OK. Let’s start. I am playing melee Zer0 and I really love it. Tried other classes, but melee Zer0 is the way I want to play. First of all, it requires good skills, reflexes, fast-moving and thinking, and fast combat action, which I love. There is a learning curve for melee Zer0, like shield management, Deception time management, healing outside of Deception, and the (most importantly) right gear. But the biggest learning curve is in co-op. Why? Well, because you can easily kill your partners. Infamous Love Thumper shield! But that’s not all. You can also take away their fun. So, let’s get to the guide..
Who Are You?
You are a ninja assassin. As one, you are mostly a lone wolf, predator seeking for targets and taking their life in a second. But wolves sometimes run in packs, and you have to know where are you needed, and where you are not. We consider here that you are playing with skilled/good players. So:
- Regular mobbing: you are not needed here. All classes even on OP8 can easily mob. It is the most fun time in BL2, when hordes of enemies are decimated. So let other players kill them and let them have fun. Skip the first lines of mobs, and move to mobs that are far away. Nobody likes when their targets are, in some miracle way, killed in seconds by an invisible ninja. Always take care of long-ranged mobs (on difficult terrain, since Execute lets you dash in any direction) and far-away lines. You have fun, and so do your partners.
- Badasses, ultimates, super duper, Goliaths, etc: here you are needed to finish them quickly. Let them slag/Phaselock them, wait till the last Deception seconds and kill them in two blows in their back or kill badasses who are on the throats of your teammates. You can do insane damage in a short time and kill them easily, so, with teamwork, you are shining, especially with Killing Blow.
- Bosses: With Grog Nozzle, the right grenade mod, you can tank many bosses like master and DPSing them with melee like a king. Also when bosses are about 30% HP, your Killing Blow with a Rapier is mostly the end of the fight. So try not to get too cocky and live long enough to use your finishing move!
- Support: Hell yes! And don’t forget: Deception gives you great ability to revive teammates and don’t forget about it. If they are dying from mobs, don’t try to show them how great you are and kill them all, stealing kills and Second Winds. Use Deception and your shock grenades to stun mobs and revive mates. It gives more fun for all of you and more satisfaction. Co-op, so co-op, bro!
So in short, this is where you are needed in co-op, and where you are not. In summary- don’t just fly around and kill all mobs- it is not cool for your teammates. Co-op with them to kill badasses and mid-bosses in a spectacular way (Phaselock/Head Shots/Your Killing Blow), and don’t just spam them to death while your mates are crawling in FFYL mode. That’s not cool. And on bosses, you can be the tank (with Evisceration Grog Nozzle in hand) or focus on Backstab strategy hit-and-run, while your mates are getting the boss’s attention. 30% Hp- and you are finishing it. You just keep dying trying to melee boss- that’s not cool!
How Not to Kill Teammates?
Let’s be honest. They are two primary shields for Zer0: Hide of Terra (mostly Grounded) and Love Thumper. They are some subs for them, but we also want to be on our 100% in fun! So we consider those two. I use them in a simple way: in solo mobbing – Love Thumper; solo boss – Hide of Terra. For COOP – ALWAYS LOVE THUMPER! Now some of you ask: why? You will kill your mates, they will hate you, etc. Wrong! You are doing this if you play:
I will give you a few simple tips: Always keep your LT down, so you don’t have to worry about shield management. Easier this way. But Tips:
- Fight away from your mates. That means, skipping the first line of enemies and taking care of further lines and, for example, badasses who are still away from your team. This way you are helping (killing, holding tougher guys) but you are not at risk of killing your mates. This is the golden rule. Feel like a ninja. You are not a soldier in a regular line. You are a hunter, so hunt down enemies on upper levels, other rooms, badasses, suicide bombers, etc.
- BE AWARE OF THE BATTLEFIELD!! Don’t just press melee whenever you see “shining blue!”. First of all, that’s the way to kill mates and the worst way to use Deception, since you are not taking care of using MMF and you are not thinking. Just trying too hard to stay in Deception is not cool. Two awesome and thoughtful kills are better than blindly pressing the melee button. BE AWARE of where your teammates are. If your teammate is fighting a badass and two mobs are shooting him, don’t run blindly on badass and kill mate. Take care of mobs. Don’t melee blindly in close quarters. Deception is a skill that LETS YOU STAND for sec or two AND THINK about what’s going on. Luxury that mates don’t have in other classes! USE IT and see where are far away mobs and don’t let them join the battle. Hunt them fast and quietly – like a ninja you are.
- Speak, ask, talk. “Need help with badass?”, “Step away, I am going for melee!”, “Ok, I will take care of them, don’t get too close”, “Wanna kill it for a Second Wind?”. That’s the other easy way of not killing your mates with Love Thumper. Speak with them. 50% time I don’t kill them, because I inform them about my actions or try to monitor the battlefield.
- Look at their bars. Sometimes you need to melee mob which is close to your friend. Ok, so take a look at your friend’s HP and shield bars, and don’t do too many melee hits. Low shield – take a few steps back and return to melee after a sec, or two. Easy way not to kill them, believe me. Harder on OP levels, sure, but everything needs practice.
- In Deception, take your bloody time! In BL2, 6 seconds is long enough to take a look at the surroundings. AND SILVER TIP: LEARN ROID DAMAGE NOVA RADIUS!! And you will be able to say if it will hurt your teammates or not (or maybe a mob you are not supposed to kill).
I am playing COOP on PC (UVHM on OP) with my fiance (Maya) and friend (Zer0 gun) on a 4-player difficulty (using slide-mod for the bigger challenge). In the first day of my melee Zer0, I was killing them often. In the next two, I started to use the tips and hints above, learning from my mistakes and now I am running Love Thumper always. Always with down shields and I am not killing them even once by accident. Well, unless they are running right into my death zone! But well, you have eyes too, remember!
Just wanted to share it with the community, so you can still run your favorite Love Thumper (I love that shield!) and still have fun in co-op, and even more! Using the tips above you will make you feel more like a ninja and silent hunter, less than Krieg or Sal! Style is also important. Ninja has style!
In case anyone would like to ask about builds (nothing new, standard builds for melee):
- Evisceration Grog Nozzle / Rubi
- Rapier (best with slag)
- DPUH / Pimpernel with blade, or Butcher.
- Chain Lightning for fast heal
- Storm Front for DOT heal
- Quasar or Slag Singularity for CC
- Legendary Ninja
- Shadow Ninja (best blue)
- Love Thumper
- Hide of Terramorphus for raids
- Bone of the Ancient with shock dmg.