HR E10 - melee DPS

Hi everyone!

Decided to share a possible melee build that allows to do some competitive DPS on the hardest bosses in HR - bosses 4 and 6 (Traumadriver, Machine Tyrant). The following video shows some E10 footage, but the gameplay can be replicated on any elite difficulty.

Here is the build:

Gear used:

  • Voltaic Shunt of Alacrity mk3
  • Pneumatic Maul of Alacrity mk3 (Any affix can be used on Traumadriver as long as the offhand ranged weapon has Alacrity mk3. However, Alacrity on the hammer for Machine Tyrant is invaluable in order to be able to stick to the boss while it moves)
  • Shriven Souls + Signet of Shattering
  • Cobra Ring + Signet of Bludgeoning
  • Egon Pendant + Signet of Crushing
  • Iron-Sulfur Bracelet + Signet of Nemain
  • Cold Silver Dice + Signet of Laceration
  • Brawler’s Belt + Signet of Time & Space
  • Razor Fossil + Signet of Quickness


  • Queen Ranavalona IV
  • Sarah Skelly
  • Laughing Jenny (swapped over Oleg Yablokov)

All glyphs are maxed out elaborate, except on the weapons, which have intricate fierce (therefore, missing some 0.2% crit chance, which is negligible).

The key components to succeed on movement-heavy fights as a melee DPS are, in this order of importance:

  1. Movement speed boosts.
  2. Ranged offhand.

Movement speed boosts include, in this order of importance:

  1. Signet of Quickness
  2. Alacrity (mostly for Machine Tyrant)
  3. Fast and Furious (hammer passive)

The gameplay on the video isn’t flawless (some globals have been missed, as well as 1 Pneumatic Maul proc and 2 Voltaic Shunt procs on MT), so some further iterations could eventually allow to improve the charts. However, being melee on Machine Tyrant is also quite dependent on the tank, notably for Crystallized Blaze placements that could represent a significant damage loss in case of a miss (if the tank moves the boss unnecessarily, for instance).

Finally, i can tell that, while playing melee DPS requires some significant extra work to match ranged DPS on those fights, this is all a matter of investment (both in terms of gear and experience) that pays off - playing as a melee DPS on Machine Tyrant is the most fun DPS experience i’ve ever had in the game so far!

PS: congratulations to @Kahleon for his first HR E10 completion, and his outstanding first time cleansetanking!


Very impressive, watching you melee dps Tyrant while on center phase is quite heartbreacking, you should add a “don’t try this at home” disclaimer :smile


I’d actually advise people to try that! As said, this is a personal investment. What isn’t showed in this video is how many times i died from various things on this boss (over a certain number of attempts throughout X months), including the dance. This is all part of the deal! You have to find mates that accept to spend time on the boss.

Also, it is extremely difficult to find very competent cleansetanks for this boss, and even then, for the most part, they almost all stopped doing dungeons and/or playing the game. Cleansetanking this boss is very extreme, both in terms of things to keep track of, mitigation and aggro. Kahleon can probably give a feedback about how i’ve been stealing aggro from him unrelentlessly. :rofl: In any case, a cleansetank is not required for the boss, it just makes the DPS race shorter, so this can be attempted with a regular sustain tank.

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Staying in the middle is actually fairly similar to that one spectre move (the one that kills people regularly in the BF lair if nobody interrupts it) you just need to be calm about standing on expanding rings until the one before them explodes and you can step onto it.

Not really up for making yet another hammer or replacing my contortion so I think I’ll skip doing it this way and just chip away when I have an opportunity. Switching away from OH shotgun would definitely be good for my survival tho. Maybe go blade for its teleport. I always used rocket jump in tsw.

As always on MT there’s an ease of gameplay to being highest dps that’s self-reinforcing; he targets in order from least to most aggro and only gets to 4 targets pretty late in the fight.

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The most annoying part is the extra circle that spawns in the beginning due to a bug, after a few wipes. But again, as soon as you get the movement speed boosts i’ve been talking about, you’ll be able to outmaneuver the circles quite easily as you can notice in the video. However, as a melee DPS, you’ll have to work quite more with the tank (you’re dependent on how the tank turns and moves the boss).

If you have no Alacrity and no Quickness, you’ll have a harder time on the fight and obviously should not attempt going to the middle. I can understand people not having Alacrity on the main weapon since this isn’t a very common choice, but Contortion? You’re missing out on a lot of potential by opting to dismiss Quickness. Why do you use Contortion?

The point i’m trying to make with the video is to debunk the common fear of melee and the overused “melee unfriendly” paradigm in this game, which probably comes from TSW from the most part, where you indeed almost did not have any real movement speed utilities besides Rocket Jump (and even then, it was a trade-off - you had to give up Whiplash or Timber, far bigger than the ~500 DPS loss due to having Alacrity instead of Energy). In SWL, nothing is really melee unfriendly anymore, and it is very easy to optimize your mobility by making some obvious gear and skill choices.

Me and a friend had a lot of fun analysing the patterns of this fight. While i generally agree that ‘melee unfriendly’ is way overused, obviously some fights/situations are easier than others. One that works just fine for my Chaos melee, but I otherwise have a hard time seeing a way around, is the labyrint in HE. Im curious how you get around losing dps in there as a pure melee? For my chaos user the simple answer was immutable, and learning how the boss stance change just before the green goes up.

On that one I just energy dump as available (same as start of a fight, enraged eruption+demo) and don’t worry about it, if the boss is moving on before the green aura ends he’s dying more than fast enough anyway. It’s not got any timed mechanics like HR4 where you need to do more dps.

I don’t like any hammer/shotgun cleanses so contortion is my goto for slows everywhere (filth’s the main one but it works fine for HE’s chains, except when tanking the final boss inside his ring when there’s no good direction to dodge to without pulling him offcenter. and maybe 10% of DA bosses can slow so it’s good for that) Same as giving up whiplash, changing gadget to cleanse is just losing dps.

This one is quite hard to explain without a video, but i can try.

First of all, you have to learn how to not ever get stun by Rundown, whether you’re ranged or melee. If you ever get stun, you’ll loose momentum and you’ll start lagging behind.

The idea is that i try to outrun the boss instead of following him. When he starts running from point A to point B, i try to reach point B before he does, and bonus points if you manage to run alongside the boss and punch him in the face. As soon as he stops at point B, you have a good 5 second time interval to unload all your burst. If you do enough damage, he’ll start casting Rundown again without chasing you because you’ve got aggro. This is how it is possible to outrun even ranged DPS at times (especially if they get hit by the Rundown’s stun).

If you’re not overgearing the fight, my very old tactic was to use Pain Suppression + the Unification Susceptibility module to tank through the green AoE. You can do that with a hammer/Inverter build, it’ll work like a charm.

You can’t use Contortion to cleanse stuff like Lifeburn (on HE3 for instance). Speaking about HE, being is what i suppose the only place you can get slows on you (Rot Iron), on HE1, a Purification gadget being used by the tank is enough to cleanse all the group in time. For HE5, the tank can interrupt the Rot Iron cast (check the last video in the sustain tanking guide), or anyone else really, otherwise, Contortion isn’t an option because it is not a proper group cleanse. For HE6, same deal.

Maybe this is the only place where i can give you credit for Contortion really, and even here, this signet isn’t a hard requirement (gladly).

You can’t compare having a signet that only has a defensive value relevant in 1% of the game’s content (and isn’t a hard requirement even in that content), and has a 50% cooldown penalty in 99% of the rest of the game’s content, to a signet that has defensive AND offensive value, relevant in a lot of the game’s content and without any cooldown penalty.

I’ve been here, tested Acrobatics in the first place, and Agility afterwards. Switched to Quickness and never looked back, even considering the wasted XP on the other signets (granted, they were not maxed). I can understand if you’re unwilling to dump XP in a new signet however.

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Impressive! I completely agree that this is one of the most fun aspect of playing melee in this game. I noticed that the tank moves Machine Tyrant in a way that you can ignore the red circles and can keep attacking the boss. Unfortunately in pugs the boss usually just stays put in place until the next well shows up and I’m having trouble keep attacking the boss because of the circle following me around all the time. Is there a way to deal with this problem?

A slightly unrelated question but can you suggest an alternative build for those using Ascendant signet? Honestly eruption seems like a waste without Shattering. Something like picking up Blizzard with inverter maybe?

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This is fine and in fact what a tank should do - move the boss in bursts towards a well, and then, stand still. This is required for some proper DPS uptime, particularly for Crystallized Blaze. A nice addition to go for as a tank is to rotate the boss without moving it, so that melee DPS can also move around and dodge the circles while still hitting the boss.

As stated above, the circles start following people from the lowest to the highest DPS, so if you happen to get the circle first, you’re screwed, because that’ll pretty much keep you as the lowest DPS. Get more movement speed increases (Fast and Furious passive, Signet of Quickness, Alacrity if you can, at least on the Voltaic Shunt) and your DPS will also increase.

According to my simulator, you do not loose any DPS (you barely gain some) by using Eruption without the Shattering and Nemain signets. As soon as you get the Nemain signet maxed, things become more interesting and you start getting decent DPS increase even by using Eruption without Shattering. In any case, don’t forget that Eruption is extremely useful for the group because of the fact it applies Exposed. You could go for Unstoppable Force (as well as an extra passive), but having cooldown reduction for it itsn’t very valuable either (you could play with it without any signet in the head talisman and you’d be just fine), and you loose an Exposed, which hurts the group DPS a lot.

Blizzard without the Signet of Cataclysms (or Paragon) will suffer of the same “problem”, unless you count on it as a ranged filler when you’re running after the boss. Be careful with the positioning of Blizzard on that boss though (same deal with Blaze really, it is quite easy to loose a lot of DPS if the boss gets out of it).

About the Inverter, the problem is that you can’t play with Mjolnir here (because that will heat you up, so you’ll loose the Inverter’s bonus), so you loose globals on Machine Tyrant. My build specifically relies on the Voltaic Shunt for that reason - it allows you to heat up enough for Blaze to have close to the maximum heat coefficient, and at the same time, offers ranged fillers and an extra proc.


Yes, for the same reasons, even as a ranged dps, I switch to Voltaic Shunt when the fight requires mobility ( HR2, HE3 and ofc Machine Tyrant). You could trust the tank to give you the time to land those ground AoEs, but most times having a reliable offhand ranged power results in more solid dps. Its also very usefull when you don’t want to risk that your AoE (or DoTs as an AR user) ends hitting a shield in both MT and HE3.

Forgot to drop a mention about cooldown usage here.

It is highly beneficial to use cooldowns as much as possible, but particularly right before a downtime.
Let’s take an example with 2 main hammer cooldowns: Seethe and Eruption. In the event of a downtime such as Machine Tyrant turning his shield back on from the middle, if both cooldowns get used prior to that event, then by the time the boss will get the shield dropped, the cooldowns will be available again.

The best way to describe a cooldown’s value is like follows:
A cooldown used every 20s adds X damage (or X/20 DPS) if the rest of the time the cooldown recovers, attacks are being made and all global cooldowns are used.
Now, if the same cooldown dealing X damage is used, and the following recovery time, the boss is not being hit at all (due to a downtime), then the cooldown is used again after the downtime ended, it means that the cooldown got used back to back, so the damage gained by the cooldown is now equal to 2X.

The same principle applies to energy.

Since hammer is a very burst/cooldown oriented and fast energy-consuming weapon, it is very important to use cooldowns and energy to maximize your damage output by taking downtimes into account in the best way possible.