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Melee is the act of physically striking an opponent, either with fists or with a basic striking weapon such as a club or a blade.


Damage calculation[]

[final melee damage] = [base unmodified melee damage] * (1 + [MOD Bonus] + [Talent Bonus]) * (1 + [Equipment Bonus])

Melee by players[]

Each class comes with his or her own distinctive melee attack, though the attacks all have the same speed and inflict the same base damage.

Brick lead pipe (or fists, while Berserk)
Lilith psychokinetic palm strike
Mordecai sword
Roland combat knife

While there are no melee-only weapons for players, certain weapons (such as those with attached spikes or blades) can augment a character's melee damage. In some cases, use of these weapons will slow attack speed.

In addition, certain character skills can augment melee damage, add an elemental effect, or daze a struck enemy.

Weapon effects[]

Certain weapons when wielded will augment the damage of melee strikes. While attacking, the usual character melee animation changes to a slash with a weapon's affixed blade or a strike with a spiked buttstock. In some cases, this animation has a longer recovery time between strikes, slowing attacks.

In addition, any bladed weapon with a critical hit damage bonus will deliver that same bonus to criticals inflicted in melee. This applies both to critical bonuses noted on the gun card as well as hidden bonuses intrinsic to weapon classes. In particular, the blade on any revolver will deliver an additional +100% damage bonus to critical hits.

Unlike most damage bonuses, damage bonuses from most weapon accessories are multiplicative. Any hit with a Jagged shotgun will inflict two and a half times as much damage as an equivalent hit without that shotgun in hand. This multiplication takes place after critical hits, skill, and class mod bonuses are applied. As an exception to this rule, the melee damage bonus of a Spiked assault shotgun is added alongside other bonuses, rather than multiplied into the final total, making Spiked shotguns considerably less effective at augmenting those other melee bonuses.

Character skills[]

The following skills will increase melee damage or daze foes struck in melee.


Proficiency does not apply to melee attacks. Any experience gained by a melee kill is applied to the class of the weapon currently wielded, whether that weapon had a blade or not.

Melee by enemies[]

The majority of Pandora's indigenous beasts-- skags, rakk, scythids, spiderants-- attack using melee strikes. By contrast, most of the intelligent enemies found in the game prefer to use ranged weapons. There are exceptions - some intelligent enemies nevertheless prefer melee, and a few have no ranged attack at all.

Common enemies[]

  • Psychos use buzz axes in melee for their primary attack. Badass psychos very rarely use the same kind of ranged attack as their regular counterparts when they cannot reach their opponent.
  • Bruisers will attack with their fists if approached within melee range, though they prefer ranged combat.
  • Various non-flying guardians attack with an energy blade. Arch Guardians only enter into melee when approached, while the other land-based Guardians will rush in to melee range.
  • Lance Defenders and Hyperion Guards will swing their shields at an enemy if approached within melee range, though they prefer ranged combat.
  • Lance Assassins attack with a pair of glowing red plasma swords.
  • Bangers in Lockdown Palace use crude clubs fashioned from metal plumbing. They have no ranged attacks.
  • Stabby Claptraps wield a pair of mallets, knives, or simply boxing gloves over their clamps. They have no ranged attacks.

Human bosses[]

A few of the human bosses primarily use melee attacks.

As do some formerly-human bosses:

Many bosses who prefer ranged attacks will still melee opponents who engage them too closely. For example, Nine-Toes will lash out with the blade on The Clipper, while Reaver when pressed has a knockback strike with his sniper rifle.


Melee can cancel recoil and reload animations. Melee animation time replaces recoil animation time, allowing for artificially increased fire rates on slower-firing weapons.

Borderlands 2[]

Damage calculation[]

In Borderlands 2, the attack damage calculation uses a different formula, but all Vault Hunters have the same damage output. The exception to this however is Krieg, who has a different attack damage scaling than all the other Vault Hunters.

Axton tomahawk
Maya psychokinetic punch
Zer0 digistruct sword
Salvador fists with brass knuckles
Gaige hammer (or digistruct claws when activated With Claws)
Krieg buzz axe
Normal Formula:(20*1.13Level+Roid Damage)*(1+Melee Boost)*(1-DamageResist)
Kriegs Formula:
(20*1.13Level*0.8*(1+0.02*Level)+Roid Damage)*(1+Melee Boost)*(1-Damage Resist)

The Level in 1.13Level does scale with OP levels so on OP8 its 80 the Level in 0.02*Level does not scale with OP levels so its max 72

Melee Related Skills[]

Note that Salvador's Fistful of Hurt and Zer0's Killing Bl0w skills will scale this final value, after all bonuses are applied. Fistful of Hurt quadruples the value, while Killing Bl0w will scale it by the number of ranks in the skill.

Critical hits inflict double melee damage after all other bonuses are applied. Critical hit bonuses (whether from character skills, Badass points, or wielded weapons) do not further increase melee damage.

Weapons and Items[]

Percentage modifiers to melee damage can come from weapons, class modsskillsBadass Rank, and relics (including Strength Relics). Most percentage modifiers are added together into a single multiplier for the base damage. As an exception, skill and weapon modifiers multiply together: a character with a +20% bonus from a skill and a +50% bonus from a bladed weapon will receive a +80% total bonus (1.2 × 1.5). 

When Krieg activated Buzz Axe Rampage or Release the Beast, he will take out a buzz axe as his melee and throwing weapon while holstering his firearms (and negating all their bonus effects.)

Aside from Launchers, any type of weapon that has green or higher rarity can spawn with a bayonet or blade accessory that grants 50% damage bonus. Launchers will sometimes spawn with a blade and is used in melee animation, adding the usual +50% damage but not listing so on the item card, but only if the Launcher spawns with a Bandit-made Grip and they will never spawn with the standard Bayonet accessory. Law and Rapier will always spawn with a bayonet accessory and has higher melee bonus (100% and 200% respectively) than other weapons.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel![]

Damage calculation[]

Athena plasma sword
Wilhelm pistol whip or buttstroke (robotic punch when using Power Fist)
Nisha slow whip swing
Claptrap jab
Jack punch (double wrist laser when using Merger)
Aurelia slow slap (or quick backhanded slap with A Backhand to Remember)

Nisha's melee attack has a significantly longer range but less damage.

Aurelia's slap has a slightly slower animation than the others. A Backhand to Remember is normal speed.*

Melee Related Skills[]

  • Athena
    • Gun Kata
    • Clarity of Purpose
    • Rend
    • Blood Rush
  • Wilhelm
    • Power Fist
  • Nisha
    • Law
    • The Third Degree
    • Thunder Crackdown
  • Claptrap
    • Kick Him While He's Up
    • Rope-A-Derp
    • Float Like a Bee
  • Jack
    • Merger
  • Aurelia
    • A Backhand to Remember

Athena's Rend adds a unique damage over time onto her melee attacks.

Athena's Blood Rush, Wilhelm's Power Fist, Nisha's Thunder Crackdown, Claptrap's HIGH FIVES GUYS, Jack's Merger and Aurelia's A Backhand to Remember are melee overrides with cooldowns.

Aurelia's A Backhand to Remember does cryo damage, Nisha's Thunder Crackdown and Jack's Merger does shock damage, and Wilhelm's Power Fist does explosive damage.

Athena's Gun Kata only applies after she has shot an enemy.

Borderlands 3[]

Damage calculation[]

Melee damage is calculated thus:

MeleeDMG = 18 x 1.09level x (100% + additive modifiers) x (multiplicative modifiers)

MeleeDPS = 13.5 x 1.09Level
  • Melee attacks do not inflict critical damage.
  • Damage scale per level grows exponentially, 18 (base damage) x 1.09Level 1, 18 x (1.092 Level 2, 1.0972 Level 72).
  • Most melee damage bonuses such as from weapons, roid shields, class mods and most skills are additive.
  • Multiplicative modifiers include elemental damage modifiers and the 3x melee damage bonus against frozen targets.
    • Amara's Blitz skill contains both additive and multiplicative modifiers which have to be inserted in the above formula separately.


  • The cooldown of a melee attack is 1.333... second. No skill or gear can decrease melee cooldown except Amara´s skill Find Your Center, which doubles attack speed.
  • Melee can cancel some animations like reloading, COV cooldown or engine start.
  • The first melee attack on an enemy will "stun" it. Enemies can be stunned again after a certain cooldown.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands[]

In addition to the usual gun slots, this game introduces Melee Weapons with a separate equipment slot. These melee weapons also have various modifiers to change damage, attack speed, critical hit chance, and even give special effects.