edit: This guide is now unreliable as of the latest state of play. Mellka no longer deals tangible venom damage and there is some attempt (unsuccessful) to encourage her to melee. Proceed with caution.
The nimblest and deadliest of the Eldrid (suck it, Teshka), Mellka wields two terrifying weapons: her Custom Machine Pistol, modified to lob canisters of flesh-melting venom, and an Eldrid bio-weapon known as The Fist.
Though Mellka considers these two killing devices to be perfectly adequate (and freaking awesome), Trevor Ghalt expects all his operatives to take full advantage of the considerable arsenal gathered by the Battleborn in their war against Rendain. Not wanting to be sidelined from the action, Mellka grudgingly agrees to take up to three extra pieces of kit into battle.
To help you (and her) be appropriately outfitted for ass-kicking, I’ve prepared the following comprehensive guide. Expect to find stats, analysis, helpful gear suggestions, and subliminal messaging from our advertisers. Are you thirsty right now? With an unquenchable taste for a stimulating beverage endorsed by three former CWF champions? Yes, you are.
Note: this is the first version of this guide. I haven’t provided damage numbers for Mellka’s alternate melee, and several details aren’t factored in (like ranged fall-off.) I’ll keep it updated.
Also, I’m not a math person, so I’ve included all my working. If you’re a math person, first, how do you do that seriously, and second, let me know where I’ve gone wrong. I also probably should have rounded more numbers - but hey, what’s a few extra decimal places?
Tap the arrows to expand the categories (if this was not already obvious!)
Attack Damage and Attack Speed
These two choices, in particular Attack Speed, can seem cryptic. Many a player in her early career will have puzzled over whether to pick one, the other, or both.
I’ve suggested previously on these boards that Attack Damage is always better. After close testing, I’m wrong - though it’s not simple. Attack Speed scales better than Attack Damage (contrary to what you might expect), so that while it starts off giving less DPS increase, it ultimately gives more.
Let’s consider, first, a Mellka without any augmentations. Every measurement here has been recorded from gameplay. I’m also not factoring in damage fall-off, but measuring optimum damage - that is, damage from close-mid range. (This is ideally the range you will be fighting from anyway.)
At base, Mellka unloads her full (20 round) clip in 2.336 seconds. This is one shot every 0.116 seconds.
At base, each of these shots deals 24 damage.
To make these numbers easier to work with, it helps to convert them into a unified measure of damage output: Damage Per Second (DPS.)
In a single second, Mellka fires 8.6 shots. Multiplying this by the damage of each shot, we reach a figure of 206.4. This is the ranged DPS of a level 1 Mellka. Over a sustained period, this number will be lower, due to the reload animation - but to compare Attack Speed and Attack Damage, this is all we need.
Now let’s compare how Attack Damage and Attack Speed affect Mellka’s base DPS.
An extra +9.10% attack damage (a maximum roll gauntlet) increases each shot from 24 to 27. That’s an actual increase of 12.5% damage per shot. This increases Mellka’s DPS to 232.
An extra 8.40% attack speed allows Mellka to unload her full clip in 2.081s. This is an actual 12.2% speed increase, and means she fires a shot every 0.104 seconds. This is 9.6 shots a second. Her DPS increases to 230.
These differences at level 1 are very slight (and may well vanish with different rounding), but Attack Damage has the edge.
Now, let’s flash forward to level 10.
Now, Mellka does 32 damage per shot (275.2 DPS). Her attack speed is the same.
With a +9.10% damage modifier, she does 35 damage per shot. That’s +9.3% damage, and 301 DPS.
With a +8.40% speed modifier instead, she does 307.2 DPS.
Why does Attack Damage go from providing a 12.5% benefit to a 9.3% benefit by level 10? Ask Kleese, not me: I have no idea.
In any case, here’s the bottom line.
At level 1:
9.10% attack damage will give you a 25.6 DPS ranged damage increase.
8.40% attack speed will give you a 23.6 DPS increase.
Both combined will give her 259.2 DPS - a 52.8 DPS increase.
At level 10:
9.10% attack damage will give you a 25.8 DPS ranged damage increase.
8.40% attack speed will give you a 32 DPS increase.
Both combined is 336 DPS - a 60.8 DPS increase.
Generally, Skill Damage is straightforward. It’s the only stat that can increase the DPS of your skills (excepting Cooldown Reduction, which is negligible); therefore, if your intention is to increase the damage of Spike, Claw Lunge, and Blade Launcher, this is the stat you need. There’s no riddle to this one: it directly increases the skill damage by percentage indicated.
For Mellka, Skill Damage also increases the damage of the Venom Canister and Venom itself. It also increases the damage of Parting Gift (the Spike DOT obtained at level 2.)
Is Skill Damage worth taking for venom damage? (spoilers) nope nope nope. Here’s the numbers.
The venom DOT ticks eight times over four seconds.
At level 1, it deals 18 damage per tick, for a total of 144 damage / 36 DPS.
At level 5, it deals 21 damage per tick, for a total of 168 damage / 42 DPS.
At level 10, it deals 24 damage per tick, for a total of 192 damage / 48 DPS.
As we can see, venom scales in a very flat, predictable way.
At level 1, a +9.10% skill damage increase will increase venom to 20 per tick / 160 total 40 DPS.
At level 10, adding +9.10% skill damage will increase venom’s figures to 26 per tick / 208 total / 52 DPS.
Again, flat and predictable: +9.10% skill damage equates to an extra 4 DPS.
Even factoring in the similarly slight increase to Parting Gift and Venom Canister, there is no tangible sustained DPS increase from Skill Damage for Mellka. You’ll only feel the benefit on your skills. While there’s a little more to it than that (you can venom multiple sources, which increases your overall damage dealt), generally Skill Damage does not do anything significant for your damage output on a single target.
One Skill Damage legendary, however, is worth considering:
Because Bola’s activates on venom, this allows you to increase your skill damage, attack speed, and your attack damage - and the attack damage of your team. This is especially useful once you pick up Refined Canisters at level 8.
I’ve measured Mellka’s base reload speed at 0.816 seconds. With a +21% reload speed item, this is reduced to 0.649 seconds (a 21% increase - fancy that!)
As an offensive boost, how does stack up with Attack Damage and Speed? To explore this, I’ll use her level 1 figures and ignore the clip-increase that comes at level 8 with Refined Canisters.
At level 1, Mellka deals 206.4 ranged DPS. Her clip of 20 rounds is unloaded in 2.336 seconds. Therefore, Mellka can deal 482.1 damage before she needs to stop and reload.
Let’s calculate Mellka’s sustained DPS over two clips, factoring in the reload.
First she empties one clip, dealing 482.1 damage. Then she pauses to reload (0.816 seconds). Then she fires the second clip, dealing another 482.1 damage. This gives us 964.2 damage dealt over (2.336 * 2) + 0.816 seconds - 5.488 seconds. Her total DPS, taking reload into consideration, is therefore 175.69. (We might call this her “true” sustained DPS.)
Now let’s do the same calculation, but with the improved reload speed. (2.336 * 2) + 0.649 = 5.321 seconds. This gives her a true sustained DPS of 181.16.
In other words, taking the reload item allowed for a 5.5 DPS increase. Pretty marginal.
Note that if you were to try this experiment on a dummy, by unloading a full clip on a stationary target, reloading, and repeating, this DPS increase would scale upward over time. This is because Mellka fires a damaging venom canister after every reload, and quicker reloads means that, over a sustained period of fire, you will fire more canisters. The venom canister effect is not factored into the calculations above.
Realistically, however, you will never unload so many full clips into an enemy that this will be a significant factor. Reload speed is therefore a DPS increase that seems substantial when tested for a long duration on a combat dummy, but is usually only a minor DPS increase in actual play.
How might we quantify Recoil, the mysterious force that denies us a perfect sequence of bloodthirsty crits? The answer: hell if I know. What science can inform us is that, whatever recoil is, Mellka has it - has a lot of it, in fact. Her crosshairs open rapidly and move up quickly. Without any recoil modifiers, a Mellka bullet pattern looks something like this:
An item that reduces recoil by 17.50% (the maximum roll) produces the following effect:
Overlapping the two for visual comparison:
With the recoil reduction, Mellka certainly feels more accurate - not because of the closer spread, but because of the slower rate of upward drift. Generally speaking, more shots from the clip will crit before the crosshairs move away. However, the Custom Machine Pistol has inherently poor accuracy and will still spray bullets anywhere but your target from any practical range.
Is it worth it? Possibly, primarily because the epic Eldrid Recoil item has permanent +Health Regen, and the recoil reduction itself is - while almost certainly not a serious DPS boost - not a bad thing.
Mellka’s starting maximum health, 982, places her among the squishiest of the Battleborn. Only Orendi, Marquis, Ambra, and Pendles have less health, and all these characters enjoy 300-point shields: if we consider shield as an effective health pool, then Mellka has easily the lowest effective health of all Battleborn.
This means that maximum health gear is especially efficient on Mellka, because it is a huge proportional increase. A maximum roll vest grants 280 health - a 28.5% health increase. An attack speed item, in contrast, grants an 11.4% increase to DPS. This means that, if we simply consider a ratio of shard cost to stat gain, Maximum Health is absolutely one of the most efficient kinds of gear Mellka can use.
On top of this, rare-quality Vests grant two pools of permanent health: +280 and then +210 after surviving for 3 minutes. This boost of +490 health is a colossal 49.8% increase over her starting health pool, all from a single item. The following item is, hands-down, the most shard-efficient (non-free) gear choice for Mellka in the game:
That does not mean, however, that the above item is mandatory - or even ideal. Maximum Health increases Melka’s sustained DPS insofar as it allows her to remain longer in lane, and it also protects her from excessive burst damage (and death is unacceptable.) There is, however, a point at which you can have too much health. Health stacking on Mellka is a very effective way to make her unkillable - but if you are able to perform well and never die with 1800 health, having 2100 health is superfluous.
More to the point, vests are not mandatory because maximum health (up to 210) can be found as a permanent secondary effect on epic Eldrid gauntlets, swords, and skill damage items. When these come with negative shield modifiers, they are very affordable, and in my opinion a more balanced choice than Eldrid vests. Furthermore, Eldrid Rhythm (level 5 helix) is arguably a sufficient health buffer for Mellka to perform optimally.
This all said, because health is such an effective stat for Mellka, you should seriously consider including +max health on at least one piece of gear. The earlier you can unlock this piece of gear, the better value it is.
Until recently, the low values on health regen items made them inferior choices. Now that regen values have been doubled across the board, however, Health Regeneration finally offers serious competition with Maximum Health.
Being a pissed-off Eldrid, Mellka enjoys a native 7 health regeneration per second (HPS). The maximum roll on a syringe (the health regeneration base item) is 14, with a secondary survival boost (on blue syringes) of 7. Health regeneration is also a secondary statistic, maximum 7 HPS, on armor pieces (damage reduction - not worthwhile for Mellka), reload clips, and recoil pieces. Epic gear is far superior in this regard, as the effect is permanent; uncommon gear of this type only grants the regeneration when under 50%, which dramatically limits the effect, given Mellka’s low health pool.
Very crudely, we might compare the defensive gains of syringes to the offensive gains of gauntlets/swords by pitting HPS against DPS. As outlined above, a grey +9.10% attack damage gauntlet adds 25.6-25.8 DPS. Given that a grey syringe adds only 14 HPS, we might say that (technically) the offensive item offers more value than the defensive one. Even a fully-activated blue syringe, with 21 HPS, does not match the DPS increase of the grey gauntlet.
This isn’t the most helpful way to think of these items, however. The longer you stay in lane, the more damage you will do, both to the wave and to your enemies. With a base 7 regen, Mellka can enjoy 21 HPS regen with just a gray syringe, and 28 HPS with an activated blue one. This is already enough to allow her to recuperate health in the back of lane while contributing with venom canisters until she’s ready to hit the frontline again.
On top of that, health regeneration keeps you alive. If you stack attack damage, attack speed, and skill damage, but entirely neglect regeneration, you will find that your native health regen is not sufficient to heal - you cannot realistically juke around lane until your health is topped up again. While Melllka can survive for a long time at low health, the heightened risk will impair your ability to perform aggressively. As a general rule of thumb, the closer you are to full health, the more seriously you can entertain audacious and daring engagements.
Like Maximum Health, you should think carefully before excessively stacking Health Regeneration. Health Regeneration is, however, the more versatile stat: your enemies need to overcome your HPS with their DPS before they can begin to damage your health pool, so health regen effectively acts as a “soft” form of maximum health by increasing enemy Time-To-Kill (TTK). On top of this, Health Regeneration also heals you when you’re not under fire, so it both mitigates incoming damage and liberates you from needing to seek out supports and supplies, or to teleport home to heal.
Note that a secondary Health Regeneration bonus is only 50% of a primary Health Regeneration bonus (7 to 14); Syringes are more valuable as a source of regeneration than Vests are as a source of health. other words: when you want health, you can easily skip the vest and take an epic Eldrid gauntlet or sword, but when you want regeneration, you really should consider a syringe.
Shard Generators and Wrenches
Mellka’s zero cost Shard Generator is as below:
Zero cost shard generators are powerful items that (obviously) expedite activating legendaries and constructing buildables. On maps with Shock Turrets, a shard generator can offer a sizeable level advantage (1-2 levels beyond the curve), which can more than compensate for the loss of stats. Mellka’s ability to take discounted items (-shield negatives) and her ability to reach shards easily does, however, mean she has less pressure to take a zero-cost gen than most BB do.
Mellka’s best zero-cost wrench is as below:
This does not affect regeneration, and with her low health pool, Mellka is easily healed to 100% by all healing support characters. A wrench is less useful than a shard gen, and is usually taken in accompaniment with one. I don’t personally feel it compensates for the loss of two slots that could be taken by offensive or defensive gear, but those who really enjoy placing buildables may feel differently.
There are, of course, a ton of other gear types and stats in the game. I don’t rate any of them for Mellka, but others may differ, so I’ll justify my disinterest here.
Shield items (of all types): the ability to take cheap -shield Eldrid items outweighs, in my mind, the possible benefits of a shield. I have never found it hard to keep Mellka alive by simply relying upon maximum health and/or regeneration items (or indeed with no gear at all.) Mellka is very difficult to crit, and as she should stay in the fray, she’s not likely to have many lulls in which a shield can fully recharge.
Movement speed: the most effective way Mellka can move on the ground is with her slide kick (quick melee while running.) The most effective way she can move around the map, period, is with Claw Lunge and Air Stall. Mellka’s jumpy, vertical playstyle discourages her from spending too much time merely walking or sprinting; meanwhile, her Venom is her best tool for dropping runners.
Critical hit damage: Attack Damage and Attack Speed increase all your damage, not just the critical hits. If the vast majority of your hits are critical hits, you might consider this - but they won’t be, so don’t.
Cooldown reduction and CC reduction : too small an effect to be worthwhile.
Damage reduction: This is less effective than regen and maximum health on characters with low health pools, and Mellka has the lowest. Don’t take it, even for the secondary regen bonus (a Reload clip or even a Recoil item is superior)
Shield penetration: Super situational and not available in effective amounts from gear alone. Mellka has no helixes that can bring it up to a meaningful number.
Anything else: probably self-explanatory.
Constructing a Loadout
I’m not a big fan of dictating what gear is optimal. Some people like regen, some like big health pools, some like to be glass cannons, some prefer shard gens; there’s something for everyone. Mellka plays fine without gear (and running without gear now and then is a nice way to keep your skills honed.) The right loadout does, however, make a tremendous difference.
What’s right for me may not be right for you - and I mix up my own gear choices all the time.
Instead, let’s talk about the basic elements of a good loadout. Broadly, stats can be divided into offensive and defensive categories. A third category, utility, is pretty simple: a shard gen and/or a wrench. Balancing your offensive and defensive options is the real artform.
Your offensive stats are Attack Damage, Attack Speed, Skill Damage, Reload Speed, and Recoil.
Your defensive stats are Maximum Health and Health Regeneration.
I’ve already offered an analysis of how these attributes all stack up against each other; use those insights to guide you as you mix and match them. Understand that attributes are distributed across various types of items, sometimes as a primary attribute, sometimes as a secondary attribute (which, if the item is lower than Epic, will only be available conditionally.)
A balanced build might attempt to mix both defensive stats (regeneration and maximum health) with offensive stats: attack speed and reload, for example. Or, to your preference, you may wish to stack certain stats, or go with a fully offensive build, or go with a fully defensive build. It’s really up to you. Experiment.
You also should consider shard cost when choosing items. Being Eldrid, Mellka can access many primary attributes for free by taking Common (gray) -shield Eldrid gear. This is highly desirable in Capture and Face Off, and can also be useful in a cheap Meltdown or Incursion build as well.
So, what gear do you need to get the stats you desire?
Available as a primary stat (+280 health) on Vest items.
Available as a secondary stat (+210 health) on Eldrid Gauntlets, Swords, and Jewelry (Skill Damage). Uncommon (Green) items give you the bonus after surviving 180 seconds, but I strongly recommend you take a flawed Epic (Purple) variant instead, which gives you the bonus permanently. In the 180 seconds it takes for the secondary stat to kick in, you could easily have harvest those extra shards. Rare (blue) Eldrid vests also offer secondary health after surviving 180 seconds.
Health is unusually powerful as a secondary stat - 75% of the primary - and so it is worth considering using a non-vest item as your main source of extra health, or, otherwise, use a blue vest to take full advantage of this.
Available as a primary stat (+14) on Syringes.
Available as a secondary stat (+7) on Eldrid Armor, Reload Clips, and Recoil Thingies. Epic items grant this permanently, while uncommon items only grant it below 50% health. When searching for regeneration as a secondary stat, I strongly recommend you invest the extra shards in Epic variants, as Mellka needs to keep her health high.
Secondary regen is 50% of primary regen, so a Syringe is recommended if you want to build a regeneration-focused build.
Available as a primary stat (9.10%) on Gauntlets.
Available as a secondary stat (5.46%) on Jennerit vests and syringes (and healing items, but that’s a waste). All Rare (blue) gauntlets offer secondary damage with a conditional requirement that varies by faction: none of them are great for Mell, but Eldrid is the best here (upon taking health damage). Jennerit items do not have -shield as an option, so are expensive for a Mellka load-out.
Secondary stat is 60% of the primary.
Available as a primary stat (8.40%) on Swords.
Available as a secondary stat (5.04%) on Rare Swords (with varying conditional requirements for all factions, with Eldrid being the best for Mellka). Also available on Uncommon/Epic Jennerit Gauntlets and Jewelry.
Secondary value is 60% of the primary.
Available as a primary stat (9.10%) on Jewelry.
Available as a secondary stat (5.46%) on Rare Jewelry, once more with a varying factional requirement. Either the Eldrid variant (3 seconds after health damage) or the Rogue version (5 seconds after a critical hit) is best for Mellka, though a flawed Eldrid variant is cheaper. Also available on Jennerit wrenches and shard gens, but I advise caution when spending shards on items intended to save you shards. It is also on Jennerit batteries: avoid.
Secondary value is 60% of the primary.
Available as a primary stat (21%) on Reload Clips.
Available as a secondary stat (9.80%) on all Rare Reload Clips, with a conditional requirement that varies by faction. The UPR variant (+reload after completing a reload) is the best, but is expensive. Also available on Uncommon and Epic UPR Recoil Thingies (stocks? are they stocks? is that even a thing?)
Secondary value is unusually low: 46% of the primary.
Available as a primary stat (17.50%) on those… Recoil… things.
Available as a secondary stat (14%) on Rare Recoil items. The UPR variant is probably the best (increased for 5 seconds after a reload.) Also available on shield pen items, but I don’t recommend these.
Secondary value is extremely high: 80% of the primary. On the other hand, how much recoil is enough recoil? Can anyone ever possibly know?