Starfield: Best Melee Weapons – Tier List

Become the ultimate close-quarters combatant in Starfield by mastering the unforgiving universe with the Best Melee Weapons – Tier List guide.

The Best Starfield Melee Build Guide

In Starfield, Melee Weapons are a type of weapon that doesn’t use ammunition to deliver damage at close range.  There are two types of melee attacks: light attacks and heavy attacks. Light attacks are faster and weaker, while heavy attacks are slower and stronger. You can also use a power attack, a special attack that deals more damage but consumes more oxygen. The ease, availability, and simplicity are what make these weapons a great choice in Starfield.

The Best Melee Weapons Weapons in Starfield – Tier List

The Va’ruun Painblade is the best melee weapon in Starfield because it has the highest physical damage stats in the game. It deals 62 physical damage, which is more than any other melee weapon. You can amplify the damage of this weapon further with skill perks in the Physical and Combat skill tree, making it compete with the best weapons in Starfield.

Here are the best Melee Weapons tier list in Starfield:

Combat Knife

Starfield Combat Knife Weapon

Combat Knife features in Starfield:

  • Damage: 16
  • Type: Physical
  • Mass: .36
  • Value: 505

The Combat Knife is a basic melee weapon that is available early in the game. It is a good choice for players who want to start out with a versatile weapon that can be used against all enemies. The Combat Knife is also a good choice for players who are looking for a lightweight weapon that is easy to carry around.

This weapon plays like a dagger and is best used stealthily for sneaking kills in close range.  You want to equip this weapon when sneaking around in buildings in the early part of the game.  The downside of this weapon is its damage is very weak, but it makes a great initial melee weapon that helps in close-quarters engagements.

UC Naval Cutlass

Starfield UC Naval Cutlass Melee

UC Naval Cutlass features in Starfield:

  • Damage: 25
  • Type: Physical
  • Mass: 1.4
  • Value: 935

The UC Naval Cutlass is a mid-tier melee weapon that is available in the early to mid-game. It is a good choice for players who want a powerful melee weapon that can deal a lot of damage.  The UC Naval Cutlass is a better weapon in aggressive non-stealth fights where damage is critical.  This weapon is best used once detected and to use the power attack option for heavy damage.

The UC Naval Cutlass damage fades quickly beyond level 15 and will be outpaced by other weapons on this list.  However, for under 1,000 credits, you can pick up a great weapon for your early-game melee build.


Starfield Tanto Weapon

Tanto features in Starfield:

  • Damage: 50
  • Type: Physical
  • Mass: .45
  • Value: 3075

The Tanto melee weapon is a lightweight physical damage weapon. This weapon is in between a full-length sword and a dagger, and the swing pattern is quick.  With the Tanto, you can get double the damage of the UC Naval Cutlass, and it’s a big upgrade for players in later levels in Starfield. This weapon is also lighter, which helps when carrying resources and other weapons.

The damage and speed are what hold the weapon back from being higher on the list, but it should be a target for you to pick up as you progress in levels with your melee build.


Starfield Wakizashi Weapon

Wakizashi features in Starfield:

  • Damage: 49
  • Type: Physical
  • Mass: 1.35
  • Value: 6140

The Wakizashi is one of our favorite weapons due to its damage and power attack jab. This weapon feels like wielding a Ninja Katana, with great damage and a wide arc, making it very strong. The strength of the weapon in comparison to the Tanto is its wide, longer arc and quick stabs. The power attack is ruthless and can destroy enemies in one hit.

The only thing holding this weapon back is lower damage than the Painblade. You can use this for most of the game and look to advance your Combat and Physical skill tree with perks like Dueling and Martial Arts.

Va’ruun Painblade

Starfield Va'Ruun Painblade Melee Weapon

Va’ruun Painblade features in Starfield:

  • Damage: 62
  • Type: Physical
  • Mass: 1.8
  • Value: 11260

The Va’ruun Painblade is a high-end melee weapon that is available in the late game.  The Va’ruun Painblade has the highest base damage of any Starfield melee weapon, making it the strongest. Using the weapon is reminiscent of the bat’leth from Star Trek lore. The Painblade isn’t a full-length sword like the Wakizashi and feels like an upgraded Tanto.

The strength of the weapon is obviously the damage, but also, it’s short quick stabs and power attack.  You can land precise hits, doing devastating damage, especially as you level up your skills.  Unlike guns, all these melee weapons cannot be modified and rely on skills for increased damage.  But with no ammunition and little aiming required, Va’ruun Painblade gives you the most damage and kill potential.

Why Use Melee Weapons in Starfield

Melee weapons are a fun close-range weapon to use in Starfield that can do big damage with the right build.  The benefit of using melee weapons is no ammunition required. This is very helpful on high difficulty where ammunition is scarce, especially early in the game. You also can do great damage without the need to be an expert in aiming, which can be trouble for some gamers.  Lastly, the weapons are just satisfying, different, and fun, making them a great choice for a melee build for Starfield.

Here are the Pros and Cons of using the Melee Weapons in Starfield:

Melee ProsMelee Cons
No AmmunitionNo Range
Good DamageRequires Advanced Skills
Easy to FindCannot Modify

Skills That Influence Melee Weapons

The benefit of melee weapons in Starfield is the simple damage with limited aiming and zero ammunition required. Unlike other guns and weapons, melee weapons cannot be modified for further enhancement. This makes skill points and perks even more vital to crafting a powerful melee build.

The obvious choices are in the physical and combat tree.  You can also specialize in stealth melee kills with Stealth and Concealment, but Martial Arts and Dueling are your primary skills for optimal damage. 

Below is a list of all the skills that increase your Melee Weapon damage in Starfield:

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