Melee Zane Builds are A-GO

[Disclaimer: This build is still not optimized. It can do more damage and there are tricks to deplete your clone’s shield faster for more novas. This is a proof of concept.

Also like and subscribe for more content. Testing these things actually takes a lot of time, trial and error, and effort. That simple support will let me know these things are appreciated.]

Here is a short gameplay video of how Facepuncher melee builds work on Zane and my tricks on how to make them run as smoothly as possible.

Important gear pieces
Facepuncher: If you do not have a facepuncher, this will not work. There is no reason to use a bayoneted weapon in my experience if you do not have inherent melee bonuses. All your damage will come from 1 of 3 sources depending on how what Artifcats/Coms you have available and the anointment on your FP.

  1. Splash Damage: Splash scales the damage of your white elephant grenades if you use them and will ultimately do the most damage. You can get + grenade / + splash / + aoe damage on your weapons, COMs, and artifats.
  2. Gun damage: The facepuncher is a shotgun and does kinetic gun damage. Scale gun/weapon damage/loyalty damage
  3. Elemental damage: If you use melee artifacts, you can use suffixes like Commander Planetoid / Static Charge / White Elephant which all do elemental damage. Scaling this damage will make it easier to get through multi-HP bar enemies and makes running 1 gun easier.
  4. Melee damage: Melee damage gets x3 on frozen enemies. While Zane can stack much more gun/weapon/splash damage than melee and his base melee damage isn’t the best, +melee damage will still help.

Ice Breaker: It is the best prefix for doing melee damage. Frozen enemies take 3x damage from melee attacks. Your gun shoots melee damage, which gets multiplied. Run it.

Optional Gear Pieces:
Frozen Heart: When combined with infiltrator it makes AoE mobbing and activating your bonus damage easy. It also heals you making things a little safer.

Infiltrator: It drops your shields when you use an action skill. Obvious synergy with Frozen Heart.

Brawler’s ward: Do more gun/melee damage if you have a reliable way to freeze things on your own.


Good work, lacks the skill tree though.
Why don’t you use redundant facepuncher?
And as a prefix the “elemental”(corrosive, fire, shock)-stone is better then ice breaker.
I can dearly recommend the fire stone white elephant or fire stone commander planetoid
I’m using a solo AS melee build, kinda cool as well.

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This is the only facepuncher I have that’s anointed and it was given to me by a friend. It’s literally just the only damage FP I had that wasn’t anointed for Fl4k or Amara.

I don’t play either, but that’s the kind of luck I have, which should be even more of a testament to how easy it is to do this if you have a remote amount of luck in your drops.

I strongly disagree that doing 80% more bonus damage of your 2-3k default damage melee attack with an element is better than 3x damage when frozen with Ice Breaker. I’d have to see that.

That goes double since all the -stones are prefixes which means you’re giving up Ice Breaker (3x damage conditionally) or Flesh Melter (up to 1.25x damage). Also you’re choosing 80% bonus damage (key is bonus damage) over Knife Drain or Cutpurse.

Fire Stone sounded like it could work when I was tested, but you get - damage on anything not flesh which reduces your overall damage by a lot. Also you’ll be doing elemental damage on the WE grenades anyways.

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Eh yeah happy loot hunting.
Ice breaker is +35% against frozen. You always have times 3 melee against frozen enemies.
And if that did not got changed in some hotfix then stone prefixes are multiplicative so it just adds fire dmg on top of everything which with fire is the best because it’s very good against the worst enemies of the game. My sources are the amara melee threads.
Yeah the prefix takes place of cut purse (but if I used cut purse I shoot rockets anyway) or knife drain (but my heal kinda suffices)

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Amara and Zane are not the same.

Flesh is already easy to deal with and the gun does Kinetic damage. You can either get a constant 3x bonus damage, or you could get 80% bonus damage (in optimal conditions) against ONLY flesh.

You could do more damage with Brawler’s Ward or with splash damage, but not with fire.

So although fire is 1.75x damage against flesh, it’s only BONUS damage.

If Amara’s base melee is 8k, and you do 80% bonus damage, that’s another 6.4k. You’ll be doing 14.4k.

If Zane’s base melee is 2k, and you do 80% bonus damage, that’s another 1.6k. You’d be doing 3.6k.

Amara also has bonus melee damage, splash damage, gun damage, and bonus elemental damage. Zane does only has gun damage. There is no reason to run Fire which will additionally only do 65% damage against shields and armor.

Amara and Zane when using the Facepuncher play two different ways.

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The facepuncher takes melee dmg and weapon dmg into account.
Which multiplier you raise doesn’t matter until you overextend on one multiplier, which you shouldn’t.
And again, ice breaker has nothing to do with x3 melee dmg against frozen, that’s just the mechanic as is.
So by taking ice breaker you’re wasting dmg potential.
Justin stating that VHs are different is right, but the facepuncher and melee calculations are the same, so you are right, but still wrong.
Going full force cryo is awesome, but is tiresome against annointed.
(using brawler ward btw, I’m freezing with hex nades and clone swaps, so I have them frozen multipliers included as well)


It’s literally not because of the cryo damage. It’s because of the easy and consistent freeze. The bonus damage is extra, but it’s still a lot.

Amara can also just flat out freeze things without Brain Freeze or Frozen Heart because she does so much base damage. My roomate plays an Amara, I know what she does and how she does it and he agrees with me as well.


I’ve found this, but it doesn’t really discredit or change anything about my build or the reasoning behind the item choices. Shooting Star would do more damage, there’s videos with people comboing Elemental Projector to 1-clip Graveward, but that’s not just “bonus damage.” @nat_zero_six (thanks for the shield btw)

You will have to show me the Fire Stone thing, I do not believe it would do more damage under any circumstance with Zane.

Also just link me to whatever thread you are referencing. I’m pretty sure the huge difference in the numbers being scaled is a factor which for some reason isn’t being considered. Perhaps I am just missing it, but I have tried the stones before and they unequivocally sucked when I did.

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i knew you will like it. :wink::wink:

i find i need ammo and health regen on shaft so a terror combo on grenades/shield/face puncher solves that for me.

This was the thread.
So you mean you profit off the increased cryo efficency? Okay, I thought the shield is a guaranteed freeze anyway.

Maybe you had the fire stone prefix on a worse artifact than you have now, that would explain vastly different experiences.
If I’ll ever feel the urge to record gameplay, I’ll post it here.

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Sent redundant cryo fp. :+1:

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Don’t mean to be an jerk, but bad information is part of the reason people think Zane is weak.

Not saying these things aren’t all true on Amara, but I reiterate different characters.

I re-tested moments ago with the slight hope that you were right and I’m severely disappointed.

I tested with neutral modifiers and positive modifiers, also with Fire Stone and Unleash the Dragon and the damage was not what you said it would be or anywhere near it.

I also tested with my anointments before/after activation and on enemies frozen by Frozen Heart for x3 damage.

Ice Breaker and White Elephant are better every time, hands down.


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@nat_zero_six please let me know if you have any input into the situation.

I do not see how I could get any more damage out of these items besides having better stat rolls, and even then it’s 1/3rd of the damage I was doing in my original post which also didn’t have perfect stat rolls. All the weapons and the shield are the same gear and I show the different class mods I tested.

Amara has bonus melee damage, Zane does not. Things that give bonuses to melee damage, especially base, will not be effective on Zane. It’s an open and shut case to me.

The absolute highest damage I got out of the Fire Stone with +50% shotgun damage modifier in the final clip was about 19k and that is with 2 anointments active on ASE and probably also overkill damage AND against Flesh. That is not worth it.

You do a lot of melee testing though, so I assume if there is anything I’m missing, you would be able to spot it.

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Everything is relative, Zane might be weak compared to chuck norris, but strong compared to kuririn.
People who compare VHs probably also compare their two children and at are thus, horrible people.
Not the kind of people to spend your energy on.
I digress.
Regarding your video, we had a bit of a misunderstanding I feel like. If you have a prefixwhite elephant, that will always be better than a fire stone suffix. What I meant is that ice breaker white elephant is (wording fix: might be) not as good as fire stone white elephant. I hope I got my point across this time.

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No I understand that, but the damage is still bad.

You’re gonna have to compare characters at some point, but it’d be silly to expect them to work the same way with the same things when they have completely different kits.

An extra 3-20k damage is not bad, but it is nowhere near as good as what I was putting up before. That and 2/3 of the HP types take reduced incendiary and I only do damage with it when TWO anoints are active is pathetic.

I’m firmly in the camp that this shouldn’t have worked at all, but I was surprised when it did. If I took this build and tried to recreate the video in OP with it I’d die non-stop on repeat the first time a singled Hardened Badass shows up. The bonus fire damage when frozen (as demonstrated in the test) was negligible.

What is good about Ice Breaker is that the 35% bonus damage applies to EVERYTHING. It applies to White Elephant’s grenades (which also do more damage against frozen targets), it applies to your gun, it applies to your dopplebanger, it applies to your clone, and freezing enemies as Zane is no-problem.

Frozen Heart on Zane is extremely exploitable to the point where if you bother to run melee and you aren’t using Shooting Star, you should be using Frozen Heart. It’s better than Brawler’s Ward and RR. You can completely circumvent the 7s recharge delay in 2 ways (swapping with clone and freezing someone).

It is better. That 3x damage on frozen is easier to keep up than on other VHers and the bonus damage from Ice Breaker is more consistent and applicable than any incendiary anything.

If I run into something that requires incendiary, there’s 0 reason for me not to just use my alchemist if it’s a particularly big body as the alchemist will kill almost anything instantly.

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Not exactly how I read this works, bonus in bonus damage just means, that your regular kinetic damage stays as is, and that elemental melee damage is added. Which will then be multiplied and changed further. The bonus damage gets multiplied by everything that uses your melee damage. Facepuncher and thus your gun damage, the white elephant charges and the frozen multipler will apply to the bonus damage as well. So on tvhm your dmg will be increased by 40% if your targets are resistant and by 140% if weak.
At least thats how it was mentioned and stated before in other melee and facepuncher regarding threads. If that’s not true, then screw me I guess. If you find an elemental stone white elephant, you might try it though.

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This is exactly how I said it worked originally. The issue, which is and will remain the issue, is that Zane’s base melee damage is nowhere near as high as Amara and can never be.

In addition, she can imbue her damage with that element as well as get bonuses to that element, bonuses to the splash, bonuses to the status effect damage.

There are many reasons why that setup runs differently on Amara. Even Joltz’s Unleash the Dragon has him hitting for 52k DoT which is simply not possible as Zane.

Most melee Amaras don’t even run Unleash the Dragon. For Zane, it’s actively nerfing yourself.

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I never mentioned unleash the dragon.
You’re stating that the modifiers are different for amara and zane. But I’m talking about Zane. And the ice breaker isn’t magically increasing the damage output the facepuncher does unrelated to your base melee damage.
Your gear setup is using zanes base damage as much as any other gear setup involving facepuncher.
Your damage evolved out of all the increases to your base melee damage. So if you increase you base melee damage or any other multiplier is nearly irrelevant.
Ice breaker does not change that, and has less increases than elemental stone.
Or are you talking about using other weapons than the facepuncher maybe? Then, yes, ice breaker is better. But for just using facepuncher and no other gun. No.
I’m taking those threads as reference, because they state items interactions (between facepuncher and artifacts). Not because they’re for amara.

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can you post your build?

how was it when you faced anointed? will try frozen heart later.

The build is really just get Double Barrel in red tree, go down blue tree with whatever you want. Playing Dirty isn’t particularly important here is the only big thing to note.

It’s fine against anointeds, but not ideal. You don’t get a damage penalty anymore but you still cannot freeze them, making just switching guns a better option (since you have 3 more slots for a reason). The white elephant grenades put in work, but unless you’re killing anointeds fast, it’s really tedious trying to fight them with a slow fire rate, slow reload speed, unruly, and kinetic based gun anyways.

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Not like…a serious suggestion at all. But. Does Splattergun work with the Facepuncher? Lol

Ahhh fuhhhhh

I have all the things to test it. Damn it.

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