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Starfield Melee (Ronin) Build: Best Skills, Backgrounds and Traits

Craig Robinson

Melee in Starfield is getting an upgrade over its counterparts in Fallout 4. Players can get a solid mixture of weapons and skill buffs to melee, on top of the usual gear and other accessories to assist with their playstyle. If you fancy a try at a melee build, then here’s a closer look at a Starfield melee Build, featuring the recommended backgrounds, skills, and traits to use.

Best Starfield Melee Build (Ronin build)

Here is how to build your Starfield Melee Build, using the right skills, traits, and backgrounds to make the most out of it. Image via Bethesda

When creating your character, you’re going to want to look at the following:

  • Background: Ronin
  • Traits (all optional) Wanted, Origin, then anything else of your preference

Build-wise, Ronin is likely the best background for a Starfield melee build. The reason for it is because of the skill it gives you. You start off with Stealth, Scavenging, and Dueling. Dueling is your big-ticket skill, as it allows melee weapons to do 25% more damage, and you take 10% less damage while wielding a melee weapon. That is very strong for a level 1 skill. You also get Stealth, granting a stealth meter, which makes you harder to detect while sneaking, and you do 5% more damage when doing sneak attacks. Scavenging is a nice bonus to use from the start too, but it’s a bonus rather than needed. Other backgrounds are good too, but they are more for Unnarmed Starfield Builds.

As for your traits, none of them are necessary. Wanted is very good for the role-play background of having mercenaries descend on you. As a Ronin, it seems fitting. Not to mention you get a damage boost when you have low health during these moments to give you a better cinematic feeling and improve your build if you can handle the extra challenge. Any other trait you pick would largely be a campaign-related opinion, such as taking one of the origins of your character like New Atlantis options, Neon City, etc, or any other family or lifestyle background.

Starfield Ronin Melee Build: Best Skills

You can stagger enemies with specific attacks, knock down features or CC inflicting grenades and drugs to make closing the gap with melee weapons easier. Image via Bethesda.

The build from here requires a few skills, which are scattered around the Physical and combat skill trees. You can see the Combat Skills you need below, with the physical skills further down the build. We then give you the recommended Starfield melee build leveling order at the end of the guide.

  • Dueling: Upgrade the Dueling skill to rank 4, which grants 50% more damage and 15% less damage taken while holding a melee weapon. You also heal for 10% of your health when you kill an enemy with a melee attack.
  • Demolitions: On the second combat row, take demolitions and upgrade to rank 4 for better grenade explosion radius and get an arc trajectory for your grenades. This can help with your ranged enemies harassing you or for CC grenade explosions to make melee combat easier.
  • Take any skill in the third row of combat, as these will likely help your secondary weapon, rather than your melee weapon of choice.
  • Armor Penetration: This is your fourth skill of choice in combat for its armor shredding on all targets.

As for your Physical skills for the Starfield melee build, you want:

  • Wellness: Increase your max HP by 40% at rank 4. Needed for the healing synergy from the Dueling skill, and because going up close in hectic fights will make you much more able to survive.
  • Gymnastics: Get Combat slide, and you take less fall damage if you need to pounce on opponents. You also get better mantling for various stealth options, and better jump height and run speed if you really want that ninja and samurai stealthy playstyle.
  • Martial Arts: Grants 15% crit chance with melee weapons, 15% chance to disarm an opponent, takes 10% less damage while using melee weapons, and reflects 50% of damage back to attackers when blocking.
  • Concealment: Grants 10x melee sneak damage, ability to run while sneaking, Chameleon-like ability when standing still and stealthed (good synergy with Gymnast mantling), and engaging stealth causes ranged enemies to drop aggro on you at rank 4.

While leveling your Starfield melee build, we recommend taking the skills in this order:

  1. Dueling: Max - it’s you most useful damage multiplier early on.
  2. Demolitions: One point
  3. Wellness: Max
  4. Gymnastics: Max
  5. Martial Arts: Max
  6. Concealment: Max - Your next major damage multiplier, hence the need to get it earlier.
  7. Demolition: Max - Extra explosion radius for your freeze grenades is very handy when things start going wrong against a lot of enemies.
  8. Any third row combat skill: Max - Likely go Ballistics in case you synergize silenced weapons with your Stealth perk, but that’s more personal to you.
  9. Armor Piercing: Max - A nice modifier to do more damage, but other skills are more important than this.

Following this build will require at least 32 levels to complete it. You can then use your following levels to upgrade Stealth further for better sneaking only. You don’t get use out of the suppressed weapons in this build, unless you opt to take a silenced ranged weapon as your side arm for a more stealth themed build. You can then also look for other skills like Security in Tech. Feel free to dip at least one level in Security if you want to hack doors and terminals earlier on. You can even grab Medicine if you need it, especially if you are on harder difficulties, but Martial Arts, Wellness, and Dueling should be more than enough survivability.

As for any remaining skill levels, feel free to dip them into Science, Tech, or any other activity you find yourself doing in New Game + or as you explore more side content and take skills more appropriate.

This concludes the Starfield Melee Ronin Build. Have fun being the Cyberpunk space samurai ninja theme and slaying your enemies!

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Guide Information

  • Platforms,
    PC, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Action Adventure, Action RPG, Shooter
  • Guide Release
    30 August 2023
  • Last Updated
    30 September 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Starfield is an action role-playing game from Bethesda Game Studios set in a futuristic interpretation of space exploration and colonization. Earth has long been abandoned, but there are plenty of other planets in different star systems where humans have ventured and settled. You have the freedom to create your own character with a unique background, but the main story will take you through a series of adventures as you uncover more information about mysterious artifacts which create gravitational anomalies. Along the way, you can build and customize your own space ship, establish your own outpost, befriend and romance new companions, and more. As a Bethesda game, you can also expect to see a lot of creative mods which have the potential to change your experience of the base game, or take it in an entirely new direction.

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