Hey everyone! This is not the guide I expected to be writing to go with the Winter Update, and truth be told, this isn’t as much a guide as it is an apocalypse emergency preparation manual.
But as I’ve said many times before, nothing will ever tear me away from Mellka, except possibly the super-magnetic forces of a black hole (and that would not be my fault, so forgive me, babe, if that ever happens.) So now, as you enter the Winter Update without your venom and with an apprehensive awareness that you may punch 30% harder, rest assured that I’ve got your back.
First, the changes:
[quote]Reduced the damage of Mellka’s Venom DoT by 56% (from 18/tick to 6/tick at level 1)
Increased the damage of Mellka’s secondary melee combo by 30% (from 41 to 53 at level 1)[/quote]
So this venom nerfs is on top of the reduction to duration it got back when it was 8 seconds, 12/tick, meaning that venom is now only 12 DPS, or 48 damage to its target over 4 seconds. A single grey syringe will cancel this out, so the days of venom kills are now over.
What’s that? Tears? No, that’s just dust. I never cry. I’m… I’m a badass… I’m… I’m moving along.
Her melee now does 30% more damage. My old, now hilariously obsoleted Mellka Guide put her alt melee at 40.56 damage a hit, with an attack speed of one swing every 0.47 seconds. In-game testing always suggested it was 96.96 DPS sustained, which is technically not easy unless they’re back in a corner, as the final hit of her combo applies knockback.
Now, if you get them in a corner, expect 126 DPS. For perspective, Caldarius’ alt melee is 127.15
The venom damage amp to melee is about 15% (slightly lower, it feels, but I’ll have reason to test this more in the coming days.) So in the four seconds of venom, you can expect 144.8 DPS. For perspective, Ghalt’s quick melee is 157.64 DPS, and his ranged DPS is 222 DPS. For a less cheeky comparison with other “assassins”, Rath’s melee DPS is 163, Deande’s is 190.
Now four seconds of damage amp is not a long time, and you can’t reapply venom through melee - only firing and reloading - so Mellka’s melee damage will be in practice always somewhere between the 126 and 144.8 range.
So, how do we apply these numbers to the faces of our enemies?
There’s still no reason not to take the vastly superior slow on Spike, with its AE effect and reliable interplay with Mellka’s engagement skill. This is all the more important now that you’re using the venom on Parting Gift as a prelude to melee damage. (For some reason.)
The standard choice, and more imperative than ever for the Melee Mellka build. Because canisters can no longer wave clear, you need the Parting Gift pool to do anything against waves. The damage of this helix is way down now, as it most of its damage came from the reapplication of venom ticks, but it does allow a convenient way to apply venom in melee-range. The fact it then bounces you out of melee range is not so ideal, but this is the opportune time for a flying scary monster bio-elbow!
Once again, the standard choice is now even more inflexible, as the nerf to venom makes Frag Canister absurdly underwhelming, and you still will need Air Stall to survive. The wide application of venom via FC is irrelevant, because Mellka has no AE aspect to her melee - she is now purely concerned with single target envenomation.
Blade Ejection or Action Reload
My standard recommendation still holds, despite it being a pretty pointless level all round. Keep in mind, Claw Lunge for melee is now even less viable than it used to be, because the decrease to Mell’s overall DPS through venom means she’ll be fighting targets longer. Because she’s taking more damage, she relies more than ever on having her trusty escape at hand.
Action Reload is less valuable for a melee Mellka than ever, but the ejection effect at the end of BE is frankly irritating and it doesn’t scale well. It also doesn’t receive the 15% melee venom amp. On the other hand, there’s a little combo coming up in five levels that this might be slightly useful for.
You didn’t think I was going to recommend Adrenaline Rhythm, did you? Even though you’re meleeing with this build, 7 health per second is nothing next to 300 extra max health, especially when the former is reduced by Wound. And there’s going to be some Wound around town right now, believe you me.
Once again, the standard choice is even more important. You need the extra radius on Spike, because your wave clear is now drastically reduced, so the larger Parting Gift pool and Spike impact is important to remotely keep up. It also helps that Desperate Lunge is even less relevant now that the gap between your melee elbow and Lunge has been closed, and half cooldown return on Lunge still won’t get you out of trouble if you burn it before you escape.
Second Wind (for melee fiends)
Power Spike (for wave clear)
Check it out! Check it out! A viable new helix! Well, viable in the sense that everything is wrong and it’s all on fire. Power Spike is still better, because the boost to Parting Gift and Spike is valuable for wave clear, but for this melee Mellka build, I am tentatively proposing Second Wind as an alternative.
Now, let me stress: the cooldown reduction on this ability is very unimpressive, and it kicks in only when you’re already basically dead. But as a Melee Mellka, death is something you need to finally face up to, so you may as well try to get an extra Spike now and then. Getting an emergency Spike just as you’re about to die may be enough for you to escape and air stall to live another day, especially with the slow.
Thrill of the Hunt or Refined Canisters
Refined Canisters is dead as a damage source, but it’s still going to a super convenient way to get that venom on them and initiate the melee damage amp. It’s also still good for shutting down shields, however briefly, and applying the effect of Bola’s (which you will not be taking as a Melee Mellka build.)
Thrill of the Hunt will give you +30% movement speed for 5 seconds when you venom a target. Mellka’s slow sprint in general means this takes her up to Rath speeds, rather than making her actually speedy, but it’s going to be helpful for sticking to enemies as you claw them, and, let’s face it, running away. You will probably be doing a lot of this.
The Potent Toxins helix, while on paper useful for giving you an 8 second window for melee, remains inferior to Refined Canisters as the latter allows you to reapply venom easily and thus string out its duration for as long as you please.
This is going to be slightly tricky to use, because you have to Lunge first to get the buff, and that means you’ve got no escape (that’s where Second Wind and Air Stall come in, hopefully allowing you to buy time.) This opens up the possibility of initiating with Lunge, Spiking, meleeing during the window of the attack speed buff, then using your newly-refreshed Spike followed by an Air Stall to escape.
You may even do damage that your enemy will notice! Granted, at this stage in the game, the minion wave is doing more damage than you, but the point is - check out that cool green particle fx on your hand.
All In is still broken (no benefit for the combined shot and added delay.) Pool Shot is drastically nerfed after the venom hit. Blade Launcher remains your best damage source, so Bladestorm it is. The catch: it’s not nearly as awesome without Refined Canisters. Use it to create bizarre bouncing Blade Launcher finishes on targets as you run away from them.
Final helix breakdown:
- Hobbling Spike
- Parting Gift
- Air Stall
- Blade Ejection or Action Reload
- Eldrid Rhythm
- Spike Burst
- Second Wind (or Power Spike for wave clear)
- Thrill of the Hunt (or Refined Canisters for utility)
- Feral Strikes
You’re going to need survivability gear. Lots of it.
I’m less sanguine about this vest on Melee Mellka, because chances are, you’ll be dying a bit now. But it’s still a dramatic increase to her health pool - enough to put you just slightly below par with the majority of other melee characters. Then Eldrid Rhythm will help you stack up to be roughly on par. Isn’t playing catch-up fun!
In theory, I want to recommend the Symbiotic Gauntlet, because I have a feeling that it might multiplty with the venom amp to nice effect. In practice, you aren’t going to keep your health at full, because you’re a melee character with no shield and no stun. This is the next best thing: cheap cost, max health, and some attack damage to help make the most of your venom % multiplier, meager though it may be.
Final slot is more open-ended. Consider:
Plus: Improved attack speed, combines nicely with Feral Strikes, gives you the health you need.
Downside: Attack speed means you get to that annoying knockback hit of your combo sooner.
You used Lunge to engage, you Spiked to apply slow and venom, you Blade Launcher’d to get the kill, and now you’re in an awkward in-between state with no escape skills and people trying to kill you. Try this on for size! The catch is, Mell’s sprint multiplier is awful, and I don’t actually know if this affects her slide. I’ll need to test it.
You probably just want to skip this in favor of more health though. I’m just trying to be creative here. These are strange days.
First, this will completely counteract any enemy Mellka’s venom and then some, so you’ll be safe from that insidious and lethal DOT.
Second, it’s just nice to have a way to survive longer and need to be healed less, and this is an excellent regen item. Regen is however less useful than health stacking now that you’re a melee character, because you don’t get to flit about firing venom people at any more - you stand your ground, and they hit you, and they’re hitting you way harder than this things heals (although not so much vice versa; I’m sorry about that.)
Build lots of turrets and minions. Stay away from battle altogether. This is the ultimate synergistic Melee Mellka choice. Your claw is your tool, and you will use it to hammer together accelerators.
The Melee Mellka Playstyle
Initiate with your canister. Lunge (if they’re not liable to murder you immediately) or slide in to engage. Spike. Claw your target until you can taste your own blood, or, ideally, they have clean run out of theirs. Spike again (if available), Lunge out (if possible), or Air Stall (to buy time.) If ever in doubt, bunny hop like it’s 18 January again.
Do you have Blade Launcher yet? If so, kill them with it. This thing still works, at least.
Initiate with your canister. Shed a few tears. Run in. Spike. Melee as much as you can until the venom amp is gone. Run away. RUN AWAY SO FAST.
Coping With the Loss:
I don’t know. You tell me.
Thanks for reading this preliminary guide! More to come when the patch actually arrives and I get to try this for myself. I’m so excited. This is a smile, not a grimace, I swear. Big wide smile.
@dante_d_silva - if this guide helps you survive out there even a little bit, you owe me some serious Mellka lore wish-fulfillment. Go on, make her say my name. You know you want to!