ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON – Independent Merc’s Guide to Melee Builds

A guide for AC Pilots that want to do a melee focused build but are having troubles figuring out how to make one or how to maximize it’s potential. Mostly complete, just need to add some extra visuals to break up the walls of text.

Why Melee Focus?

Because murdering other mercs with a pointy stick is fun! The information found in this guide will be usable for both single melee weapon builds and double melee weapon builds.

Frame and Inner Parts

The Importance of Attitude Stability

“Attitude Stability” is the stat that governs how easy it is to stagger your AC. For the most part, it’s HIGHLY recommended to try and get at least middling amounts of attitude stability as having really low stability WILL likely result in your AC being stunned while trying to close the gap for the melee hit.

How much attitude stability is good will be up to you and how light you want your AC to be but definitely make sure to keep this in mind when you choose your body, arms and legs. As with any game though, you can always just do fashion if you just don’t care.

Arm Parts

For the actual frame parts (body, arms, legs, head), the only part that we want to pay heavy attention to is the arm parts.

All arm parts have a specific stat tied to them called “Melee Specialization”, you can check these by pressing the “Toggle Display” button to see the full stat spread of any given part. One of the earliest arms you can get that has high “Melee Specialization” is the Firmeza arms.

For Hybrid builds, you will want to change the arms to something that balances both Firearm and Melee Specialization stats. While “Firearm Specialization” doesn’t directly increase your damage like “Melee Specialization” does, it DOES increase the accuracy of your ranged weapons so you should balance it based on what you’re trying to do with your melee and ranged.


For this we want to mainly note the type of booster you’re using. The premiere booster option for melee (IMO) is the KIKAKU, it has the max possible “Melee Attack Thrust” which is the stat that determines how far you lunge forward when you attack an enemy with a melee weapon.

This stat is EXTREMELY important for melee focused builds as the difference in distance traveled while trying to use melee weapons can affect where you completely whiff an attack or land it. I will admit though that these are all just my own personal findings from playing nothing but melee and how to build it through all ending routes so it may not be the most accurate.

Special Note:

Some melee weapons DO NOT benefit from “Melee Attack Thrust” the same way others do, the following is an overview of these weapons:

Charge attacks stops you in place/has fixed range, but benefits on normal attacks:

  • LASER LANCE (Fixed distance)
  • LASER DAGGER (Fixed distance)
  • PILE BUNKER (Stops you in place)
  • CORAL SWORD (Stops you in place)

Doesn’t benefit period:


The difference between the highest melee thrust booster KIKAKU and the 2nd lowest MULE (~7001 stat difference) is about 75m or so (148m vs 72m), this difference in travel can make or break the build depending on what you prefer. This will also impact some Melee weapon specific tech that we will be discussing later.

For those who wish to use 2 melee weapons, definitely don’t skimp and use the KIKAKU, it’s worth it, for hybrid, yet again it depends on how you use your melee weapon, KIKAKU overall is a very good booster but if your build needs a different stat spread just make sure that your “Melee Thrust” isn’t abysmal if you’re using weapons that are harder to hit such as the Pile Bunker.


For the most part, generators are just up to preference, just choose whichever one you like. My personal preference are generators with quick EN Recharge as it lets you dodge around more often which can be useful while playing a melee build.

Whether you want an engine with good “Energy Firearm Spec.” will depend on if your ranged weapons are EN/Coral based or note, otherwise just prioritize EN Recharge.


This one I’m not very sure about, I’ve always used TALBOT for a mix of close and medium tracking but I have no concrete evidence that FCS helps improve melee attack tracking, if anyone has any real concrete evidence of this do let me know and I’ll change this but for now the recommendation I have is to use an FCS that suits your side weapons.

For example, my personal melee build uses a shotgun and a shoulder grenade launcher. The specific shotgun I use is mostly close ranged so I’d use an FCS with really good close-range tracking, etc.

Choosing a Sidearm

This is entirely preference based, but from my personal testing, I personally prefer weapons that can continually put in pressure at close range, such as the WUERGER Laser Shotgun or weapons that have high Impact damage such as the ZIMMERMAN (yea, they’re OP but they’re just the easiest example).

The reason you want to continuously put on pressure or just chunk their stagger is due to the fact that almost every melee will brutalize your opponent when they’re staggered, some even boasting extremely high damage multipliers when an enemy is staggered. Overall, just test stuff out with your build, sometimes you may prefer being able to hip fire a weapon over and over to put on the pressure while others would prefer just being able to continuously stagger an enemy, it’s up to preference in the end.

Melee as a Sidearm

For those that are just thinking of using Melee as an extension of your kit, rather than completely focusing on maximizing melee damage, the main thing you’d want to use your weapon for is to either quickly build stagger or to take out a ton of an enemy AC’s HP due to the melee’s naturally high damage and direct hit damage. This style of play is best used with the “Weapons Bay” upgrade, allowing you to put arm weapons in your back slots. Use your melee to nuke or stagger, then swap to your ranged weapons to capitalize on the stagger or to stagger and allow your melee to go in for a big hit.

To Charge or Not to Charge?

Short Answer

Yes, charging weapons is very useful, but it highly depends on the weapon, situation and how safe you are.

Long Answer

For most weapons, the basic attacks will more often than not lead to more damage and stagger on the enemy, but this is not always the case for all weapons. The timing to use a charge attack obviously depends on the weapons you’re using but the general rule of thumb is to look at the stats and how the weapon is used (there’s a video playback button to show how).

For example, on the basic Pulse Sword, the charged attack is good if you can’t get in more than a single hit as it does only a bit less stagger and damage than if you hit both sword slashes while still lunging at your enemy, but in terms of damage it’s better to get the full 2 slashes. This is the reverse of the Laser Sword, which boasts 2 hits on its charged attack, but in exchange, doesn’t lunge you forward which makes it harder to hit your targets. For the laser sword, it’s better to use the single basic slash to hit enemies you’re not as confident in hitting while the charged hit is for massive damage, either to stagger or towards staggered enemies and should be saved for when you’re confident it will hit.

Melee Cancelling

What is Melee Cancelling?

Most melee weapons have a window where you can boost to cancel the attack before it lands, cancelling the attack without putting the weapon into overheat.

I didn’t find out the exact mechanics of this until Vaati’s tips video so credit goes to him/whoever found it and published it first but this small tech can actually be chained together to create a sort of super dash that is faster and has more tracking than Assault Boost.

For me though, the true value of this mechanic is the ability to bait and mix-up/confuse the enemy, especially in a PvP setting as it uses a lot of EN for travelling, though it is, in fact faster than just assault boosting.

When to use it?

Overall, the main use for it is the ability to cancel your attack and save yourself from a whiff. Whiffing a melee can, more often than not, lead to you being punished, staggered or likely even killed so using it defensively should be the first priority.

Though, due to it being somewhat faster than Assault Boosting, you can also use it to close the distance between you and an enemy AC should your normal melee lunge be barely sufficient at letting you land the hit.


  1. Any updates on our understanding of FCS? One major shortcoming i see when using a PB is its definitely harder to hit single click attacks on certain units than with swords

    • I’ve been seeing conflicting information when it comes to if it helps melee at all, overall it seems like there’s no major difference since FCS should probably mainly affect aiming and not melee but I still haven’t seen much talk on the subject overall.

  2. There are a few weapons where their charge attack does not use the “Melee attack thrust” stat into consideration. Most notably the laser dagger, drill, laser sword and I think laser slicer.

    Melee weapons also have different attack recovery which allows you to cancel a whiff attack almost instantly.

    You can also cancel you melee dash attacks with an assault boost instead of a dodge to conserve EN while chasing. In most cases, this is the best way to gap close on someone as it’s faster than raw dashing in and it’s not as telegraphed as just assault boosting towards them.

  3. Generators’ Energy Firearm Spec stat does not affect melee weapons, even if they are EN. It specifically says “ranged energy weapons” and “this spec does not affect weapons with independent EN output systems, such as melee weapons or plasma missile launchers”. Tested it myself, damage does not change. Everything else is solid

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