First of all I would like to thank Shadowreeper1337 for enlightening me about the power of the White Elephant Artifact and being kind enough to trade me one. (Shoutout to DP_Unkempharold for making me question my previous relic setup) Please credit me and and Shadowreeper1337 and include a link to the guide if you use this build anywhere else.
The build is centered around the increased importance of phaseslam once a player reaches a full set of anointed items for melee Amara in combination with the White Elephant Artifact, the Facepuncher and the Unforgiven for INSANE damage and survivability. Due to this, it requires god-tier items in order to be effective.
Description: While phaseslam is a relatively weak ability at early levels, with a full anointed set and the right talents it effectively becomes a +300 weapon damage for 8 seconds, + 200 melee damage for 8 seconds, +40% damage reduction for 15 seconds, + 38% accuracy/ 27% crit damage for 12 seconds with 30% lifesteal ability which does massive damage and allows you to leapfrog around the battlefield, effectively making it the best action skill in the game for melee amara.
To take full advantage of the tankiness and damage bursts, your main weapon will be a Redundant Face-Puncher which benefits from both the melee and gun damage anointed bonuses. Paired with a 75% lifesteal on the White Elephant relic and all our damage reduction, our enemies will be staring at a 20K+ effective health pool which regenerates instantly while dealing massive damage. Put simply, you hold a hand cannon which fully heals you on almost every shot and allows you to complete mayhem 3 Circles of Slaughter efficiently as melee Amara.
On top of this the White Elephant relic will give us insane damage potential after phase slam with which you can literally melt any boss and insta-heal through the toughest fights. This is because the 14 shots from our facepuncher will each have a 30% chance to spawn a random element sticky that scales with your melee / splash / aoe (not from grenade damage) and will also be able to crit, this crit damage can be boosted by the unforgiven and transcend after you empty a magazine on a crit spot. Furthermore, if you can manage to hit a crit spot in melee with the unforgiven after phaseslamming with your shield depleted and spawning a sticky off it, it will do from 2 to 6 million damage+ (with positive mayhem modifiers vs a frozen you can hit much more, 18 Million+). This can do so much damage that it will skip Troy’s immune phase, he will instantly die.
While I won’t explain each talent separately, I’ll focus on where the build differs from other melee builds.
5/5 in root to rise and 0/5 in clarity: What we are aiming for is effective health, which means how many hits you can take consecutively without healing before you die. In mayhem 3 badass enemies will do so much damage that a few percentage of hp a second won’t save you, but having a larger health pool might allow you to survive 2 consecutive hits without going into to ffyl. With this setup you are both the tank and the healer, since your melee hits and facepuncher will be doing all the work and can fully heal you in 1 shot, Clarity becomes useless. Having a larger health pool stacks really well with damage reduction and ensures that you take full advantage of the massive heal bursts without overhealing. Finally, our Brawlerward shield and Samsara benefit from the 40% extra hp and together already give enough hp per second to survive most dots.
1/3 Personal Space - While the talent does not boost our facepuncher damage, it’s a massive multiplicative bonus and works really well with our Moar Linoge and Unforgiven (which can headshot for 800k+). You can opt for 3/3 if you find yourself shooting often with those weapons.
3/3 samsara 5/5 helping hands
0/3 Mindfulness - Mindfulness is completely counterproductive to a melee build. This is because it makes your shield recharge delay much faster when you are in the middle of a fight, meaning that you will lose the 300% melee damage and 25% gun damage from the Brawlerward, while not taking advantage of the double hp regen massive melee heals. While the movement speed could be good, it is extremely inconsistent and mostly helps throw off your strafing shots and melee, also, we won’t need to be too close to heal or do damage, thanks to the reach of the facepuncher. Mindfulness can be good if you use a level 1 Brawler Ward since it will be easy to strip instantly and will go down the moment you take damage from anything.
5/5 Arms Deal - Splash damage will work extremely well with our White Elephant Artifact, boosting the damage of the stickies which will be our major source of dps. Also gives a nice dmg reduction vs splash damage, making rocket launcher zealots less of a threat (You should still prioritize them)
1/1 Find your center
3/5 Jab Cross - A decent additive boost to our gun damage (including the facepuncher), and a large increase to phaseslam damage. Overall a meh talent so I could see these points going into One with Nature if you want to be even more tanky or Personal Space.
1/1 Do Unto Other 1/1 Guardian Angel 1/1 Blitz
Fist of Elements:
5/5 Infusion - Will convert your facepuncher damage to elemental allowing you to optimize it according to the enemy type, this damage will also be boosted by tempest.
A good alternative is 3/3 steady hands 2/5 infusion as this will tighten your spread and make hitting crits at range with the facepuncher much easier.
5/5 tempest 1/1 Illuminated fist, pretty self explanatory. Melee hits are converted to elemental damage and we do more elemental damage. These damage increases are also multiplicative which makes them extremely good.
While the rest of the fist of elements tree is good with an unleash the dragon relic build, I find these types of builds to be good vs general mobbing and Trials, but lack the healing to make reliably it in a Mayhem 3 circle of slaughter, mainly due to the fact that with Unleash the Dragon you cannot make use of the lifesteal on melee relics and, as a result, lack the constant healing potential to make it through a serious beating. Furthermore, the boss damage output is nowhere near this setup. Lastly, when you will be facing fire immune targets or anointed enemies that are immune to DoTs, you will have a very sad time.
3/3 fast hands, 2/5 do Harm, 3/5 restless, 3/3 transcend.
3/3 fast hands ensures that you will be able to get the next facepuncher shot sooner after reloading which increases your dps and healing, especially if you are too far to melee your target. The weapon switch speed works wonders when switching to the unforgiven for the sticky damage.
2/5 Do Harm is mostly a filler but works well with Restless and Jab Cross.
3/3 Transcend - Will make your facepuncher shots much more accurate after you phaseslam so you can land those stickies on the crit spots and boosts your crit damage on those stickies. If you have difficulty hitting crits it might be best to ignore this since a bigger spread gives you a better chance to hit atleast some stickies. You can go 5/5 restless and put the remaining point anywhere you like (I suggest Jab Cross or One with Nature).
3/5 restless will allow us to have the phaseslam bonuses up more often which basically translates to + Melee damage +Gun Damage +damage reduction + mobility etc etc.
Soul Sap will be necessary since the animation of phaseslam is so long that you might find yourself at very low hp or dead at the end.
**Guardian Rank: While most of the Guardian ranks have a positive effect on melee Amara, you want to avoid the blue tree as much as possible. Avoid putting points in shield regen, capacity and delay, and if you put points in the rest make sure you avoid Shield reboot at all costs, it will completely gimp your damage after each kill since it will cause your shield to regen and you will lose your Brawler Ward bonuses. I suggest only putting points in Health increase but stopping 1 point before shield reboot. You can reset your Guardian ranks by deleting your profile.sav while offline and starting the game again but you will also lose golden keys, skins, guardian points and your bank.
Anointed FacePuncher, as explained above, benefits both from melee and gun damage. If you time your facepuncher shots a fraction of a second before your melee attacks, you are effectively able to double your melee hits since you will be splitting your cd on melee and facepuncher firerate between the 2. In game, this happens almost instantly and it feels as if you didn’t shoot at all, but you did. This can also be good to keep up blitz vs tougher enemies. While it works amazingly in combo with the unforgiven, it is more than capable of killing enemies alone in 1 shot after phaseslamming and outdpsing your melee. Aim for the head, while the facepuncher cannot crit, the stickies can. If you want an efficient way to kill tough enemies (2 health bar enemies+), shoot them 1-2 times in the head with the face puncher which should spawn a few crit stickies, switch to the unforgiven and melee them on the head/body as you wait for the stickies to explode. This will maximise your chances of killing them fast. You can also just move to another target if you see enough stickies on their crit spot. Usually if your face puncher shots brought them under 50% hp, the stickies should finish them off even without the unforgiven or any crits.
The Unforgiven will be the final piece of the puzzle vs badass and boss type enemies. Empty a Facepuncher magazine on the crit spot after depleting your shield (not completely necessary that you deplete your shield but it will help) and phaseslamming, switch to the unforgiven and watch their hp DISAPPEAR. You can also switch to the unforgiven anytime you see a sticky on a enemy’s crit spot and they’ll usually die, even if it’s just 1 facepuncher sticky. Don’t just sit there and watch while you wait for the sticky to explode, you can melee the same/other targets or shoot enemies in the head. This bad boy can shoot for 800K+ after phaseslam if you stack some overkill dmg from your guardian ranks. Also, hitting a crit spot in melee with the unforgiven and spawning a sticky will result in a 2 to 6 million damage sticky that will oneshot anything. With a +125% splash damage anointed Unforgiven, or other splash damage, aoe bonuses on our class mod and artifact that could go up even higher. (18 million+)
The buttplug can be really good to melee enemies that are hard to crit with the Unforgiven and still spawns a massive sticky. It does 110% melee damage, which appears to be partially multiplicative (Unlike cov 120% melee damage weapons), making this our best weapon for straight-up melee. Furthermore, melee damage is doubled when hitting your enemies on the back. (you don’t necessarily have to be behind them) Like all stickies, a crit can be boosted by the unforgiven. Also good at keeping Blitz up vs weak enemies.
The Moar Linoge offers a +120% melee bonus, but is usually weaker in melee than the buttplug or facepuncher/ instant melee combo for our build. However, unlike the buttplug, it can offer some really serious shooting power. I run mine in corrosive to have an option for armored enemies since they take less damage from explosions. Make sure you stop shooting and start punching before it overheats so it can have time to cooldown (basically an automatic reload).
The Hornet melts armored targets and comes with a decent 40% melee attachment, it deals splash damage which scales well with Arms Deal and other +aoe +splash bonuses on gear. Its accuracy migh make it a better option than the Moar Linoge if you want to shoot at range.
While the Flakker was severely nerfed, we can still make good use of it with our +splash damage + aoe and is particularly good at clearing groups of enemies.
The Cutsman also comes with 60% melee but usually requires you to be further back to let the projectiles expand meaning you lose some of the personal space bonus and can’t melee, can work great with the unforgiven but does much lower dps than the facepuncher/ unforgiven combo on single targets.
The Brawler Ward shield, already explained its benefits and why you don’t want to use Mindfulness because of them. Using a lower level shield (even lvl 1) would help with shield stripping as I have yet to find a good grenade to strip my shields with.
On anointment effects and stickies: Since I’m seeing a lot of people confused about the anointments I wanted to clarify a few things. 2 different anointments on a weapon and shield will stack (like 200 melee and 300 weapon damage) 2 of the same will not stack (like 2x200 melee or 2x300 weapon damage). While stickies are not boosted by weapon damage directly, weapon damage will increase your facepuncher damage which also means more sticky dmg (since they scale to the damage of each pellet). A 125% splash anointment is best for sticky damage in melee since weapon damage won’t have any impact in those situations. If you switch weapon at any point while the anointment is active, you will lose that weapon’s anointment, even if switching to the same anointment effect on another weapon. So use the weapon you want to be boosted before you phaseslam. While switching to the unforgiven will make you lose the bonus, the 430 crit boost on crit stickies is much more powerful.
Amazing at freezing enemies which boosts our melee damage by x3. A shock version can also be good at stripping shields. Great at killing flying targets / freezing them to make them easy kills.
If you pair a terror anointed facepuncher with a 25% to apply terror to yourself and a terror anointed grenade, all your guns will benefit from the anointed bonus while terrified and will not suffer any accuracy loss. The best anointment to go for would be the extra crit damage which reaches a huge 90% boost at full stacks. Even though the 50% cryo boost is a huge multiplicative bonus, it will not consistently get rid of the accuracy penalties from terror. the extra pellet anointment can also be great since it doubles all 14 of your facepuncher pellets when it procs (around 30% of the time on 3 stacks of terror) and appears to sometimes become bugged to proc all the time. While the 300 weapon damage and 200 melee damage anointments on the shield outclass any terror annointments, you can opt for another terror anointed weapon to use while your phaseslam is in cd (even a third facepuncher), note that 2 of the same anointments will not stack.
5/5 tempest Nimbus with the right stats would outdps, but this offers good utility and damage.
Knife Drain White Elephant
As explained earlier, with anointed phaseslam gear and unforgiven +splash damage the relic outdpses other relic options by far and gives us constant healing. A Godly Relic. You can also opt for one without Lifesteal for more dps but with the unforgiven this won’t be necessary. Some people prefer other lifesteal relics that straight up add melee damage like planetoid or static charge relics for general mobbing since these will keep blitz up much better, but you will be nowhere near the dps of the White Elephant against tougher enemies. Note that a cutpurse relic will allow you to regenerate all your ammo in 1 facepuncher shot if you ever run out.
While I have tried to explain what works for me in this guide, the best way to learn to use this build is to play it and see what works for your playstyle. Practice really matters a lot as you will need good aim to land the crits, good target priority, constant weapon swapping and an understanding of which weapons work best for each fight. Even though you will be semi immortal if you play it right and land your shots, don’t expect it to carry you, a misstep can mess you up easily. Give it time and you will get the hang of it, but most importantly, have fun!
Please credit me and and Shadowreeper1337 and include a link to the guide if you use this build anywhere else. Thanks!