Facepuncher Melee Zane build guide | Level 65 | No DLC required

Here is my first build guide. I hope it makes some sense.

I set out to make a melee based build for Zane that would be viable for all content. My first attempt was at level 60 but since the level cap increase this build is even more powerful and does not require any DLC items.

It does benefit from a sufficiently high Guardian Rank to allow Groundbreaker to be used but will still work (albeit less efficiently) without this perk.

It does require specific gear and weapons to work and lucky rolls on Com and Artifact, along with the correct anointment on the main weapon is desirable.

This build will easily cope with the most challenging content in the game and is quite forgiving to play.

Build quick look: https://bl3skills.com/operative/#500500000000005055101503150550500110131


This build is based around the facepuncher/White Elephant combo.

Facepuncher: Best in slot for mobbing is the x7 version and most desirable anointment is Consecutive Hits. A x14 version may be useful for bossing but tends to be too ammo hungry for mobbing. It is also only 3 or 4 shots between reloads. As your shield will be down most of the time, more shots between reloads will increase survivability.

Next on the list is a Trick Unforgiven for crit swapping. This is not absolutely needed but is useful for quickly farming bosses or other extra healthy enemies. If crit swapping is not your thing the build will work perfectly fine without it.

A knifedrain White Elephant Artifact is a must for this build. Look for one with melee and AOE or Splash passives. I am still using a lvl 57 one and the build works fine. If you have magazine size as a passive that would also be a huge bonus to this build.

The best grenade I have found to compliment this build is a Cryo Hex. Look for the ‘On Grenade Throw’ anointment. The grenade will be deployed by SNTNL using the Drone Delivery skill and by you using the Duct Taped Mod skill. Level is not greatly important as it is being used to add cryo into the mix to increase the chances of freezing enemies. Frozen enemies take extra melee damage.

You will want a low level Brawler Ward shield to make this build work most effectively. Look for one with 300% melee damage when shield is depleted to get four times damage!

You can use the Lost Loot machine method to obtain a level 1 version (there are many guides online detailing this method) or else you can bring a level 1 character into your Mayhem 8+ game split-screen to guarantee an anointment on it. My testing leads me to believe that the lowest one you will get using this method is level 5, which is perfectly usable. The most desirable anointment would be the SNTNL movement anoint, which I currently don’t have. Cryo resistance would be the best.

Lastly the all important Class Mod. This build uses the Infiltrator Class Mod rather then the Seeing Dead Class Mod. This makes the build suitable for people who don’t have any DLCs. Getting the most points into Violent Momentum will increase the power of the build so look for a com that boosts that skill as much as you can. Passives to look for are: melee damage, splash damage, action skill damage and weapon damage but note that shotgun damage will not work with the Facepuncher.

That’s it, that’s all you need to make the build work, and gear level isn’t really important excepting having a low level shield. Melee damage scales with Mayhem and it is the melee damage, not the weapon, that is providing all the damage.


Hitman Tree

As per every Zane build, you will maximise damage with speed so taking skills to boost speed is desirable. We max out Violent Speed on this tree to help achieve this along with Speed Demon in the Mayhem modifiers. As we are using a Knifedrain White Elephant it is not necessary to take Salvation, which allows us to put points elsewhere to boost our DPS. We are using a multipellet weapon so Playing Dirty is not an efficient use of skill points. I find that points in Violent Violence will increase both DPS and survivability. This skill, combined with Cool Hand means that you will be able to fire fast and have less time in the reload animation. The best augments for SNTNL will be Winter’s Drone and Boomsday. We need to avoid Static Field as we want our shield to be broken all the time.

Here is the Hitman skill tree:

Double Agent Tree

This is a Clone/Drone build so we are investing heavily into the Double Agent tree, making our way down to the Capstone, Double Barrel, to give our Clone the Facepuncher. Along the way we take the usual skills in this tree: Synchronicity, Borrowed Time, Donnybrook and Duct Taped Mod but we must avoid Fractal Frags as we want our Clone to be shooting all the time, not throwing grenades. We also avoid Praemunitus as it doesn’t increase the magazine size of the Facepuncher enough and the points are best spent elsewhere.

We also want to avoid Quick Breather as we want to keep our Clone’s shield down as much as we can. Old-U is worth picking up for a point in case we go down with no enemies nearby to gain a second wind from. We are only putting a single point into Supersonic Man as we will pick Speed demon for our easy Mayhem Modifier. This leaves points that we can put into Trick of the Light for extra cryo damage when used with the augment Which One’s Real?. Take Boom. Enhance. for the buffs and finally Double Barrel. Having the augment Doppelbanger will help us manage our Clone between combat areas.

Here is the Double Agent skill tree;

Under Cover Tree

We don’t invest many points into the Under Cover tree. Just enough to get to Brain Freeze. Avoid Ready For Action as we don’t want shield buffs. A(slightly) better use of the points would be Adrenaline as the Guardian Perk ‘Topped Off’ won’t be active as much due to our shield being constantly broken.

Under Cover skill tree:

Guardian Rank

For this build to work most effectively, the ‘Groundbreaker’ perk should be taken. It is quite an investment, needing 125 Guardian Points to buy, but well worth the investment. The perks ‘Shield Reboot’ and ‘Emergency Response’ should be disabled if you have already purchased them.

Mayhem Modifiers

This build works fantastically at Mayhem 10 due to melee damage scaling with Mayhem level. Speed Demon is the best choice for the easy modifier and Dazed and Infused is great for a very hard modifier. Drone Ranger can provide great second wind opportunities. I personally would prefer Healy Avenger to Mob Mentality but I am somewhat too fatigued to keep re-rolling them to get it. These are the modifiers I currently use:

Here is a build video showing it off. Please excuse my droning on :rofl:

Here is a run through the Maliwan Takedown with live commentary:

Have fun with Zane and his Clone only using vanilla gear :slight_smile:

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Why not the x14? :confused:

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Too much reloading and higher ammo consumption. You get more than enough damage for general mobbing with the x7. I have tried both.

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I only play allegiance, and only look at the Face Puncher through the lens of Amara. With Dread reloading for me on grasped kills, I didn’t even think of this.

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Dread is quite the DPS boost on low mag weapons. FL4K has a skill the adds ammo on crit as well, and Moze has Bottomless Mags. Zane is sadly lacking in any skill to extend the firing between reloads, except Praemunitus, which only gives a bigger mag and on smaller magazine size guns isn’t worth the points. That is why I use Cool Hand

ah yes a melee that requires no meleeing fantastic


I was honest in my topic description :wink:

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Solid build! Well written and formatted thread!
The only thing, that I would like to point out is, that 5/5 in playing dirty might add more to the build than fire rate. It’s just from 7 to 8 projectiles, but that might become another white elephant bomb.
Depending on how often you take use out of the fire rate increase, of course, but I guess many enemies are just shoot and run and explode afterwards.

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Thanks for the comments. I have found through testing that increased fire rate makes this build more survivable. The facepuncher is relatively slow firing and the shield is down most of the time. That also lends itself to a more aggressive playstyle, which I find more fun. I ran this build through GT when it was a level 60 and there was a lot of enemy damage going on.
Lastly you may want to use a x14 for bossing so Playing Dirty would have even less effect on DPS

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He also has the Digi clone Ammo regen. Back in M4 i used to mob with a Gatlin Gatling gun with that annoint. Was able to shoot for 2 minutes straight without reloading

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I thought they patched that some time ago?

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Nope still in the game- i dont think they removed any character annoint the bad annoint wipe. However, there is a small bug with it. Sometimes the ammo regen will just stop working. But swapping weapons back and forth fixes it.
(Sidenote: they need to let the Hanging Chadd, the unique Blue CoV pistol, be annointed, then Zane could spam Baby Makers faster than Moze)

Ah, you’re referring to the anointment that gives ammo regen. I thought you meant regen from a cutpurse.

A post was split to a new topic: Freezing Fist Flynt Build Video

Interesting build. Perhaps you could start your own build thread where you explain your build in detail as I have done in my build thread.

Cool build. Not too different than mine. Would have to let go playing dirty thou.
Nice vid. Good tone and edit. :+1: Wish you the best of luck with your channel.

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Thanks for the comments. I have no ambition to be a ‘youtuber’ though. It’s just a creative body of work. When I used to DJ I created a body of work (mixes) which I host on mixcloud.

It scratches the creative itch :slight_smile:

Do you have a link to your build? I’m keen to see it.

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It’s nothing special really. Didn’t changed much from my “original” leveling up. Beside I chose to keep my main, Zane, to level last so he’s still at 60.
I’ll keep it in mind and might send you something later.

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I have updated the Op with a Maliwan Takedown run with commentary :slight_smile:

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