Can Amara punch from 1 to 65?

Is there a guide to leveling Amara as melee that is enjoyable and viable? I have had no luck in finding any such tips. All melee guides seem to be endgame and based on legendaries only. Is it not even possible to do an effective endgame melee build without legendaries? There doesn’t even seem to be guides without required anointments. Which would mean you can’t even really do melee without mayhem items. That would be sad.

Side note: If it is not possible to do an endgame melee build without legendaries and perfect anointments, I cannot help but feel that is a serious design flaw.

There are definitely some wierd design choices to be seen when it comes to melee in BL3: Face-Puncher being way better that pure melee, melee mayhem scaling, things that scale of melee that are the real star of various builds.
But it’s not all pure crap.

But if you wanted to go pure melee from level 1 onwards: no, that will not be fun until you get some skill points to boost your melee: Illuminated fist + Tempest for example. FInd your center among other skills.
And even then you’ll find enemies that cannot be punched because they are airborne or just too far away (several bosses cannot be hit directly with melee because they are out of reach).
So you need a ranged option: Enter Face-Puncher which is such a cool idea per se. It lets you have ranged melee so you don’t need to have gun guns in your hand.
But once you feel the power of the Face-Puncher (esp. in Mayhem Levels) you’ll feel the weakness of pure melee.
You’ll either drop pure melee or - at worst - the game because of your frustration.

The reasons you don’t find leveling guides in here are manifold. For one, endgame is where the hardcore crowd is at. And second, the more casual players might have left over the course of the year as they have either completed the game and got everything they’ve wanted out of the game or they got pushed away by weird design choices.

So, if you want a leveling guide, go with what you find fun. Or check out this endgame builds doc and work your way towards a build of your liking.

With that all being said, fun can be had in this game despite all that. :slight_smile:

I appreciate you taking the time to give a solid answer.

I have come quite close to just dropping the game that I just purchased at Thanksgiving. It does seem pointless to level and the lack of stat details make it difficult to know what actually works together. The game seems entirely developed on endgame with leveling thrown in because it’s what games do, though, the way the endgame players tell it there is no endgame. lol.

I feel like GBX just rode on the coattails of it’s previous success and it’s pretty depressing. The absolutely horrible story makes it really tough to do replay too. The lack of any advancement in melee after four games is seriously disappointing as well. Still, I trudge on just to give things a try. I want to see the individual responses that each character gives. So far, Zane seems funniest.

Hopefully, someone else will come along with something that neither of us know and bring new interest to the game.

Thanks again.

You’re not wrong with that! The wordings are mostly irritating or plain wrong. There are bugs scattered across items, skills and interactions. And with regards to endgame, there is not much a dedicated player couldn’t do in a few weeks.
You can only run Proving Grounds, Slaughters and Takedowns so much.

So the actual question to be asked is: Can you have fun in the game despite of that?
Over at the “What did you do in your most recent session?”-thread are some nice people that report back on their ventures through the game. Be it leveling, endgaming or just running & gunning.

I for one, while I consider myself a harcore fan of the Borderlands, still find enough to do in the game. That is partly because I don’t have the time to put in to reach every goal I have set up for me. And partly because I’m on console and need to hand-farm everything I want to try out. And that just takes long.

Still, if you can forget about what’s wrong with the game, you can go and have fun with it!

edit: Also, check this resource:
It’ll help you a lot with items and even builds.


Of course you can do the whole run with melee (with some exceptions like fighting Graveward which is a pain fight for punching). Early game you can easily get great items for melee from missions (Buttplug pistol and Golden Touch shield). You can farm Psychostabber from lvl ~12 if you want but it’s not needed at that point if you have Buttplug. Purple version of Avenger COM is great for melee.
If you have Desinger’s Cut then purple tree and Orb are very OP for normal playthrough.

The only reason when you need to think more about legendary items are Mayhem levels. So if you want to play without Mayhem or on low levels you still don’t need legendary loot, but it will help.


I don’t think this is true. I have this build and melee strikes with the Psycho Stabber hit much harder than the Face-puncher. ~1-2 million for Face-puncher shots and ~40 million for Blitz attacks (and I think normal melee strikes are 10+ million - it’s been a while since I’ve used that build so I can’t remember exactly).

That’s probably very subjective - by a generous estimate I probably spent ~2% of my playtime in the end game (defined here as ‘you are at L65’), and I’m around 1000 hours in. So, leveling is quite central to the game, at least for me. Also enjoyable :slight_smile:

@derwitte pretty much covered the gist of it - pure melee is quite problematic, because airborne enemies exist, bosses that stay at the distance etc. My own compromise was to make an Amara that only uses guns with melee bonus and leans heavily into melee skills, but does not rely on them 100%.

Facepuncher is a really weird item - technically it’s melee and thus ‘qualifies’ for pure melee playstyle, but it feels like cheating :slight_smile: , especially since it’s so powerful. I’m struggling on M11 without it, but then I’m not a super skilled player either.

In the end it’s your call, OP, what to do and how to play. If you must do pure melee-only on M11, it probably won’t be easy - but some folks enjoy challenge, so there is that too.

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For pure melee builds, I’d really suggest checking out @Stone_Swan on Youtube. He really works with all the intricacies of pure melee setups the best out of anyone I’ve seen. His builds aren’t 100% optimized for the meta, but that’s because he compensates very well for the weaknesses of melee with his own brand of theorycrafting.

As @derwitte mentioned though, pure melee has absolutely nothing on the raw power of the “melee-likes” (facepuncher, stinger, and fishslap) once you get to high mayhems. Those items are like fricking math katanas, they fold over and double dip so many bonuses that few things in the game match their strength. However, most of the game doesn’t require that level of power and you can get by well enough without it. Doing raids will take strategy, but you won’t ever get bored at least.


It depends on what you put “behind” your Face-puncher … The FP simply gets more boosts as pure melee and therefore can crank it up to 11.
That and the fact that the FP gives you access to ranged multi-target dmg (Static Charge) that scales off of your melee dmg and double dips various boosts, make it just superior to pure melee playstyle.
There is still a lot purely punchable in the game. And it is even fun to do so but still @boombumr wrote the “melee-likes” get access to so many boosts in so many ways that it is hard to “go back to just pure punching”. At least IMO.

edit: Amara lacks gun dmg which also boosts the FP. Also she’s lacking V1 multiplier. She is the worst FP user of all characters even though she has the highest melee boosts of them all.

The really annoying part here is that I saw several Static Charges drop, I think, scanned the item description and said to myself : “Look, is sounds like I have to slide first to build the charge for it to be applied to melee”, and I’m not good at sliding in the middle of the combat, so never used them.

If it turns out that it works without sliding (bonus shock and chaining), then it changes things quite a bit. Need to see if some are still sitting in the bank.

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The base damage from Static Charge is always active, but more slides = mode damage (3 or 4 slides for max dmg). Once you start using it, it will be easier to slide every time you run to enemy or something.
Elemental Stone Static Charge is my favorite artifact for melee.


It’s fantastic as @GrzesPL says!
Depending on your spec and items you might find it pointless to even slide as the dmg a Punchbot or Rakk Stab puts out is more than enough to justify not charging it up.
A elemental stone static charge is a full dedication to dmg, a knife drain static charge gives you lifesteal.
It’s versatile as well.

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