loader image

Zer0 Melee formula

Table of Contents


Hi everyone. If you ever played Zer0, you probably wondered how are bonuses for all of his melee skills, relics, and COMs calculated, as did I. Apparently nobody had enough time or will to test it all out so far, so the only thing we got on this forum is “passive skills before, active skills after”, which is completely wrong.

In our testing, we encountered some weird things that also nobody mentioned before. For example slag multiplier changes depending on the number of players, the death mark can stack up to 320% with 4 assassins, and so on. I will mention all of that later.

We tried to make it as simple as possible by combining it into only one formula (altho relic for example has his own thing going on), but some explanation will be needed to understand it.

Melee Formula

(base+roid) * Ambush * Backstab * Killing Bl0w * [ weapon bonus * ( %Decepti0n + %Ir0n Hand + %C0unter Strike + %Rising Sh0t + %Be Like Water + %F0ll0wthr0ugh + %Like the Wind + %COM + %BAR ) + 0.RELIC ] * Execute * slag * crit * Deathmark

So let’s explain it from the beginning. To make it simpler I divided the formula into different color parts.


  • Base – base melee damage for your level.
    • For level 50 : 9015
    • For level 61 : 34580
    • For level 72 : 132,641
    • For OP8 : 158,678 effectively, factoring in average DR [ed. – OP8’s damage reduction varies between foes’ individual level. See here for DR info]
  • Roid – roid damage from your shield, IF IT’S DEPLETED. You can find the roid number on your shield’s weapon card.


  • Ambush, Backstab, Killing Bl0w, weapon bonus – all of these values are calculated the same. All of them come in percentages and you have to make a multiplier out of a percentage. That is done by taking the percentage, dividing it by 100, and then adding 1.

For example, if we have +20% from Ambush, it’s pretty logical that multiplies the number before by 1.2. If you have +200% from the weapon (Rapier) then that means x3.

All of these mentioned skill values can be changed by class mods and depend on how many points you have in that skill. For example, if you look at the formula, Backstab with 5 points in it will add 40% or a multiplier of 1.4 to everything else. If you have a class mod with +6 Backstab then it will add 88% or multiply everything else by 1.88.

Note: you will always get an Ambush bonus when hitting from Decepti0n.


  • %Decepti0n, %Ir0n Hand, %C0unter Strike, %Rising Sh0t, %Be Like Water, %F0ll0wthr0ugh, %Like the Wind, %COM, %BAR – All of these values are calculated the same. Percentages are added together, and then the multiplier is made from the SUM of all multipliers.

So for example, last second Decepti0n will add 650%, Ir0n Hand will add 15%, C0unter Strike will add 250% and BAR will add 10%. In this example, we don’t trigger Rising Sh0t, F0ll0wthr0ugh, Like the Wind, or wear a +melee COM just to make it simpler. In this case, we will add all the percentages we have: 650+15+250+10=925%. Then we will make a multiplier out of it just as we did before. 925% means x10.25.

Now the thing that made us go crazy: the relic. In practice, a relic adds at the same time as a weapon bonus. So for example a rapier and +35% melee relic will add +235% at once. But then the “fun” begins. Ambush, backstab, and killing blow will behave as if bonus damage exists, but all of our green skills will behave like all before happened without a relic. Basically, the relic has its own formula that calculates the bonus damage relic would do before the green stuff and then just adds that number. We wanted to get it all in one formula so it looks better and that’s why the formula has 2 brackets and it’s a bit more complicated.

Adding Relic
    • 0.RELIC – means that although you have a relic that says +35%, you want to put 1.35 as a multiplier here, you will just replace the blue part with 0.35. I know it makes no sense now, but if needed I can later explain the separate relic formula and how it was added to the original formula. Basically, for calculations, all you need to know is that 30% relic means the blue part is 0.30. +35% relic means the blue part is 0.35.


  • Execute – this one is simple: Execute will always add +100% which means a multiplier of x2.
  • Critical – again a simple one: crit gives us +100% again, so another x2 multiplier.
  • Slag – this is where it gets interesting. In our tests, we found out that slag doesn’t always double your damage. In fact, the slag multiplier depends on the number of players. If playing solo, slag really does add 100% (multiplier x2) on normal and TVHM, and 200% (multiplier x3) on UVHM. But:
      • 2 players = slag does +95% = multiplier 1.95
      • 3 players = slag does +80% = multiplier 1.8
      • 4 players = slag does +75% = multiplier 1.75
      • 2 players = slag does +192.5% = multiplier 2.925
      • 3 players = slag does +170% = multiplier 2.7
      • 4 players = slag does +162.5% = multiplier 2.625

Not sure how nobody noticed this before. This has nothing to do with melee, slag just loses efficiency with more players, period.

  • Death Mark – another interesting part of the formula. Deathmark officially adds 20% or a multiplier of 1.2. But, if adding Deathmark with kunai, it can stack up to 4 times to 80%. Throwing kunai fast helps to stack it BUT DOES NOT GUARANTEE IT.

Alternative Formula

There is a bit longer way to write this formula that makes looking at every percentage bonus the same. I will put it here so if anyone finds that one simpler to use, go ahead.

The same formula in a different shape:

(base+shield) * (1+Ambush) * (1+Backstab) * (1+Killing Bl0w) * [ (1+weapon bonus) * ( 1+Decepti0n + Ir0n Hand + C0unter Strike + Rising Sh0t + Be Like Water + F0ll0wthr0ugh + COM + BAR ) + RELIC ] * (1+Execute) * (1+slag) * (1+crit) * (1+Deathmark)

To use this one, you just need to consider every percentage as a percentage of 1. So 35% = 0.35. 20% = 0.2. 650% = 6.5. The advantage of this formula is that you just insert all the percentage bonuses in the exact same way, and the formula does everything else for you.


So there you have it. A complete melee Zer0 formula. We can finally calculate our melee damage, and I’m sure a lot of Zer0 players will be happy.

Ambush, Backstab, and Killing Bl0w are great.


I want to thank some guys that were patient enough to spend almost 20 hours with me testing every single possibility and double-checking everything. Firstly Alade, a guy who was with me helped with this almost all of that time. Then @StrikerZidane, a terrorist we love so much who I kept awake for hours because he still has a Marcus dummy that can be killed so I can test Killing Bl0w and kill skills. And finally, @Blackadder, a math professor that wanted to play and I made him work on the formula to make it look nicer. Also, thanks to Goth and Bahroo for helping test Deathmark with 4 assassins.

Vault Hunter Hub