Content Type: Gaming Guides
Okay, when showered bullets upon, who in their right mind pulls out a sword? Well, you can! When it comes to Melee Weapons in Cyberpunk 2077, being a cyberninja can be as badass as carrying around a fully-equipped Assault Rifle. See, where gunpower feels too indirect of an approach, your hands can deliver strongest impacts up close — with or without holding anything in them.
Melee can be a part of your character build, combined with a gun rotation (check out our Ranged Weapons Guide!), but it can also be your preferred way of confronting enemies in general. And, in Cyberpunk 2077, it can be the only one you really need. However, in some cases Melee Weapons don’t present as obvious of a progression path and require extra planning to get reliable sustainability and higher damage for your build.
Melee combat in Cyberpunk 2077 is a bit of a timed dance, rewarded by non-lethal quest requirements and bare-knuckle challenges. You will need to learn not only how to swing your weapon around but also how to dodge, block, counter-attack, and stagger you opponent. This is where your Body Attribute and especially your Street Brawler Skill come in.
Of course, there are also Mantis Blades and Katanas, and who gives a crap about parrying when you can rush straight at your group of enemies and dismember each and every single one of them in seconds? That’s what you need your Reflexes Attribute for along with your Blades Skill — incredible speed and lethal damage.
In general, you should probably pay attention to what Skills, Perks, and Mods (weapons, clothing, and cyberware) increase your damage and armor while moving, restore health upon kill, increase damage of melee weapons, and allow you to absorb more Status Effects and damage. All of these little bonuses up your sleeve will help you realize the build’s full potential.
Whichever approach you choose, you can benefit to know the general Weapon Types the game offers, what Skills they are tied to, where the Cyberware Arms weapons come in, and what Mods can be installed for your particular choice of a weapon. And, a few insider tips on the way!
Well, that’s exactly what we plan to cover in this guide, so let’s dive into it!
(In order to fill a few gaps in our tips and lists, we borrowed some information from a hardcover copy of Cyberpunk 2077 – The Complete Official Guide by Piggyback.)
Overview and Tips
Making Enemies Drop Melee or Ranged Weapons
Little tip for you: when you encounter groups of enemies or gang members in the city, you can fight these enemies up close if you want them to drop melee weapons when defeated. On the other hand, keep your distance for them to pull out their guns if you want to loot those from their bodies later.
Challenges of Melee Weapon Builds
There are a few imbalances you might want to be aware of when it comes to melee weapons in Cyberpunk 2077:
- Stealthy backstabbing is harder to level.
- Unlike stealth with ranged weapons, it’s harder to execute stealthy attacks with melee weapons (for once, you have to sneak right up to your enemy), and the resulting damage might not be worth it. Taking someone down non-lethally only levels Stealth.
- User Rich-Establishment32 on Reddit has suggested a fair substitute strategy — doing non-lethal takedowns using your melee weapon of choice (using Kiroshi Optics non-lethal mod, Target Analysis, will be helpful if you use Blades) to level Stealth and then performing a kill right after to level your associated weapon. Of course, keep in mind that this isn’t quite the same as a backstabbing stealth approach.
- Melee schematics are less common.
- Many community members reported difficulties finding non-iconic melee schematics. It’s not a universal issue, but it remains very common. The best way of getting around it in the game seems to be acquiring Crafting Perks that unlock schematics (something like a Legendary Katana blueprint would require Level 18 in the Technical Ability Attribute).
- Throwing knives are harder to replenish. [Fixed by Patch 1.5!]
- Unless you have already gotten a knife blueprint, you might struggle with using throwing skills with your knives, since there is no way to pick them up from the bodies of your defeated enemies [Fixed by Patch 1.5: Throwing Knives will not automatically return to V’s hands after a set cooldown time, based on rarity. Picking up a knife resets the cooldown]. They also seem to be an overall rare commodity in the game, including their schematics (see the note above on melee schematics). There is a chance you might pick a blueprint somewhere, but a more reliable method is to pick up Crafting Perks by leveling your Technical Ability.
“Sharp and lethal. Be careful not to cut yourself.”
You will start finding katanas early on in the game (or, if you are connected through your GOG account, you can wield a Black Unicorn as soon as you pay a visit to your apartment) and you will be quick to notice that they are something special.
Flashy, quick, and very much lethal. Katanas and Mantis Blades (see below) make up your Blades Skill and if you are all for rushing up to your enemies and dismembering them in one hit, leveling them is extremely fun.
Additional condition infliction like Poison or Burning (Blades already inflict Bleeding) is recommended for maximum damage efficiency.
With Blades, bonuses to damage from movement and Bleeding Status Effect are your friends, which you should pay attention to when you make choices for your build.
We definitely suggest that you make yourself familiar with the Reflexes Attribute and look for ways to restore health and improve armor and dealt damage during battle (don’t forget to look through Cyberware enhancements — there is a lot a Blade build can get from the Nervous System alone).
Mantis Blades (Blades, Arm Cyberware)
“Arm blades designed with lethality and concealment in mind. As effective as they are flashy.”
Mantis Blade single attacks are swift, deadly slashes, especially when used in combos. If you hold your attack and release you can leap towards your enemy and deal massive damage. This arm Cyberware weapon is devastating against single targets.
As you improve your Mantis Blades by changing out damage type and boosting your attack speed, remember to look into your Reflexes Skills and their Perks to get the most out of this weapon.
Starting damage: 66-80
Physical damage: +35-43
Attack Speed: 2
Bleeding Change: +10%
We have a lot of data on all of our Arms Cyberware in a dedicated guide — general strategy, available mods, and rarity ranks. We highly suggest you check it out!
Blunt Weapons (Street Brawler)
“May not be lethal, but your enemies will wish it was.”
Two-handed Club might not appear glamorous, but it can pack as much damage as a lethal katana. Non-lethal damage could be your style, or it could be a side job’s or a gig’s requirement — there are many reasons to hit your enemies with a mighty stick over a flashy blade.
Blunt Weapons benefit the most from a Body Attribute, Street Brawler build. There is a lot you can do by inflicting Stun and getting bonuses by attacking enemies afflicted by this condition. Remember that you will likely be moving a lot around the battlefield, so look into stamina, health, and damage bonuses that come from moving when you plan out your build.
Other Blunt Weapons
An iconic weapon (quite literally, actually) represents this category: a so-called Sir John Phallustiff that you might have heard about in the community or have acquired yourself by completing a little fun exchange with Meredith Stout.
Don’t be quick to dismiss these kinds of weapons — they are a little quirky, but they pack some force. You will be able to find some community members completing very challenging fights with weapons like the Iconic Baton weapon we mentioned above. And it’s pretty fun! Finding your way around the futuristic town with a tomahawk, cattle prod, or a whirring vibrator is something unique and can be challenging in its own way.
Remember, however, that at least half of your efficiency of attacks with a certain weapon comes from your character’s build and not the weapon itself. Can your Nomad cowboy rock a cattle prod when facing higher-level enemies like an insane badass he is? Absolutely.
Fists (Street Brawler)
As simple as it gets! This is your base non-lethal weapon — worst comes to worst, this is something you can use and use efficiently if you level your Street Brawler skill. Leveling your fists might be quite a satisfying path: there are Gorilla Arms you can install to instantly improve your punching down the line.
By the way, until you get your Gorilla Arms situated, this is your best weapon for Beat on the Brat questline (bare-knuckle sparring). Read more about them in the next section.
Gorilla Arms (Street Brawler)
“Classic and reliable replacements for natural limbs, suited for all kinds of hard labor.”
Talk about using fists in melee. These bad boys charge with each attack and when you perform a Strong Attack you can deal bonus damage based on the accumulated charge level.
This is the classic and rewarding way to go with your Body-based build: to rip passengers out of their own cars, force open locked doors, and rip turrets from their bases to acquire Heavy Machine Guns, all with arms made of most durable metals and outfitted with fiery (or any type of damage you want!) knuckles and impact-enhancing mechanisms.
Speaking of those — if you want to see what mods you can equip on your Gorilla Arms, check out the full guide we have linked in the section!
Starting damage: 66-81
Physical damage: +27-33
Attack Speed: 2.50
Bleeding Change: +10%
Monowire (Street Brawler)
“Whip-like monofilament wire with a cutting edge only a molecule wide.”
Monowire charges when it’s not used in combat. Higher charge levels deal higher damage, but charge level is used up with every attack. Monowire packs quite a whip of physical damage and can be used for satisfying quick one-hit kills in your Street Brawler melee weapon rotation.
Starting damage: 101-124
Physical Damage: +42-51
Attack Speed: 2.50
Bleeding Chance: +10%
Tip: While the Cool Attribute adds passive damage to Monowire, Street Brawler is the Skill used to level and improve it.
For more tips and mods check out the full guide:
Melee Weapon Mods
Wait, wait, we are not done yet; don’t forget about Modding your Melee Weapons and Arms Cyberware! We have a separate guide covering Weapon Mods (both Ranged and Melee), and we definitely recommend you check it out — Mods can be a powerful way to both customize and enhance your lineup.