challenge mode guide poe

Challenge of Elders Guide (Melee Bonus)

Keep it Above the Belt!

"Recharge of abilities is significantly reduced."
“Recharge of abilities is significantly reduced.” 🙁

This week’s Challenge of Elders is a two-fisted pulp action movie, with Trickle and Fresh Troops, forcing us to rely on good ol’ knuckle sandwiches to clear this one. Melee kills are worth double points, so start swinging!

Point System

Method Points
Kill +25
Melee Kill +70
Grenade Kill +40
Precision Kill +45
Super Kill +50
Assist +25
Orb Generation +20
Ultra Kill +500
Variks Impatient -50 / 45 seconds


Gear Recommendations

First off, Armor: For a Helmet, unless you’re using an Exotic of some kind, I recommend finding one with a good Strength score and Invigoration, granting you extra Melee energy from Orbs – the only exception being for your Exotic piece!

On your Arms, look for the Glutton perk to gain Melee energy for each enemy near you when you get a kill (this is only found on King’s Fall Raid arms so far as I know). Snap Discharge (increased melee attack speed) would also be helpful to land more punches in less time.

Legendary chest armor can’t do much for you in this challenge, aside from boosting your Strength and letting you carry extra  Auto Rifle ammo for your Monte Carlo. Strength is the main thing though – you need Rank 5! Likewise, leg armor doesn’t make much difference, aside from stats, so just focus on maxing out your Strength.

Artifacts can be very helpful here – look for Orb generation on Melee kills, especially the right color Ability or against Taken!

Weapon recommendations are easy this week – if you somehow haven’t already guessed it (or didn’t read the paragraphs above), this will be another week of Monte Carlo love! Dealing any damage with the gun speeds up your melee recharge, so the important thing here is to remember not to sabotage yourself by grabbing kills with it. It’s not worth the point loss when you can just as easily tag enemies in the feet for Assist points and then point it at the boss to slowly wear the big guy down while constantly recharging your melee ability.


Subclass Setup


#1 (Tied) – Defender
Melee Gift of Light
Perks Blessing of Light, Relentless, Untouchable
Exotics No Backup Plans
Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

A team of Defenders will come out pretty well score-wise, with Orb Generation ramping up your score and charging one of the better Supers available for this challenge. The Defender super is one of the more helpful ones here, with Blessing of Light keeping everyone armored up for this massive prison brawl.

Gift of Light on your melee helps you drop Orbs with every alien you squish, and Relentless both protects you and gives you more time to rain Orbs down on your friends. Then, No Backup Plans keeps that overshield going even longer, assuming you haven’t taken too much damage, allowing you to continue the Orb creation for up to 25 seconds. Avoid taking heavy fire while you’re doing this, and your team will have Orbs for days!

In between Orb runs, put some fire on the boss and majors with Monte Carlo to get your next Disintegrate lined up. Defenders are a very strong contender for the best CoE subclass overall and continue their long run as the best team players in PVE. They definitely earn their #1 rating here.

#2 – Sunbreaker
Melee Stoke the Forge
Perks Suncharge, Fleetfire, Simmering Flames
Exotics An Insurmountable Skullfort
Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

Everything is awesome here. Stoke the Forge vastly reduces your base Melee recharge time, and also immediately recharges it on a killing blow. Simmering Flames helps as well, netting you double-time recharge speed while your Super is full.

Finally, even with Simmering Flames, you have no reason at all not to activate your super when a new wave spawns and Suncharge through every enemy in your path. Every smashed foe counts as a Melee Kill, a Super Kill and you generate Orbs of Light, scoring you so many extra points it’s silly!

Finally, for our exotic I have to think that Insurmountable Skullfort is the way to go. A second melee charge for Stoke the Forge and Simmering Flames to fill up should keep you raining fiery death on the regular.

#3 – Striker
Melee Overload, Shoulder Charge
Perks Transfusion, Flashbang
Exotics Peregrine Greaves, MK 44 Stand Asides
Stat Ranks Int 1 Dis 5 Str 5

There’s one clear path for Strikers this week – boot to the head! Run Overload for extra punches, but you’re a one-trick pony with endless Shoulder Charges. Add in Transfusion for a bit of healing, and throw on your Peregrine Greaves to pile on the pain.

Stat-wise, you’ll notice I’m recommending skipping over your super. Two reasons for that: (1) It doesn’t help your score, and (2) maxing out your Discipline means you can throw the occasional flashbang at Wizards and other annoying majors to blind them, giving you time to punch them uninterrupted.

Strikers get stuck in #3 here mostly because Defenders and Sunbreakers are pure awesome. Slightly diluted awesome can’t compare, but it’s still awesome!



#1 – Sunsinger
Melee Brimstone, (Flame Shield)
Perks Song of Flame, Sunburst
Exotics Claws of Ahamkara,

Heart of the Praxic Fire

Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

Song of Flame cries havoc again, and Radiance is sickeningly effective in this challenge. This is an easy subclass to pick and it has a powerful and unique set of abilities in Brimstone and Sunburst. Now you might be asking, why not Flame Shield? Aren’t Brimstone explosion kills counterproductive?

So here’s why: First off, Flame Shield is a great ability and I can’t fault anyone for choosing it. The Overshield is amazing and with Monte Carlo to recharge your melee you can get it rolling fairly often – that’s a safe way to run this and better if you’re planning to solo the Challenge. However, it does recharge more slowly than the other Scorch abilities do, and with its protection also reduced that makes it somewhat questionable.

Brimstone solidly balances out score-wise because of Sunburst, which generates an Orb of Light for each Scorch kill – and kills from Brimstone’s explosion count toward that! In addition to the points, this also gives your fireteam more super energy and more healing or melee energy as well, keeping everyone in the fight and making you a great team player even before you bring out Song of Flame!

Now as for the exotic slot, I think this is the week for Claws of Ahamkara – you want as many Melee Ability activations as possible, and if you pair the Claws with an Invigoration Helmet you should be able to take full advantage! I’d avoid Alchemist’s Raiment as you want to be using your Super as often as possible, but Heart of the Praxic Fire could make a fair substitute in a pinch.

Rated #1 here for being an awesome team player.

#2 – Voidwalker
Melee Surge
Perks Angry Magic, and don’t use Bloom
Exotics The Ram
Stat Ranks Int ? Dis ? Str 5

The Ram is all you really need here for Voidwalker to be an amazing class for this challenge. Triggering Life Steal on every hit – even when your melee ability isn’t charged – means that you can throw on Surge for extra movement speed and just sprint around the map punching as fast as you can. It’s also absolutely worthwhile to make sure you have Snap Discharge on your arms so you can steal life as fast as possible.

Now Angry Magic might seem like an odd mention, but I mention it because it does give you a slight Armor boost, making it the best choice in that column. The only other point to make here is that Bloom sounds cool but is completely counter-productive since it doesn’t count for melee kills or produce Orbs.

Overall an easy choice with no real complications or thought required – just punch everything as fast as you can.

Rated #2 for teamplay, but a better solo class than Sunsinger for sure.

#3 – Stormcaller
Melee Rising Storm
Perks Feedback, Perpetual Charge
Exotics Claws of Ahamkara
Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

Claws of Ahamkara actually make total sense here, where Feedback can fill up your melee charges completely in short order, especially against melee-heavy enemies like the Taken and the Cabal. Rising Storm is fantastic as well, partially recharging your melee every time you use it. And Perpetual Charge is also handy, in case you end up needing to use a grenade in a pinch.

Rated #3 after Voidwalker because although your Ability will basically always be charged for maximum pain, lower survivability and no major team-player abilities make you less helpful this week.



#1 (Tied) – Gunslinger
Melee Knife Juggler
Perks Gambler’s Dagger, Scavenger
Exotics Don’t Touch Me or Sealed Ahamkara Grasps
Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

Gunslingers have been waiting for this Challenge to return – a week when it truly stands out in PVE. Throwing Knife is such a powerful ability here because it lets you collect melee kills without being in melee range, something only Nightstalkers can compete with.

Knife Juggler gives you an immediate recharge on precision kills which, by the way, also net you extra points that other melees can’t get. Gambler’s Dagger is the best perk in its column for this Challenge and makes Sealed Ahamkara Grasps redundant here. Scavenger of course recharges your melee as you collect ammo making it an obvious pick as well – just fire that Monte Carlo off when you miss your throw and you’ll be charged back in no time!

Celestial Knighthawk is an easy call this week – make that new Super damage buff count when you get it and trigger the next wave of enemies with a single shot!

All in all this is a great choice and a lot of fun to play!

#1 (Tied) – Nightstalker
Melee Envenomed
Perks Lockdown, Shade Step
Exotics Sealed Ahamkara Grasps
Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

This is a pretty straightforward setup – AoE Melee damage + an extra charge + Monte Carlo for constant recharge and you’ll be raining death-smoke on the Prison. Shade Step gets you out of the line of fire (although only once every 3 seconds…), Lockdown just makes your AoE work that much better, and when you get your super up it’s all gravy.

This is a simple and powerful build that will have you spending a lot of time tagging enemies for Assists and shooting the boss in between dropping AoE melee kills at range.

#1 (Tied) – Bladedancer
Melee Fast Twitch
Perks Hungering Blade, Encore
Exotics Khepri’s Sting
Stat Ranks Int 5 Dis 1 Str 5

Another very straightforward setup for a class with one of the strongest supers for this challenge. Fast Twitch gets your melee charged faster, even with the nerf. Hungering Blade gives you a bit of health back when you land a kill with your melee or super.

You’ll be really happy when you activate your Arc Blade and watch those Super and Melee Kill bonuses stack! If you want to maximize that bonus, run Encore instead of Hungering Blade, and combo with Mask of the Third Man for maximum Arc Blade-age! Plus, swap out to Tarantella while your super is charging to get it back about 30 seconds faster. Just remember to make sure you always have a target in range so you don’t suffer the new Arc Whiff penalty!

Go! Fight! Win! (Survive…)

So there you have it – our advice for crushing skulls in this week’s Challenge of the Elders! Are you using an alternative build? Do you think we missed a key connection? Which Subclass do you think is best? Let us know in the comments!