Melee Zer0....You Still 0ut There?

crazy OwO

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Thanks a bunch!

What’s the deal with the blast proof version? Why’s that specifically there? Also I thought about that… It seems the Love Thumper deals dmg in two portions? There’s the initial hit and then a nova? And since the nova is explosive (says on the weapon card) would it get buffed from an explosive relic?


here is testing on the love thmper.

for the shield immunity, it gives immunity to dots but explosive does not give dots. some say blast proof reduces the damage though.


Sure do : Blast Proof comes from a Torgue capacitor and Torgue parts are the second worst for special effect (in this case, roid damage).


Hey everyone, I’m working on building up my Zero skills and am beginning to take a shine to the melee side of things. I haven’t gone fully over to the “melee Zero” dark side yet, but I’m working towards it.

Anyway, Nat asked me to bring my observations and questions here, just in case there were others in the “melee gang” who would want to chime in.

For Nat - I’m going to look more closely into the hybrid builds you offered. The issue I had with them is that they were often gear dependent, and I don’t like to be strapped down to specific loadouts. Like walking around sporting three Pimps is boring to me.

So, being unsure of how flexible some of these builds are with respect to gear, I get nervous about messing around with them for too long.

As noted in prior correspondence, I’m digging the two fang/kitten build quite a bit, but the lack of cooldown reduction is killing it for me. I doubt I’ll be able to sustain it in UVHM for that reason.

I’ll do some more tweaking and research and see what I come up with. For now, I’m going to try to get all the way to MMF and see what kind of hybrid I can get doing that. I’m totally at sea in the melee tree, though, so I’m bound to do dumb things.

One question here: If I am going to be at least running a “quasi-melee” build with MMF, Execute, Ambush, Backstab, etc., is there a good shield for that that doesn’t involve constantly electrocuting myself and trying to keep my shield down? Just something that works well enough without me having to worry about managing my shield?

I may get around to trying such things in the future, but for now I just want to practice playing, getting more fluid, using deception more efficiently, developing a rhythm, etc.


@Jefe can help you out more.


The only option would be the “always on” one : Love Thumper, but this is a somewhat advanced option. It’s best when you can chain MMF kills without much work (trash mob heavy areas like Southpaw or Pete’s Bar). Typically one uses a low level Crossfire (or purple Bettie) for slag but a slag transfusion is good too.

But I assume this isn’t the answer you’re looking for.

For hybrid the better answer is to stop at Execute and forego MMF since chaining without a roid shield or a way to manage it (telsa/Stormfront/Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning) is very tricky.

The reason is that without a roid, in order to do enough damage, you have to kunai every target and it’s impossible to judge how much is enough but not so much as to kill the target with said kunai, effectively halting the chain. Plus throwing that much will surely backfire and cause self damage, and inevitably, death.

My preferred roid shield for hybrid is the Punchee since it has a short recharge delay and very quick recharge rate. It requires crystals though so any blue or purple with <3 second delay.

A bladed 2-3 barrel shotgun is great for hybrid.

Bloodshed tree :

  • Killing Blow : required. 5/5
  • Iron Hand : ok. Skill point dump.
  • Grim : take it if no MMF. Avoid if you take MMF.
  • Be Like Water : skill point dump.
  • Followthrough : required. 5/5
  • Execute : obviously.
  • Backstab : required. 5/5
  • Resurgence : underwhelming. One point only if you have Legendary (or purple) Ninja.
  • Like the Wind : skill point dump.

A typical hybrid (no MMF) build :

Legendary Hunter or Legendary/blue/purple Ninja COM. Modify build to accommodate the COM.

Full disclosure : I haven’t played in almost a year. I’m pretty sure I’m giving you the straight goods though.


Ok, very helpful. That seems to be close to what I came up with (the hybrid build, I mean). Here is what I started with, beginning on UVHM for field testing:

Let me get more specific about my initial impressions (just got past Flynt) to help you out if you want to recommend I change something or other.

First, I’m running a Leg. Hunter and a shock Bone. At this point, I’m not going to bother with anything else (different elements on the Bone are fine, of course), because I need the cooldown just that badly. I tried running a Leg. Killer build yesterday and had a really tough time because of the slower cooldown.

Second, no idea what shield to use. I’m just using a Blockade because it’s kind of tanky. I tried a Bee and got wrecked faster than lightspeed. I’ve got options though - I’ve got elemental Hides, an Antagonist, an Evolution, Love Thumpers, etc. — No Punchee, though. Where do I get that? I can use my Maya to farm for it and give it to my Zero to try out.

Now, let me go more into detail about said experience. My initial impression is that this is a pretty good build for ordinary mobs. I didn’t have much difficulty getting to Boom Bewm and Flynt. But for the bosses? My lord, I went down like a bag of excrement.

Died twice on Boom Bewm, and though I didn’t die on Flynt, it was a fiasco nonetheless - went into FFYL like five times, altogether.

That worries me.

Off the bat, I’m liking MMF even though I’m not using a roid shield. so long as I get at least one melee kill to prolong Deception, it makes me pretty happy. I’m not aiming to chain kills together anyway; I just like having the opportunity, which happens often enough, to get a longer Deception. Does that make sense? Is it silly to waste the points to get there for that reason when they’d be better used elsewhere?

The most controversial skill for me by far is Unforeseen. I don’t know what it is about it, but it always seems to screw me up - something is screwing me up anyway. What happens is, I’ll go into deception, not pay any attention to my decoy, find an enemy, kunai him, line up a shot or melee him - and right when I shoot some explosion goes off and throws off my aim. It’s pretty annoying. And I’m assuming it’s Unforeseen doing that, though I’m now made aware from you that kunai can do that too.

I just don’t know where else to reallocate those points. I don’t want Optics. Precision might be ok, I guess. Kill Confirmed is alright. At One with the Gun is alright. I don’t get anything out of Rising Shot. I tried Two Fang and I don’t like how wasteful it is - it procs my stinginess, so to speak. Be Like Water underwhelms me. Like the Wind, maybe, is an option?

Don’t know. It does seem like Unforeseen would be the best use of those points, but the damn thing just won’t leave me alone lol.

This is my most general issue, actually, insofar as I’ve played with Zero long enough to have real “issues.” Very often I’ll go into Deception, throw kunai at someone, then go in for an Execute, and then there’ll be this huge explosion.

It’s really disorienting and I have no idea what’s happening or where it’s coming from, but I want it to stop. Is it from the Kunai? It can’t be a nova from my shield, because I’m sporting a Blockade. Unforeseen, again?

Whatever it is, that explosion is driving me crazy.

The more specific problem I’m having is slagging. I’m a Maya player primarily, and though I’ve done everything in the game there is to do with her outside of going to OP10, I’ve never, ever, not once used any sort of weapon or grenade for the purposes of slagging. Never had to.

Point is, though in hours played I’m fairly experienced by now with this game, I’m a total noob when it comes to slagging technique, weapons, how to do it, the flow of combat with slagging, etc. Indeed, the raid boss I suck at the most is Haderax, precisely because I find having to slag him difficult (ruin, apparently, doesn’t work).

So I’m always going back and forth: Do I use a Grog, a pimp, a crossfire, a magic missile? How many do I throw? How often? Even when I chuck one of those I’ll slag like two guys at most. And while I’m trying to kill them, some non-slagged psycho comes charging at me.

It feels like I need every weapon in my inventory to be slag elemental.

Perhaps there’s something to that? Could I engage in combat with a slag pimpernel - I mean use it to kill things?

As for other weapons, I like the Kitten a lot with Zero, but the inaccuracy of the thing makes it unreliable. When I try to use a Bitch, it seems to suck with Zero. Doesn’t do with him what it does with Maya.

I’m just looking for more ammo efficient ways to play as Zero. One of the oddities of him is that so many of the weapons he loves are huge ammo hogs - the Twister, the Quad, the Lyuda. I love them all, but when I roll with them I end up focusing more on managing my ammo than on the battlefield. It’s not how I enjoy playing.

So I’m experimenting with Bitches, Kittens, the Amigo (that one I’ve had good results with), the Bekah, Conference Calls, Interfacers, etc.

Haven’t found anything wonderful, though that could be because of my build. The Amigo, honestly, is my favorite gun with Zero bar none. I feel warm and cozy when I can lay back, spam deception, and blow people’s heads off.

That’s the status report. Apologies for going on and on; I just wanted to give you enough detail to know what my problems and interests are.


try fastball as a grenade to whittle down the health of badasses.

for inspiration mmf chains for days in the bar by bew


Dude, what the actual hell is that?

How does one do that? One would like to know.


you liked it didn’t you.

you can also do that.


Liked it? Loved it. Want more of it.


well you are in the right place.

here is an mmf guide from the master itself (strikerz) one of the smoothest melee zero players and regarded by many as the best.


Merci beaucoup, good sir. I’m going to study this now. With childlike glee.

EDIT: Ok, after watching this video, I’m pretty certain the explosions I’m referring to are from the kunai. I’m still not entirely sure, because I recall the explosions happening at the end of Deception, whereas in the video it seems to happen when you go for the kill too soon, but I’ll have to field test it to be sure.

Very helpful.

One question - what shield is he using there?


The seraph vendor in Torgue’s DLC - near Moxxi’s front door (heh)

Yes. Likely. Throw some at the wall from 2 or 3 meters away. Or at the dummy. It makes little elemental splashes and they can indeed throw one off. Try throwing less at basic targets - one or two flicks, just enough to mark them. Save the full volleys for the big dudes.

Unforeseen : typically you’re going to have the decoy off to the side or in front of the target so you can get a backstab or a headshot. The decoy goes off with a little flash a split second after you fire. You essentially treat the decoy like a remote detonated bomb, so place accordingly.

This is why I always start each mode farming a Hornet from Knuckledragger. Ninja be damned - those guys pack a punch.

Great! Keep it!

Well, of course!

Like where? Optics?

Take a basic MMF build with Unforseen (most trads move those points to Rising Shot)

You’ve got 12 points to dump somewhere.
One or two points in Velocity unless you use a Pimp.
One Shot One Kill isn’t all that great but it’s still 60%, which is great with shotguns.
That leaves 5 points to go somewhere.
Precision really helps with shotguns. There’s a hint in there somewhere.

Otherwise, Kill Confirmed, Rising Shot, or the Like skills in Bloodshed.

So, the guns.

Naturally. It’s crazy. Maybe try Elephant gun or Buffalo too but the Amigo rules for Zer0.

Yes, he excels with increasing existing high base damage (shotguns, and, well, snipers, I guess :stuck_out_tongue:) with his crit modifiers. The Bitch is better with characters who can boost its base damage (Axton) so the crit damage gets increased that much more.

Boo times two. Ammo hogs yes and also they have terrible crit potential.
For half the ammo usage, you get as much or better one-shot potential from a Coach Gun or Rustler’s Orphan Maker (well massively better in the latter case). Triquetra from the Hodunk mission is outstanding too.

Absolutely. It’s not only the best slagging gun in the game, it’s one of the best with Bore and is completely overpowered if it’s elemental. I used to only use a slag Pimp out of principle.

As an aside : this is somewhat long but I highly recommend watching this

Dota is one of the Zer0 OGs. It’s not a build I use but there’s so much to glean.


Hide of Terra. A perfect Hide has something like 30 or 50% more damage than the next closest roids (Order, LT and Punchee are all roughly the same).


@Sejanus, boss jefe is a better ninja than i am.

I just wear no pants and smash melee buttons until enemies are dead. lol


This is great stuff.

As I find my footing with Zero he’s really growing on me. Tonight I went all the way up to Where Angels Fear to Tread in UVHM with very few problems, then did the Marcus DLC just to open up the loot train for farming class mods.

Now, before I file my TPS Report on that, let me just address the skill tree stuff.

Firstly, the hybrid build I came up with, centered on the Leg. Hunter + Bone combo, is really working for me. It’s the first time I’ve felt myself getting into some kind of combat rhythm with Zero, and I love it. I do struggle in particularly tough areas (more on that later), but overall it’s working just fine. So I’m going to stick with the core idea of the build, and play around with reallocating my extra points based on suggestions from the Sensei - or, rather, Jefe.

Secondly, I did in fact take OSOK for the sake of shotguns. You’re suggesting, as I understand it, that if I’m taking care for shotguns in my build already, I might as well really take care of them and get into Precision.

As for Unforeseen, I’ve now decided that I really like it and don’t want to live without it. I didn’t fully understand what was happening with it at first, but now that I do, I see that it’s essential to what I’m doing.

Namely, this: since I’m not employing roid shields, my melee attacks, even with Backstab, often are just barely weak enough to not kill the target I’m after; what happens then is he kind of gets knocked backwards, then Unforeseen goes off - boom, he’s a goner.

It functions like a safety valve for me - if I don’t get the kill and set off on MMF, I at least get the guy dead I was trying to kill. It’s win-win, and Unforeseen really puts in work with a shock BotA.

I still screw up my melee attacks far more often than I’d like, but I’m getting better. The most frustrating thing is failing to get Execute to work properly. Frequently I’ll get behind a dude, line myself up for the kill, press R3 and - Zero just swings his sword at the air. No charging, no rush, no badassery. Total whiff.

When I see people like the guy in that video Nat linked basically spamming Execute, I’m in utter awe. The spatial window to get that thing to go off is incredibly small.

Now for the report.

Where I struggled after Flynt will probably come as no surprise - Bloodshot Stronghold & Ramparts; basically the places that are particularly heavy with badasses and/or loaders. I’m ashamed to admit that I gave up and equipped a Norfleet in the Bloodshot areas. I try my damnedest to not use Norfleets in general combat (raid bosses are a different matter) because it encourages me to get lazy and not fight to the best of my ability. So it took something pretty punishing to push me to equip one despite my reservations.

With Bloodshot specifically the slagging problem popped up and stayed up in a major way. I just couldn’t slag everyone I needed to slag. I’d go for a few badasses straggling about, then three psychos or Ironmen (whatever they’re called) would come out of nowhere and be right up in my face; I’d have to backtrack, the badasses would start firing nasty elemental weapons or RPGs at me, then the psychos would start meleeing me or suicide bombing…

It was nightmarish.

On the plus side, I’ve finally started using the Slagga and gaining a certain level of comfort with it. I like how I can more or less just spray and pray with it, unlike with the Pimp and Grog, while still controlling where I send the bullet shower, unlike with grenades. I remain uncomfortable with manual slagging, but, as the man says: whenever I slag, I slag with a slagga.

As I continue, I’m going to try to learn better when I’m overdoing it with my kunai. That comes with adequate, rapid processing of the battlefield and who is and isn’t present. At the moment I’m too inward focused to notice. I’ll get there, though. The Zero flow has to become more reflexive for me before I take the next step in comprehending his mysterious ways.

I think I had my first noticeable experience with B0re when I was fighting Bloodwing. I was using a Bekah and doing decent damage, then all of the sudden, upon one of Bloodwing passthroughs of the arena, I start blasting at his head/neck area - in a split second 3/4 of his health was gone. If I had a Bee on, I imagine he’d have been instantly dead. Cool stuff, though I have no idea how I did it.

Finally, I suppose I should mention the weapons I’ve begun to rely on through trial and error.

I don’t rely on the Lyuda, but it’s always ready for Loader-heavy environments. Zero kills with that thing, but as I noted earlier, I can’t stand how much of an ammo-glutton it is.

Almost always I have a slagga in one slot, the Amigo or an appropriately elemental Pimp in another, a shotgun in the third (Interfacer/Striker/Twister), and a Bekah in the fourth. It isn’t unusual for me to be running all-Jakobs a lot of the time, and I never even planned to do that.

Can’t say it displeases me, though, since Jakobs is my favorite manufacturer. Another unexpected joy in discovering Zero’s synergies!

With Maya, it was a struggle to find permanent places for Jakobs beyond the occasional Twister fooling around and forcing her to like the Amigo (my favorite sniper rifle in the game, even before I grew to love it even more on Zero). She always pushed me more toward Hyperion and Dahl, neither of whom I like very much in themselves. Phaselock is why I main her.

With Zero, though, I now have a character who isn’t always telling me he likes something better whenever I want him to use a Jakobs weapon. I also get a character who I can melee with, something I enjoyed doing with Lilith in BL1 (even if mainly defensively) and rather missed in BL2.

I guess my final question is related to melee. As noted above, it isn’t uncommon for me to do just slightly too little damage to melee kill someone I’ve got dead to rights, and I have to leave the actual kill to Unforeseen.

Based on what you’ve seen in my build, is there any way for me to get that extra bit of “oomph” in my melee attacks, so I kill a bit more frequently - without a roid shield? Is there a class mod you’d recommend, or just a point reallocation, or both?

Pretty much the only class mod I know how to get for Zero is the Leg. Hunter; the other ones I have Nat generously gave to me to help me play around with builds and see what I like. I may or may not have been dumb and sold the one that would meet my current needs, so if you have a suggestion would you be good enough to also tell me where I can get it? (e.g., maybe it’s in Tina’s DLC and it would be pointless for me to farm the loot train for it.)


Zer0’s other 3 legendary COMs (Ninja, Killer, Sniper) can all be found by killing Tubby enemies at level 61+. Arid Nexus - Badlands and Bug Gulch behind Ellie’s in the Dust are both great places for Tubby farming. You can use the Creature Slaughter Dome for this as well!


So I finished my UVHM playthrough, and as I told Nat elsewhere, it proved inadequate in the last stretch of the game when things get very loader heavy and “mobby.”

Simply put, I got wrecked from Sawtooth Cauldron to Hero’s Pass.

The problem is a combination of not being able to do enough damage with either guns or melee and not being able to slag fast enough. I have a feeling that’s because I’m not min-maxing but rather “splitting the difference” and trying to have it both ways, resulting in subpar performance on both the gun and the melee side of the ledger.

On the plus side, I did finish the game, and much of it was a breeze. But when the rubber hit the road it underperformed - or, I should say, I did, but I wasn’t helped by my build.

Consequently, I want to try out a more full-blooded melee build, using a Grounded Hide, Chain Lightning, whatever.

Can you recommend me a nice melee build to start with (level 80)?

If it’s not too much trouble, I’d also like to ask where you’d recommend I put the points left over from the strictly melee relevant stuff, since I’ll have to pick wisely to get the most out of guns whenever I’m forced to shoot.