – HE Compound
  • Tier 2 – Expanded Ammo Bags
  • Tier 3 – Pressure Wave
  • Tier 4 – Nails + Tape or Concussive Blast
  • Tier 5 – Spiky Grenade
  • Overclock – Clean Sweep or Pack Rat

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-breach-cutter-build

Breach Cutter: An interesting Deep Rock Galactic weapon that is still capable of dealing damage to groups in the right situations although is generally selected for its damage against powerful single targets like dreadnoughts. This is primarily because of the requirement to have clear and flat pathways to shoot at your enemies with high cave complexity quickly hurting your potential damage output. The Breach Cutter also requires additional care when using at range to be effective that often isn’t worth the effort compared to the easier to use PGL. In creating your ideal Breach Cutter build you’ll generally want to maximise it’s utility with projectile beam improvements where possible to make the weapon more forgiving to use or if you want higher burst damage options for tough monsters that is an equally viable option.

  • Tier 1 – Prolonged Power Generation
  • Tier 2 – Loosened Node Cohesion or Condensed Plasma
  • Tier 3 – Quick Deploy or Improved Case Ejector
  • Tier 4 – Disruptive Frequency Training or Armour Breaking
  • Tier 5 – Triple Split Line
  • Overclock – Stronger Plasma Current or Return to Sender or Inferno

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-shard-build

Shard Diffractor: Moving away from the area of effect themes of other secondary weapons the Shard Diffractor is your choice if you want to refocus into single target damage although. This combines with the endless range and some added utility through your upgrade choices to allow the Shard Diffractor to fill various niche roles in your arsenal. This weapon can be awkward to use at first though due to the way the battery based magazine operates and the initial spin up time before activating. Modification options for the Shard Diffractor should focus on enhancing the single target strengths of this weapon and boosting the utility it does provide rather than buffing the area of effect as you’ll be better served by a different secondary if that is your goal.

  • Tier 1 – Increased Energy Density or Larger Battery
  • Tier 2 – Soft Tissue Disruption
  • Tier 3 – Aluminium Foil DIY
  • Tier 4 – Nitrogen Vaporizer or High-Intensity Heating
  • Tier 5 – Dazzler Module or Bio-Mass Converter
  • Overclock – Efficiency Tweaks

Engineer Equipment

With the engineer equipment in Deep Rock Galactic you can create rock platforms for friends and summon a turret partner to help you defend locations. With gear modifications these can also offer additional utility beyond their base configuration which gives high level engineers a significant reward for their time investment.

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-platform-gun-build

Platform Gun: other than the driller this is the only permanent terrain forming support tool available and makes it particularly attractive on maps where you might have to traverse back and forth between the same area. In its basic form the platform gun is well loved by scout classes but advanced tactics can make this a welcome sight for all your friends and even give the engineer some solid parkour abilities in his own right. For some missions with large enemy numbers Repellent Additive is worth taking as you can create defensive funnels for enemies that are highly effective, outside of these mission types though it’s usability is scarce so taking expanded ammo in tier 3 is a better default.

  • Tier 1 – Supercharged Feed Mechanism or Expanded Ammo Bags
  • Tier 2 – Plastcrete MKII
  • Tier 3 – Expanded Ammo Bags or Repellent Additive

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-turret-build

LMG Gun Platform: The defining weapon of the engineer class that will fire at enemies within range automatically until empty before needing the engineer to refill it. Building for a strong hard hitting single turret that is quick to deploy will serve you well in the majority of game situations and this is the focus of the engineer turret build below.

  • Tier 1 – LMG MKII
  • Tier 2 – Quick Deploy
  • Tier 3 – Stun or Hardened Rounds
  • Tier 4 – Defender System

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-armour-build

“Owl” Armour Rig: The engineer armour specialises in poison resistance which is then paired with similar upgrades to other dwarves for a survivability boost. Engineer is one of the few classes I recommended breathing room in tier 4 as it can be surprisingly effective at higher hazard levels at preventing a death snowball as it gives you enough time to get a defensive turret down straight away. Outside of challenges where you expect a few deaths though you should opt for the more general purpose shockwave to help take out small critters around you and keep your turret focused on bigger threats.

  • Tier 1 – Improved Generator
  • Tier 2 – Healthy
  • Tier 3 – Hazmat System
  • Tier 4 – Shockwave or Breathing Room

deep-rock-galactic-engineer-icon

Engineer Throwables

The engineer comes with a mix of utility and damage throwables options. Generally you’ll be opting for a damage option of choice which gives you extra area of effect (aoe) damage for weak to medium toughness enemy swarms you encounter.

L.U.R.E: The starting option for the budding engineer is your utility option that pulls enemies towards it with a dancing dwarf distraction. While sometimes useful to take the heat off you and your allies it’s simply not as effective as dealing direct damage and is also hindered by the fact that it has a cap on the amount of damage it can take before it disappears. The L.U.R.E can be a decent choice to protect an ally revive though when it is your only option initially.

Plasma Burster: Your first damage variant in the throwable category for the engineer this is designed with having an expanded inventory of throwable items in mind with a total of 6 compared with your other options that cap at 4. The trade off is the lower damage that limits the effectiveness to weaker bug enemies. The damage is split between bursts which can make it somewhat difficult to use effectively although has a potent fear alongside this damage that means every bug is impacted one way or another.

Proximity Mine: The default choice that I recommend for most players that requires some forethought and planning to use effectively due to the arming time of 3 seconds. Once armed though it will trigger when an enemy is in range and can actually explode up to four times along with a fear factor on top. Mines that have not had any detonation can also be picked up to be returned to your inventory.

Shredder Swarm: Added in the season 3 update (November 2022) this grenade builds further on the design of the class by summoning a literal robotic swarm to attack enemies which like your other grenade options gives you the ability to control an area of the map. While not as strong as the Proximity Mine the number of them and the fact players don’t have to think as far ahead make them one of your better choices for throwables.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Since the Early Access days of Deep Rock Galactic Sam has been blasting his way through mining expeditions, relishing the co-operative chaos and forging dwarven camaraderie. Playing solo or with a crew Sam regularly wields the Engineer’s wrench, crafting intricate platform bridges and unleashing turret hellfire on the swarm. With hundreds of game hours and more than 500 dives into randomised caverns under his belt Sam is an experienced dwarf who continues to “Rock and Stone” in between his other video game adventures.

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