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Fallout New Vegas Best Melee Weapon Guide
Looking for the best melee weapon in Fallout New Vegas for your next playthrough as a melee specialist? In this guide we detail some of the best melee options throughout your Fallout New Vegas adventure to allow you to plan ahead and ensure you are capable of beating the game with this niche build. For those that don’t mind the added initial challenge that a melee build has you’ll be rewarded with devastating late game power once you meet the core progression requirements that allow the build to shine.
While the melee build of Fallout New Vegas often a niche choice in the community you’ll need to be careful with your choice of starting special stats, the perks you take a long the way, the equipment you use and your general playstyle approach to the various missions. Knowing the best melee weapons on this page can help with one part of the formula to creating melee success. The melee weapon guide focuses on more than just raw DPS and considers the utility offered by weapons and also their availability to ensure you have a potent melee weapon at all game stages. Note that this page does not discuss the best unarmed weapon in Fallout New Vegas and focuses on melee weapons only. This list includes weapons from the base game and the respective Fallout New Vegas DLCs and accordingly spoilers for all game content.
Best Melee Weapon Factors
There are many factors to consider when determining if a melee weapon is your best option in Fallout New Vegas. While damage is an obvious factor this is just one element to the puzzle given many of these high damage weapons don’t become available until later in the game which leave you without a reliable melee weapon throughout the bulk of your adventure. For this reason the following factors have been considered for this page of best Fallout New Vegas melee weapons:
- Damage: Damage is an important factor in determining a weapon strength given it’s primary goal is to defeat enemies and mutants that you encounter. Damage is more than just the raw damage value though as players also need to factor in attack speed, critical chance multiplier and the available perks or mods that can boost damage.
- Ease of Acquisition: Acquiring weapons is an important element to their best factor. A melee weapon that you acquire from the last quest is not particularly useful for example. While those that are easy to acquire relative to their power level are significantly more valuable to the player.
- Utility: Utility comes in a few forms in melee weapons such as bonus damage against a particular enemy type, the ability to conceal the weapon, special attack and overall V.A.T.S. cost. Special attacks for weapons are unlocked in V.A.T.S at a melee skill of 50 although can be used outside of V.A.T.S. prior to this.
Located north of Goodsprings players will want to venture to the tribal village map location where you can find the grave of Chance who was once a powerful member of the Great Khans.
Chance’s Knife is one of the best melee weapons on your Fallout New Vegas journey that can be a reliable weapon for much of your adventure and with the right perk choice even serve you well up until your choice of best Fallout New Vegas ending. This unique melee weapon offers an improved variant of the combat knight offers and offers considerable value given that it can be acquired early on. It maintains its power across the game reasonably well given it can be buffed further by the Cowboy and Grunt (Honest Hearts) perks which help to keep it relevant. As if that wasn’t enough the weapon can also be concealed that opens up some opportunities in the broader Fallout New Vegas storyline or for roleplaying reasons.
Available after players complete The Launch in The Lonesome Road DLC you’ll find this in a street lamp to the left of where you leave this quest area (Courier’s Mile).
Available significantly later in your adventure this weapon likely won’t see much use given Lonesome Road is a pinnacle piece of content for most players. This is reflected in the potency of this weapon and its critical bonuses though which allows it to reach DPS values that are higher than other melee weapons. Unlike it’s smaller cousin above (Chance’s Knife) it doesn’t benefit from the Grunt perk but the higher base values make up for this loss. This weapon comes with a bonus to sneak although unlikely to be a major consideration at the stage of the game that you acquire this weapon.
Located in the Camp Searchlight fire station players can use the key from Logan to visit the upstairs bathroom stalls where this sits next to a skeleton in one of the cubicles.
While not the strongest of melee weapons in terms of damage this unique fire axe is a fantastic mid game weapon option given it is relatively easy to acquire and packs a punch compared to other weapons available at this stage of the game. Given the large nature of this weapon it comes with the Mauler special attack which gives you the potential for knock down chance on top if its reliable base damage.
Available from Charleston Cave this is another weapon you are likely to come across in the mid game (unless specifically focused on). It’s significantly easier to locate by starting the Guess Who I Saw Today quest as this will load a nightkin NPC although appears in the open section of the cave regardless.
Offering a huge single hit value the Oh, Baby! hits as hard as you would expect for this large two handed sledgehammer with associated high strength requirements. Because of this high damage it’s less critical hit reliant as some of the faster weapons which rely on specific perks that aren’t available until later on. This lack of speed does reduce the overall effectiveness later in the game and the weapon also suffers from a fast degrade pace so it requires constant repair.
Available from several merchants if players have the Gun Runner’s Arsenal addon installed. This includes Vendortron at Gun Runners, the arms merchant at the 188 Trading Post and Cliff Briscoe at the Dino Bite Gift Shop.
Purchasable from merchants allows players to relatively easy acquire this weapon provided they can meet the required caps. While this weapon does exist in the base Fallout New Vegas game and is still effective without the GRA DLC it earns a significant boost from this DLC due to the addition of 3 mods. These modifications decrease the weight, boost the damage and improve the maximum so you’ll be able to use it more often between repairs. The Chainsaw is most notable though for its ability to avoid damage resistance and damage threshold that ensure it stays deadly against even heavily armoured enemies.
Protonic Inversal Axe
Added in Old World Blues there are a small number of these available for players to acquire. These locations include The Cuckoo’s Next, Big MT and the X-13 research facility which gives you a few options to cross paths with one.
While the Protonic Inversal Axe is more of a mid tier melee weapon option and doesn’t compete with the top tier raw damage options this weapon has the benefit of bonus damage against robots or power armour users. This makes it a good weapon to have in reserve for those locations and quests that have significant numbers of robot enemies. The large amount of durability is also a nice touch along with the unique visual aesthetic.
Another Gun Runner’s Arsenal weapon this is acquired from the Vendortron at the Gun Runners.
Easy to acquire this flashy flame based weapon serves as a Shishkebab variant with upgraded damage and with the right perk (Pyromaniac) can push up against the higher melee weapons in terms of damage output. The Gehenna also has fantastic durability despite what you might expect from a weapon that is on fire so you can take long adventures into the Mojave Wasteland before a repair is needed.
A difficult to acquire weapon with players often having to go hunting for this weapon from various merchants or enemies (a full list is available on the wiki).
The Thermic Lance hits hard in the Fallout New Vegas universe and is kept in check by the annoying methods to acquire it. Like the chainsaw though it has the benefit of ignoring damage resistance and damage threshold that make its already high damage even more deadly to anything that you encounter. As if that wasn’t enough the Thermic Lance has an insane amount of durability so repairs are rare even when using this weapon constantly. If you can get your hands on one or don’t mind hunting for it this is a worthy addition to your inventory.