Zombie Hunter University, Fairview

Dr. Raglan's Scientific-Minimalist School of Dead Frontier Weapons, Builds & Boss-Hunting

The Scientific-Minimalist Guide to Dead Frontier Weapons: Melee

Key Points:

  • Melee weapons strike zombies up close.
  • Melee is silent, which is great for looting unnoticed.
  • Melee weapons require no ammunition and no stat points in Strength, Accuracy, or Reloading.
  • Melee's only stat requirement is Critical Hit, which is good for students beginning a build.

UPDATE DECEMBER 2019: Changes have occurred in Fairview that affect the information below. We will update the lesson when time permits, but for now, students should know that Melee weapons with Very High Critical Chance can be optimized with only 79 points in the Critical stat instead of 80. Also, exploding zombies no longer explode when killed with Melee or Chainsaws, making it safe to use these weapons against those zombies.


Melee weapons are called Blades, Blunts, and Knives, but these distinctions are based as much on appearance as performance.

There are basically two kinds of Melee Weapons:

  1. Very Slow weapons strike once per second and have a longer reach.
  2. Slow Weapons strikes 1.5 times per second and have a shorter reach.

Blades and Blunts are Very Slow. Knives are Slow.

Unique among Melee weaponry are the Titanium Blades, which strikes twice per second. (This weapon cannot be looted in the city, only purchased new in the Credit Shop or used in the marketplace.)

All Melee weapons need points in Critical, but some need more than others.

  • Several low-level Melee weapons are High Critical Chance, needing 112 stat points in Critical Hit to be optimized.
  • Most Melee weapons are Very High Critical Chance, needing only 80 points in Critical Hit.

Below is a list of weapons recommended for students planning to use Melee in Dead Frontier. 


Pen Knife

  • Proficiency: none
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1.5/second
  • DPH: 3.3/13.86
  • DPS: 2.2/11

The Pen Knife (along with the Beta Tomcat automatic pistol) is the first weapon most freshmen will use upon beginning their academic careers in Dead Frontier. Provided free to most beginners, the Pen Knife is a weak weapon, but it is better than a bare fist. More important, the Pen Knife is cheap to Mastercraft: students are advised to scrape together $1,000 as soon as possible in order to add M.C. stats that will improve Accuracy, Reloading, and Critical Hit, without waiting to add base states upon leveling up.

Iron Pipe

  • Proficiency: 20
  • Critical Chance: High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DPH: 7/35
  • DPS: 7/29.4

The Iron Pipe is the first melee weapon that will kill any zombie in the Blue Zones with a single critical hit. As such, it is a very useful tool for beginning students. The only drawback is that it is a High Critical Chance weapon, and students in the Blue Zones are unlikely to have the points in Critical Hit necessary to optimize the weapon.

After the Iron Pipe, the next few Melee weapons show little obvious improvement in the Blue Zones, where zombies are so weak that more Damage Per Hit is not necessary. In Green Zones, the Crowbar (Proficiency 35; DPH: 8.2/41/Very Slow) will show improved performance against the stronger Burned and Irradiated Male Zombies. It will also kill a Burning Zombie faster than an Iron Pipe.

Kris Knife

  • Proficiency: 50
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1.5/second
  • DPH: 7/35
  • DPS: 10.5/44.1

The Kris delivers the same Damage Per Hit as the Iron Pipe but with faster attack speed, making it useful when there are multiple zombies on screen. Also, with its Very High Critical Chance, it will deliver a higher percentage of critical hits than the Iron Pipe will with the same stat points. Like the Iron Pipe, the Kris will kill every type of zombie in the Blue Zones, making any higher proficiency weapon unnecessary.


The Iron Pipe and Kris knife are sufficient for looting in the Blue Zones. Students venturing into the Green Zones may find the following weapons useful.


  • Proficiency: 50
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DPH: 10.46/52
  • DPS: 10.46/44.52

The Shovel delivers more Damage Per Hit than either the Iron Pipe or the Kriss. This is not very useful in Blue Zones, where those previous two weapons are already capable of killing common zombies with a single critical hit. 

The Shovel does offer some advantages:

  1. It is a Very High Critical Chance weapon, so it does not need as many stat points as the Iron Pipe.
  2. It has a longer reach than the Kris.
  3. It will kill a Burning Zombie faster than an Iron Pipe or a Kris.

Students may consider whether these advantages are worth the cost of an upgrade. We find the only substantial advantage comes when entering the Green Zones, which are inhabited by stronger zombies, such as the Blood Dog, with 100 health points. With a critical hit of 52, the Shovel can kill a Blood Dog with two blows, which is faster than the Iron Pipe, the Crowbar, or the Kris - faster even than the 60-proficiency Trench Knife.

The Trench Knife

  • Proficiency: 60
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1.5/second
  • DPH: 8.2/41
  • DPS: 12.3/51.66

The Trench Knife is essentially a faster Crowbar with a shorter reach. It will kill Burned and Irradiated Zombies in the Green Zones faster than an Iron Pipe, a Crowbar, or a Shovel; it will kill the stronger male versions of the Burned and Irradiated Zombies faster than a Kris. 

The Trench Knife comes up short against Blood Hounds (with 100 health points). The Shovel kills these zombie dogs faster.

Along with a Shovel, a Trench Knife will prove useful for students moving from Nastya's Holdout to Dogg's Stockade, which entails passing through Green and Yellow Zones.



After the Trench Knife, the next few Melee weapons offer only marginal improvements. The Wood Axe and the Machete (both proficiency 70; DPH 13/65, DPS 13/54.6, Very Slow) are slightly stronger than the Shovel but still require two hits to kill zombies in the Green and Yellow Zones (though in some cases, only one of the blows need be critical). Instead, we recommend waiting for 80 proficiency to procure a Sabre


  • Proficiency: 80
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DPH 15.4/77
  • DPS: 15.4/64.68

This is the first Melee weapon capable of killing a Siren with a single critical hit - which is essential for silent looting in the Yellow Zones and beyond. The Sabre will also one-crit kill Burned and Irradiated Female Zombies (with 70 health points. It will not one-crit kill Burned and Irradiated Males or Blood Dogs.

80 proficiency in Melee also enables students to equip a Kukri knife (proficiency 80, DPH 9.4/47, DPS 14.1/59.22, Slow). Because of its faster striking speed, the Kukri will kill some zombies faster than a Sabre; however, despite its slightly higher Damage Per Hit, the Kukri is not a worthwhile improvement over the Trench Knife. Avoid it.

Note: The 90-proficiency Sledge Hammer is identical to the Sabre in performance; the only difference is cosmetic. Aesthetically minded students who prefer the look of a blunt instrument to a blade may substitute this weapon, but it confers no pragmatic advantage.

 Battle Axe/Kantana

  • Proficiency: 100
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DPH: 17.2/86
  • DPS: 17.2/72.24

Like the Sabre and the Sledge Hammer, the Battle Axe and the Katana differ in appearance only; their performance is identical. These weapons represent a substantial improvement over the Sabre: they can one-crit kill Burned and Irradiated Male Zombies, and they kill Bones, Brutes, Leapers, and Tendrils with fewer critical hits, which makes looting in Yellow Zones considerably easier.

Their higher DPS is useful for hunting Bosses such as the Burning Zombie and the Titan, which students can kill more quickly than they could with a Sabre. 



  • Proficiency: 110
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DPH: 21.4/107
  • DPS: 21/4/89.88

The Nodachi is the first Melee weapon that can exterminate a Blood Dog with a single critical hit. In Orange and Yellow Zones, it kills mutants such as Bones, Reapers, Brutes, Leapers, and Spiders with fewer critical hits than a Battle Axe/Katana.

The advantages of the Nodachi extend further into the Red and Black Zones, where it outperforms the Battle Axe/Katana against Flesh Hounds and Black and Irradiated Long Arms - zombies that in large numbers could overwhelm students using lesser weapons.


After the Nodachi, the Spiker (proficiency 120, DPH 27.4/137, DPS 27.4/115, Very Slow) offers little improvement against zombies, except for Tendrils (250 health points), which it kills with two critical hits instead of three. This becomes useful later in Red Zones, where Tendrils and more prevalent. This superiority is also evident against Black and Irradiated Rumblers in the Black Zones (which have the same health points as Tendrils). We would recommend this weapon only to students who cannot afford the superior Dual Blade.

Dual Blade

  • Proficiency: 120
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DHP: 33.4/167
  • DPS: 33.4/140.28

The Dual Blade offers the highest DPH of any Melee weapon in the game (excluding limited edition and unique items). It kills Brutes, Leapers, and Spiders with one fewer critical hits than a Spiker, but its big advantage is that it will one-crit kill Long Arms in the Red Zones. Looting in Red Zones is slow work; being able to instantly kill these common zombies makes the task considerably less difficult.

  • Note: The Dual Blade's Damage Per Hit of 167 is 3 points short of the number necessary to one-crit kill a Rumbler (with health of 170). Increasing the Dual Blades Damage by 2% is enough to cross the threshold - which can be achieved with two Rage Implants or one Violence Implant.


The only Melee weapons superior to the Dual Blade are expensive limited edition and exclusive items, such as the Gut Splitter and the X-Dusk Razor. These are luxury items for those with large bank accounts.

There are a couple of less powerful Melee weapons that may be helpful for upper division students who have yet to complete their builds.

Corpse Crusher
(limited edition)

  • Proficiency: 110
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 1/second
  • DHP: 25.6/128
  • DPS: 25.6/107.52

The limited-edition Corpse Crusher does almost as much damage as the 120-proficiency Spiker.  By equipping the Corpse Crusher, students can save ten proficiency points and use them for another weapon. This can be very useful for a student who has passed Level 50 and is slowly raising proficiency for a third weapon.

  • Note: The 120-proficiency Sharktail is superior to both the Corpse Crusher and the Spiker. However, it is an expensive, limited-edition weapon; students would better spend their money on the Dual Blade.

Titanium Blades

  • Proficiency: 0
  • Critical Chance: Very High
  • Speed: 2/second
  • DHP: 10.6/53
  • DPS: 21/89.04

Titanium Blades are unique among Melee weaponry in that they strike twice per second. Their main advantage is that they require no Melee proficiency points at all; consequently, they can be incorporated into almost any build. Their Damage Per Second is a bit low for use in Black and White Zones around Secronom Bunker, but they are worth owning for students who want a backup weapon in case they run out of ammunition for their firearms.

Return to Introduction to Weapons