Best Starfield Build: Melee

Discover the best Melee Build in Starfield and how to create a powerful character with recommended skills, background, traits, weapons, and armor.

Best Starfield Build Melee

This build was updated for game version Starfield Update 1.11.33 – May 2024.

Melee Build Introduction in Starfield

Melee builds are a classic choice for players who want to get up close and personal with their enemies. In Starfield, melee builds are even more viable than ever, thanks to the new combat system and the variety of available powerful melee weapons. This build excels at melee aggression without modifying weapons or worrying about ammunition. Once you have enough skill points invested, you will be very survivable.

Additionally, this build requires melee weapons and is not an unarmed build. Thus, you will wield swords and knives, attacking from stealth and in the open with blazing speed. Pick up the melee build to feel like a Starfield space, Samurai!

Melee Build ProsMelee Build Cons
High damageGear Dependent
Quick mobilitySkill Point Dense
Requires Positioning KnowledgeGear Dependent

Features and Mechanics for Best Melee Build in Starfield

The Best Starfield Melee Build Guide

The following list presents all the essential Melee Build Mechanics and Features in Starfield:

  • Damage: Melee
  • Range: 5 meters
  • Weapon: Sword
  • Best Skills: Martial Arts, Concealment, Dueling
  • Starborn Power: Grav Dash
  • Background: Ronin
  • Traits: Alien DNA, Extrovert
  • Companion: Vasco

Does Melee Weapons Work in Starfield

Melee weapons in Starfield have three mechanics: basic attack, power attack, and blocking. A basic attack is the same button as your trigger, while blocking is your aim button. You can perform a power attack by pressing your melee attack button. This will do more damage but also has a longer animation. This is best to use when you can expect no damage incoming for 2 seconds. You can also use knives and other melee weapons with stealth for an instant kill if undetected.


Starfield Ronin Background

The best Background for a melee build is Ronin. The Ronin background in Starfield gives you Dueling, Stealth, and Scavenging skills at level 1. Here’s of the Ronin Background skills in Starfield:

  • Dueling: Melee weapons do 25% more damage. Take 10% less damage while wielding a melee weapon.
  • Stealth: Adds a Stealth Meter. You are 25% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 5% sneak attack damage.
  • Scavenging: There’s a chance you’ll find extra credits when searching containers.

Ronin – Masterless and unbound, you wandered the Settled Systems as a blade for hire. To some, you were a simple mercenary. To others, a hero. And to a select few… a nightmare they could never wake from.


The best traits for a Melee build in Starfield are Alien DNA and Extrovert because they increase your Oxygen capacity. Oxygen is vital to a successful melee build because most of your speed comes from sprinting. Here are the best traits for a melee build in Starfield:

  • Alien DNA: You volunteered for a controversial experiment that combines alien and human DNA. As a result, you start with increased health and oxygen, but healing and food items aren’t as effective.
  • Extrovert: You’re a people person. Exerting yourself uses less oxygen when adventuring with human companions, but more when adventuring alone.

Traits are optional customization options in Character Creation. Players can select up to three attributes from a comprehensive list of traits to further shape their protagonists. The May 2024 update allows players to change their traits on a New Game + (Unity). Thus, you can change them both in the game and in a new game, which keeps your progress but starts the universe over.


Starfield Martial Arts Skill

Martial Arts, Concealment, and Dueling are the best skills for a Melee build in Starfield. Martial Arts increase damage and reduce damage taken when wielding a melee weapon. Concealment increases your stealth damage multiplier, allowing for one-shot damage potential. Dueling is a passive way to increase damage through melee weapons. Reminder, this is a melee build, not unarmed build, thus you need to equip a melee weapon to optimimze damage.

You should try to rank up skills by completing their requirements. For example, Boost Pack Training hits Boost Pack constantly in combat to level it up very quickly. Leave one enemy alive, continually boost the pack as you have fuel, and you can complete the progression in one encounter.

Level Progression

The overall goal of the Melee build in Starfield is to access Dueling from combat and Martial Arts from the Physical skill tree. Both will increase damage, and you also want to spend points on Science for weapon and armor crafting and upgrades. Tech is good if you plan on doing spaceship combat, exploring, and boost pack training. However, spend the majority of your skills in Physical and Combat for the most damage possible.

Starfield leveling progression system gives you three skills at level one via your background, then one skill per level without a level cap. You will need several skill points in each tree to move to the next level and pick higher-tier skills. Unlike other Bethesda games, Starfield requires you to use or complete specific objectives with your skills to take a higher rank. For instance, in Boost Pack Training, hit Boost Pack constantly in combat to level it up very quickly. Leave one enemy alive, continually boost the pack as you have fuel, and you can complete the progression in one encounter. This is why we jump from tree to tree, giving you time to level up your skill ranks. Come back or take another skill in the progression if you haven’t reached the level.

Levels 1 – 10

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 1 – 10 with the Melee Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 1: Dueling, Stealth, Scavenging
  • Level 2: Boost Pack Training
  • Level 3: Medicine
  • Level 4: Astrodynamics
  • Level 5: Fitness
  • Level 6: Wellness
  • Level 7: Stealth Rank 2
  • Level 8: Gymnastics
  • Level 9: Boost Pack Training Rank 2
  • Level 10: Dueling Rank 2

Levels 11 – 20

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 11 – 20 with the Melee Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 11: Medicine Rank 2
  • Level 12: Astrodynamics Rank 2
  • Level 13: Spacesuit Design
  • Level 14: Fitness Rank 2
  • Level 15: Wellness Rank 2
  • Level 16: Gymnastics Rank 2
  • Level 17: Martial Arts
  • Level 18: Boost Pack Training Rank 3
  • Level 19: Dueling rank 3
  • Level 20: Spacesuit Design Rank 2

Levels 21 – 30

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 21 – 30 with the Melee Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 21: Fitness Rank 3
  • Level 22: Wellness Rank 3
  • Level 23: Martial Arts Rank 2 (or Stealth)
  • Level 24: Concealment
  • Level 25: Boost Pack Training Rank 4
  • Level 26: Dueling Rank 4
  • Level 27: Gymnastics Rank 3
  • Level 28: Martial Arts Rank 3
  • Level 29: Concealment Rank 2
  • Level 30: Dueling Rank 4


Starfield Wakizashi Weapon
Wakizashi Melee Weapon
Starfield Combat Knife Weapon
Combat Knife Melee

The best weapon for Melee Build is the Wakizashi Melee Weapon because it has great damage and a wide radius. The secondary choice is the Combat Knife melee weapon using the Stealth skill in close range. Unlike guns or other weapons, you cannot modify these melee weapons. You also do not have ammunition, so it’s convenient when playing a high difficulty with very low ammunition.

It’s a good idea to always keep a shotgun (Shotty, Big Bang, Coachman) on you. Sometimes, melee is impossible. A ranged weapon like the AA-99 is also good if you need to shoot a decent 40m distance.

Here are the best weapon effects, perks, and traits for a melee weapon in Starfield:

  • Frenzy: Small chance to frenzy a target.
  • Instigating: Deals double damage to targets with full health.
  • Rapid: +25% increase in attack speed.

Weapons can have up to 8 modifications depending on the type. Each mod requires materials or resources and the Weapon Engineering skill from the Science skill tree. You will also have to research mod upgrades via a research station, and it can take some time to unlock the full potential of the gun and weapons. Weapons have four qualities: white, blue, purple, and legendary yellow. If a weapon is blue or greater in rarity, it comes with a perk or a trait. These add additional effects in addition to modifications.


The best armor for Melee Build is the Mantis Legendary Armor spacesuit, power pack, and helmet. The Mantis armor offers exceptional survivability and utility. The Reactive perk built in helps when enemies attack you back with a chance to stagger, making them vulnerable to attacks. The Mantis Armor can be found in a secret outpost at Denebola I-B. Here are the recommended armor perks and traits for a Melee build in Starfield:

  • Acrobat: -50% fall damage.
  • O2 Boosted: +20% oxygen capacity.
  • Reactive: 10% chance to stagger nearby attackers.

Armors are available in four distinct qualities: white, blue, purple, and the legendary yellow. If an armor piece holds the rarity of blue or higher, it boasts an accompanying perk or trait. These augmentations introduce supplementary effects alongside any modifications. For instance, the “Beast Hunter” perk reduces damage from Alien enemies by 15%. Inspect each blue or greater armor mod and see if the trait and perk align with your build.

Starborn Power

Starfield Grav Dash II Power
Starfield Gravity Dash Starborn Power

Grav Dash is the best Starborn power for Melee Build because it provides incredible movement. You want to be the fastest blur to dash up and destroy enemies. Two other powers are Reaction Shield for heavy incoming weapon fire and Anti-Gravity field, which renders targets vulnerable.

Starborn Powers are earned through the main story campaign. You will encounter artifacts early on and acquire more of them as you progress. Using Vlad, located in the eye, and the Constellation group, located at the Lodge, to find more. Spend time discovering and exploring Temples to progress this power.


Starfield Best Companion Vasco

The best companion for the Melee Build is Vasco because the robot can access three high-powered Starship skills that the Ronin Background lacks. Here’s a list of Vasco’s skills:

  • EM Weapon Systems: EM ship weapons have 10% increased damage and cost 15% less to use in Targeting Mode.
  • Shield Systems: Your ship has 40% increased shield capacity.
  • Aneutronic Fusion: Ship reactors produce 1 extra unit of power.

You can also play solo but require heavy skill investment into the Social skill tree. In the second skill level, you find isolation, which increases your damage and reduces damage when playing solo. This would be the ultimate goal later in the game, post-level 50, with abundant skill points.

Build Summary – Melee Best Build for Starfield

Background – Ronin

Traits – Alien DNA, Extrovert

Primary Weapon – Wakizashi

Secondary Weapon – Combat Knife

Armor – Mantis Legendary

Companion – Vasco

Starborn Power – Grav Dash


  • Martial Arts
  • Concealment
  • Dueling
  • Boost Pack Training
  • Stealth
  • Fitness
  • Wellness
  • Spacesuit Design
  • Gymnastics
  • Medicine

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